It’s a pretty simple question really, and one that you should be able to answer with 100% confidence, but can you?
The web design industry (like so many others) is under attack from wannabes, rogues and pirates that say they can offer you a “unique website”, quote you a pretty penny (£2,000+) then head on over to ThemeForest and spend £40 on a premium theme and then pocket your money as massive profits.
You could argue that the cost is made up of admin/theme customisation charges but more often than not these guys will simply change a few of the colours, add your logo and content and then make the site live, hardly worth thousands of pounds unless they are charging about £500 per hour.
So is there anything you can do to protect yourself and make sure you hire a reputable company that can actually know what they are doing? Luckily, yes there is;
1) Ask Them
This one might seem a bit obvious and almost silly but believe it or not, too few clients actually ask the question, “are you going to be using a premium theme?” If they say no you’re sorted if they say yes then you can question why (it’s possible your budget doesn’t stretch far enough to cover the costs of bespoke design).
Obviously, if they say no and then still use a premium theme, make sure you get a full refund as they will be breaching the terms of the contracts you signed (unless they are super sneaky and cover themselves so make sure you double check the contracts!).
2) Check their portfolio
Be sure to check their previous works because chances are if they have used a premium theme before, they will do again.
So now you’ve checked out some of their websites, how do you actually check to see if the site uses a premium theme?
3) Use a site checker
If you suspect that your site might be using a premium theme or you’d like to check out a freelancers/agencies previous work, you can use What Theme which 99% of the time will be able to tell you what theme the site is using, once you know a quick Google search will provide you with your answer.
4) Get a second opinion
Sometimes it’s a good idea to get a second opinion from another agency or freelancer before you sign on the dotted line, more often than not they will be willing to help, I certainly am! So feel free to get in touch if you’d like me to check anything out for you.
It seems hard to believe that people out that do this to clients on a daily basis, but if you gear yourself up and know what to look out for then you can make sure this never happens to you!
Originally posted on The Lonely Pixel