7 red flags when hiring a web developer as a web designer

Thinking about collaborating with a web developer? Here’s what you need to be wary of as a web designer before you hire them!

Are you a web designer considering hiring a web developer to outsource your next website build to?

Choosing a decent web developer to collaborate with can be a challenging experience. If you’ve never worked with a web developer before you may not know how to find the right developer for you or what to be aware of when you first make contact with them.

In this post I’m sharing 7 red flags to be wary of when looking to find a web developer to work with you as a web designer on your upcoming projects.

1 | They don’t have their own website

First things first, if a web developer doesn’t have their own website and their online presence is restricted to social media, alarm bells should be ringing in your head.

If they can’t build their own website, how are they going to build a website for you and your client?!

2 | They don’t have a portfolio

As a web designer, you probably already know how important it is to have an easy to access portfolio featuring your best and most recent work. Your portfolio will play a huge roll in whether or not a client decides to hire you or not.

It’s just as important for the web developer you are hiring to have a portfolio too so you can see what they’re capable of and the quality of their work.

Even if they’ve just started their own business, they should at least have some examples of their work in the form of conceptual pieces.

3 | …or their portfolio doesn’t have links to live websites they’ve built

So the web developer has a portfolio? Great! But does it have links to live websites that they have built?

It’s not just enough to have a portfolio full of screenshots of websites that the developer has created. Screenshots can convey good web design, but it’s impossible to tell if a website works well from a screenshot alone.

I wouldn’t expect to see links to every website in their portfolio (websites come and go and sometimes the website we’ve built are no longer with us – RIP) however you should be able to see live versions of at least two or three websites they’ve built so that you can really see what they’re capable of.

You can check out my web development portfolio here.

4 | They don’t have any testimonials or reviews

In addition to a strong portfolio, a web developer should also have testimonials or reviews from previous clients to support their work.

One of the first things I do when hiring someone, whether that be a fellow online business owner or a tradesperson to help with home improvements, is look for testimonials and review they have received. And if they don’t have any then I will move on and look for someone else to do the job.

Testimonials and reviews are how we build trust with our potential clients. If a web developer doesn’t have any testimonials and reviews, how do we know for sure that they have experience of working with real people on real life projects?

I like to display testimonials I’ve received from my clients throughout my website, but I also have a specific testimonials page too.

5 | Their communication skills aren’t great

Ok, let’s say you’ve found a web developer that has a great portfolio and glowing reviews. Now it’s time to reach out to them and enquire about working together.

It’s important that you don’t let you guard down at this stage and that you ensure that you’re still on the look out for red flags. Because a web developer might look good on paper, but the cracks may start to emerge when you start speaking to them.

What are their communication skills like? Is it easy to get in touch with them either via email, a contact form on their website, or social media messaging? How quickly do they respond? And how do they respond? Does their tone make you feel comfortable?

Do they invite you to ask questions? Do they ask you if you’d like to hop on a call to discuss your project? Do their responses sound professional?

If they are slow to respond, vague with their answers or sound unprofessional then you should proceed with caution. If communication is rocky from the very beginning then it’s probably not going to improve should you decided to proceed with them as the developer for your project.

6 | They want to bill you hourly

If you are planning on working with a web developer on a larger project such as a fully custom website build, and they say that they charge by the hour rather than charging per project, then I would be concerned.

Hourly billing can get very messy when working with a web developer. In my experience, no two website projects are the same and it’s very difficult to estimate how many hours it will take to build a website. If you agree to hourly billing then your project could end up costing you a fortune, and it could drag on for much longer than you expected.

Ideally you’ll want to work with a web developer who charges per project so you know exactly how much the project is going to cost you before they start work. Then you’ll know how much to charge your client, and there would be any unexpected charges for them or for you.

Billing hourly is ok for smaller work such as website maintenance or support tasks, but even then I would always ask for an estimation before they beginning carrying out work for you, and you should let them know if you have a limit on the number of hours you would like them to work with you for.

7 | Their timelines seem unreasonable

I often get asked how long it takes to build a website. How long is a piece of string?

There are so many factors that influence the amount of time it takes to build a website. Generally, the more features and functionality you require, the longer it will take to build the website.

So when you ask your potential web developer how long the project will take to complete, think about the amount of work you’ve requested when they share their timeline with you. Does it seem reasonable and realistic?

If you’ve requested a full custom WordPress website with multiple, a blog and ecommerce functionality and the developer says they can do it in one day, or even one week, then I’d be curious about the quality of their work.

Is it possible to create a website of this size in a day or a week? Yes, it is. But it wouldn’t be fully custom, and a hell of a lot of corners would have to be cut to achieve this! Not to mention that it would be low quality and would likely have a never ending list of problems that need to be fixed.

Remember, quality work takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither should a website be!

Looking for a web developer to collaborate with on your next web design project?

With my signature WordPress Theme Development service, I’ll take your beautiful designs and turn them into a fully functioning WordPress website.