All business relationships have to start somewhere. When it comes to your first interaction with a design company, expect them to ask you a lot of questions; that’s how we start to figure out what your needs are and decide if our business philosophy meshes with your goals.
Your first encounter with a design company is a lot like grabbing coffee on a first date. You’ll ask each other questions and decide if you want to give the relationship a chance.
Whether you drop in on a design company in person or over the phone to figure out if they’re a compatible business match-up, one of the first things we’ll need to determine is which category of design work you fall into. Most prospective clients are either looking to have a completely new website developed, or, they need their current website updated or redesigned.
Phase 1: What are your design needs?
Category 1: I need a website created from scratch.
If you don’t already have a website for your business but are interested in having one designed, here are some of the preliminary questions a design company will likely ask you:
- 1. What’s the name of your business?
- 2. Are you the owner? We want to know because business owners are typically going to be the ultimate decision makers when it comes to hiring a design company to build them a website. If you’re not the owner, we want to make sure you’re accurately representing the interests and opinions of the decision makers.
- 3. How did you hear about us? We want to know which of our marketing tactics are attracting clients and which methods are giving us the best return on our investment.
- 4. How long have you been in business? Are you running a brand new company or a well-established company? The answer could be a good indicator as to other design needs you may have. For instance, a new company may also be looking to have a logo designed whereas a company that has been in business for 10+ years probably already has a logo. It could also be a cue as to how established your business decisions are.
- 5. What makes your company remarkable? The design company is interested in knowing why you’re passionate about your business to start gaining insights as to how the remarkable qualities about your business can be reflected in the design of your website.
- 6. How big is your business? How many employees do you have? The answer to this question may indicate if you are the type of client the design company targets. Remember that quality web design comes at a price, so if your business is so small that you can’t afford their services, you might need to reconsider your options.
- 7. What would you like your website to accomplish? What is your primary goal for your website? A design company wants to know what you plan to use your website for so they can help you achieve those goals through specialized layouts, design elements and customized features.
- 8. Are there any special features you want incorporated in your website? For instance, are you interested in having an online shopping cart? Will you need a members only section?
- 9. How can we get in contact with you again? In order for this business relationship to continue, a design company obviously needs your contact information. Specify the best way to reach you (phone? email?) and the best times to get in contact with you.
Category 2: I need my current website updated/redesigned.
Some prospective clients may seek out a new relationship with a design company because they’re interested in making improvements to their current website. As design trends change and businesses evolve, it’s common for businesses to redesign their website to accommodate their growth.
In addition to the first four questions listed above, here are a few questions unique to this category you should expect a design company to ask you upfront:
- 1. Why are you interested in redesigning your website? Design companies want to know why you’re truly seeking their services. Being able to answer this question should also help you realize if a website redesign is a necessary business endeavor.
- 2. Are you interested in style updates/redesigns or just functionality, behind-the-scenes type updates? Understanding the scope of your project is important when looking for the ideal design company to help you out. The type of updates you’re interested in may also factor into the price of the project.
- 3. What would you like your new website to accomplish that it’s not currently doing for you? Website redesigns/updates are meant to improve your site either by adding new content and features or taking out unnecessary elements.
- 4. What is your primary goal for a website redesign? Understanding what’s going to make you satisfied upon completion of a website redesign is key to having a successful designer/client relationship. If you don’t have a goal, we can’t help you accomplish it.
The design company will, of course, want to gather your contact information if you fall into this design needs category as well.
Phase 2: Upfront Contract
By the end of the in-person consultation, we’ll be hoping you want to seal the deal with a smile on your face.
After the questioning phase from your first encounter with a design company, it’ll be time to prepare you for an upfront contract. The upfront contract would basically be a more in-depth conversation between you and a project manager from the design company.
Depending on your preference for being contacted, a project manager will either call or email you to elaborate on the questions you discussed in phase 1 and begin to get a feel for your budget. By the end of that conversation, you and the project manager would decide if you’d like to schedule an in-person consultation. From there, you’ll know exactly what to expect out of investing in the design company’s services.