Normally, if you want to have professional designers custom build your site, you must be prepared to dish out at least a few hundred dollars. All this can change if you know where to find the best deals, the best designs for the lowest price. Here's a rough guide:
First, you must understand that it is a rip off to get companies to design websites for you. Have you ever seen those advertisements in newspaper classified ad sections that offer a 5-page website at $500? These companies are established companies with physical locations, therefore they have to increase the amount they charge to pay off some overheads: office rent, designer's wages, advertising costs and so on.
Therefore, it would be wise to find freelance designers who work from home. These people are often working from home so they do not have a high operation cost like that of a company. On the other hand, they will be able to design images with quality similar to those of designers from big companies, so it's a "no-brainer" choice.
However, choose freelancers with care. The best way to do this would be to do your research. View samples of their work they have available. Don't forget to have a verbal meeting with them (SKYPE and Goodle Talk are two good Free alternatives). Hearing them answer your questions along with how passionate they are doing what they do can go a long way towards this end. Don't forget to review our article on What People Forget to Look for When They Hire A Programmer (But Should).
You should also check out Top 5 Items you need to have ready when hiring a programmer to make your ideas happen for some additional tips
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