Hiring a web agency can be a tricky thing to get right. Until you start to see your project take shape you won’t know for sure whether you’ve made the right choice, but you can certainly do your due diligence to give the project the best chance of success.
Here are the four things I’d look at if I were hiring an agency to build a website for me. If you’ve got any to add, pop them in the comments box.
- Do I like their past work?
- Have they worked with clients like me in the past?
- Can they show me the data to prove the impact they’ve had on past projects?
- Can I talk to a couple of their existing clients?
- Do their clients come back to them?
- Are they able to complete the project within my budget?
- What is the payment schedule?
- Have they provided a detailed breakdown of costs?
- Can they guarantee in writing that the price they’ve quoted is the total I will pay (i.e. no surprises)?
- What are the on-going costs (like hosting) – how much and how often?
- How much does support post-launch cost?
- What is their process and why do they do it that way?
- Can they talk me through how they applied it on a similar project to mine?
- Have they provided a clear timeline with dates for key deliverables?
- Is there anything in the project that they think may impact the timeline?
- Is there a warranty on the work?
- Are the people referenced in the proposal the actual people that will be working on the project?
- What, if anything, are they outsourcing and to who?
- Do I personally like the project lead and the day-to-day contact?
- If the project runs into difficulties, do I think we’ll be able to work through it?
- Am I excited about working with them?
- Do they seem excited about working with me?
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My biggest piece of advice is to trust your gut. If they don’t feel like the right team (and this advice counts even if it’s us you’re talking to, in fact, even more so if it’s us) then they probably aren’t. Bide your time, ping some more emails out, ask for some more recommendations and keep hunting until you find the right team for the job. Once you are ready to make that jump, make sure to check out this blog on “Things to Check Before you Change Website Designer“.