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Introducing Matthew's Design Co.

I recently launched a new website, brand, and company to accommodate an increasing demand of client projects. If you’re interested in hiring me, please visit the new website. mattolpinski.com will soon be focused entirely on helping freelancers. You can learn more about the transition here. Thank you!

—  Matt Olpinski

3 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Freelancer

Hi, I'm Matt Olpinski

I teach thousands of freelancers how to get more clients, raise their rates, and create a better life for themselves.

Updated: March 27, 2015

Having worked with a lot of clients over the years, I’ve realized that the most successful ones do their homework. Outsourcing work to a freelancer or design agency you know very little about is a scary thought, especially if it’s work your business depends on.

  • What if they don’t do a good job?
  • What if I’m overpaying for the work?
  • What if they don’t meet my deadline?

While they google potential candidates, they are also talking to other friends and businesses that have already gone through this process to make sure they are making a well-informed decision.

How Much Should You Be Paying?

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Unfortunately, there is no standard pricing in the freelancing world, which makes it hard to know if you are getting a fair deal, but most of the time how much you invest will reflect how effective the solution is.

For example, your business needs a new website. From there, you have about a million options ranging from $50 WordPress themes to $100k+ custom solutions. To help gauge how much you should pay, try to focus on why you need the website in the first place and what it should be doing for your business. Then set a budget based on your goals and be open to sharing that with your top freelance candidates.

If you are a small startup that just needs to get the word out there, you can probably do just fine with the $50 WordPress theme until your business starts to grow. If you are an enterprise agency selling products and you need to increase sales by 20% next year, you might want to think about a custom solution from a design agency that can help you reach real business goals.

As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay:

$10 – $30 per hour from a young/college freelancer
$40 – $60 per hour from most “commodity” freelancers
$75 – $100 per hour from premium freelancers or consultants
$100 – $300 per hour from an established design agency

How Long Can You Expect This to Take?

Again, I wish there was a simple answer here, but unfortunately it all depends on what you need the website to do and what features and functionality are required. Let’s say you are having a new home built for your family. Is it a small, simple home with just a few rooms or is it a mansion with 15 fireplaces and heated floors? The difference could be years of development.

Most people think the number of pages you have on your website is the biggest factor in determining the timeline of the project, but I have not found that to be true, especially if you have a content management system (CMS).

The factors that determine the timeline are often what make the design or development more difficult for the person doing the work. For example, if you need a 50 page responsive eCommerce website that has blog, events, and photo gallery capabilities, you can expect it to take much longer than a 50 page website full of static content.

As a (very) general rule of thumb, here’s how long you can expect your project to take:

Web Design:
2-3 weeks for a small website
3-6 weeks for a medium website
6-8 weeks for a large website

Web Development:
3-4 weeks for a small website
5-7 weeks for a medium website
8-12 weeks for a large website

Native App Design:
3-4 weeks for a small app
4-6 weeks for a medium app
6-10 weeks for a large app

How Do You Know This Will Help Your Business?

If you’re asking yourself this question while researching potential candidates, then you’re already setting yourself, and your business, up for success. Most people want their website to help them grow their businesse, even though that’s not always how they think about it at first.

Great design work only goes so far. There is no guarantee that the work produced by any freelancer or agency (no matter how reputable they are) will help your business grow, but there are some things you can look for to help make a wise choice.

You would be doing yourself a disservice to hire the freelancer with the best portfolio. What you really want is to find someone with excellent communication skills who is interested in providing a solution that will help your business grow.

If you can find someone who is focused on your goals and has a stellar portfolio, then you can be confident that hiring them will benefit your business. It should go without saying, but you’ll want someone with experience and a few key successful projects under their belt to ensure that your money will be put to good use creating a website that can really benefit your business.