Recently, a potential client was seeking a designer in their local area to handle a flash demo. Over the years, I’ve worked with clients from all over the world and it got me thinking: Why should someone look outside their local area to get the best solution for their project?
Get what you need
Are you sure that your project MUST be handled locally? While it’s always great to work with local talent for the obvious reasons, many times you can find great talent within your price range miles away from your office. While I strongly express the fact that “you get what you pay for”, many designers view work that comes from outside their area/network as “found work” and may be willing to do it for less than they normally would. In other words, because no time, money or effort is spent by the designer on marketing in a location they normally wouldn’t find work, their cost of doing business is essentially lowered. Think of what internet shopping has done to the retail industry: now you can routinely fine products cheaper online than you would otherwise find at the neighborhood store.
Furthermore, if it turns out that cost isn’t the defining factor, you may be able to find better talent and a higher quality product for the same price. Even though the price might be comparable, you may wind up with a better outcome in the end.
Have no fear!
Working without ever meeting someone face to face is not a normal experience. Understand, however, that it is getting more and more commonplace within this field – as it should. It’s simply so easy to work with clients remotely – through ichat, skype, etc. – that much of the “weirdness” goes away very quickly. Especially if your project is web based or a corporate identity, the project should be pretty straightforward to communicate your needs to the designer. I routinely work with clients from all over the US and Europe with very little problem. AND with very good results.
Set up your parameters
Any good designer should help set the structure for the project. This will include project expectations, deadlines, presentation milestones, payment dates and more. The more you communicate – especially during time sensitive projects – the better off you will be. Scheduled meetings on a regular basis help both parties stay on target. I personally prefer video conferences (through iChat) because they are a bit more personal and you can read each other’s reactions better. Expect payments to be broken up, as is customary, with some portion up front to protect the designer. After all, they’ve never met YOU either!
Working with people remotely is something you should explore if you haven’t done so already. Especially if you are in an area with a talent pool that could use some help. Video conferencing is free (or about $100 if you don’t yet have a camera) and it will give you a better sense of the person you are interviewing than you would otherwise over the phone. If anything, get some quotes for your next project and you might be pleasantly surprised.