If you have doubts about the credibility and/or quality of your web designer, this article may be able to help you identify whether it’s time to look elsewhere. Here’s 5 tell-tale signs your web designer is ripping you off.

1. “We’re the experts, you’re the client”

Maybe you haven’t heard that exact phrase, but any statement with those kinds of connotations under questioning or in response to an idea of yours, may be the first sign that your designer is either incompetent, or just plain lazy.

If you feel you have put a good idea forward that isn’t being entertained without any real explanation, it may be a good idea to consult a third party for some impartial advice.

2. Additional and/or Hidden Charges

As the client, one thing you need to make sure is that you’re paying for what you think you’re paying for. If you’ve briefed someone to design you a landing page for example, and you have agreed a price with them based on that presumption, make sure that it’s stipulated in the contract that what you have asked for is indeed what you are getting.

No matter how small the project, without detailed documentation, interpretation could potentially result in you paying more than you originally intended for what you wanted. A detailed brief is there to protect you just as much as the vendor.

3. “We deleted it”

Maybe you used a designer a few months back and have misplaced the files they sent, or maybe they didn’t send the file types you needed in the first place.

This is when you hand all of the power over to a designer, who can claim they no longer have the files and need to recreate them in an attempt to try and justify scandalous hourly rates for what might be something as simple as sending an email attachment.

One thing I always tell people is, ensure you receive ALL of the design files upon settlement of the invoice, including the original Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign documents. You are entitled to all of the files produced by the designer to create your artwork as it is time that you have paid for, and don’t let them tell you otherwise.

4. Website Hosting Costs

I’ve heard of people paying various amounts for their web hosting, and it often depends on the complexity of their website, the amount of server space it requires, and the overall support and maintenance plan that they’re getting in addition to that.

Check what you’re currently paying your provider, and what you’re getting in return. Ensure that you’re getting regular backups of your website, and that there is an SLA in place for emergency support should your site experience any issues.

5. Poor Response Times

If you’re having to wait a long time to get a response from your designer, then it may be a sign of things to come. In business, you need vendors you can rely on, who are able to offer the support you need, when you need it.

If you’re paying a retainer to someone who consistently doesn’t get back to you for two weeks, maybe it’s time for a change.


Does any of the above ring true? It might be time to ask your web designer some difficult questions.

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