Should You Hire a Web Designer?

Headshot of Chelsea Isaac

Written by Chelsea

July 11, 2022

Are you thinking about hiring a web designer? Slow down a sec. You may not have to (yet).

A website offers many things: an enhanced public image, an opportunity to build trust with potential clients, and a leg up on your competition. Most business owners also benefit from having an online presence and a hub for all of your content. But should you really hire a web designer? Let’s talk about.

How to know if you’re ready to hire a web designer

You may want to hire a web designer to give your website a much-needed facelift. I’d be wrong if I suggested you hire a professional without actually needing one. A website is more than just design. It’s an investment. Let me share with you if it’s an investment worth making for your business right now.

Table of Contents

You should already have an existing business
You need a brand strategy first
You should have money coming into your business
You need 6-10 weeks available

You should already have an existing business and need a professional website to elevate

I’ve helped numerous women launch their businesses with web design and branding. It’s given me great joy. However, you may already have your business established. Only invest in a web designer if a professional website is needed for you to elevate your business to the next level. This is usually a point in your business where you have steady income but have grown stagnant and are looking for ways to scale. Having a professional website or website redesign should be part of your overall strategy for growing your existing business.

You need a brand strategy first

Before you shell out any money to pay someone for a website, make sure that you have a brand strategy. As branding guru Marty Neumeier says, a brand strategy is “a plan for the systematic development of brand in alignment with a business strategy.” A brand strategy is a plan to reach long-term goals that result in customers being able to identify and choose your brand (Bynder). It’s more than logo and colors. A successful branding strategy includes your brand’s mission, its promises to its customers, and how you share them.

To figure this out, answer these two questions:

#1 Do you know what your target market is or are you selling to “everyone”?
#2 Are you selling them a very compelling, irresistible offer?

If you don’t know, it’s in your best interest to figure this out before putting money into a website. You should have a target market with a compelling offer that’s worth the investment.

You should have money coming into your business

This is the most obvious one: you have to be able to afford to pay someone. says “The right time to focus on your website design is after you achieve net positive cash flow above and beyond $1,000 per month.” This is a great initial marker. You should make sure your business can afford a new website.

If your business is not making money, a new website is the least of your problems. Do what you have to do to make the business viable before considering patching things up with a pretty new website.

Do you have the time? Because it takes weeks to get a new website.

Is this mic on? (tap tap) Do not hire a web designer if you need a website ASAP. I am saying this on behalf of all of us in the design community. Two weeks is not enough time to build a quality, converting website. There’s a lot of research that has to be done from competitive analysis, design mockups, and quality assurance. You want a website that is truly custom or tailored to your actual wants & needs. In my experience, it has taken me several days just to get content for the website. A custom website in 2-4 weeks is unrealistic for most web designers.

On average, a website done by a professional agency takes 6-10 weeks to build. If you need a website sooner than that, you have other options that require asking for all-nighters from your web designer.

How much you should budget for a web designer

The classic answer is it depends. It depends primarily on what you can afford. So we’ve determined that over $1k of monthly revenue is a good initial marker. If you’re there, great. Now getting an exact number is easy. Use doing this simple calculation:

A good rule of thumb is for 10% of your annual revenue to go towards marketing. So the number you calculated should be your absolute max for a web designer as marketing includes other things such as advertising. You should also factor in ongoing maintenance costs including hosting, plugin updates, etc.

Get 3-4 bids to appropriately compare designers on the market. Don’t go with the cheapest option, even if it’s tempting to do so. I have heard horror stories of cheap web designers ghosting their clients without finishing their project. (Can you imagine?)

Other things to do is make sure the designer is able to achieve your desired design aesthetic. Read reviews from trusted third party sites such as Google Business.

What you should do if you’re not ready to work with a web designer

You may realize at this point that hiring a designer isn’t the best path for your business at the moment. Don’t worry! You can still get a website without making the leap of outsourcing.

Read this if you’re just starting out (business less than 3 years)

You should consider a DIY project. This is the cheapest option which costs your time and allows you to test out if your business is viable before making a hefty investment. There are a ton of nice website templates out there. All you’ll need to do is swap out the images and replace the text. The market is full of easy-to-use website builders including Squarespace, Shopify, and Wix.

Start budgeting now for the web designer you want to work with down the road.

If you are really looking at designing a website and even found a great designer that you’d love to work with (hint, hint), start budgeting now. Realize that while you can’t afford someone right now, you can start doing things now to prepare your business for a new website somewhere down the road.

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