How Startups Can Get Professional Design Without Breaking Their Budget

How Startups Can Get Professional Design Without Breaking Their Budget

We get it.

As a startup company you believe that there are more important things than design.

Logos and the aesthetics of your website are not at the top of your list when you have a growing business to worry about.

You can always get better design work down the road once your company is fully operational and generating lots of revenue.

For now the $100 website design and the $99 logo will work.

However, this mindset is wrong.

You’re not taking into consideration all of the potential customers that you are losing with your poorly designed website.

Today’s highly visual society demands good design.  As humans we associated design with trust.

According to a Daily Mail  article, the brain takes just 33 milliseconds to determine whether it trusts a person or not.

The same principle applies to your website.

Would you ever rent a room in another state or country from the website below?


My guess is that your answer is no. Neither did thousands of other visitors!

That was Airbnb’s original website and it cost them thousands in lost revenue.

As a startup, you need to take into account all the customers that could be lossed due to poor graphic design.

Even if you get your website redesigned in the future, when people see your website link many of them may remember that your website is “poorly designed” and pass on clicking the link.

Fortunately, we have the answer to your problem.

It’s still possible to get stunning design work for your startup at an affordable rate.

Follow our guide below and you’ll save thousands on your next design project.

Set A Reasonable Budget & Stick To It

The graphic design industry can be tricky to navigate.

If you have shopped around for quotes, you probably are already aware.

If you asked for quotes for designing a website from three different creative agencies, it would probably look something like this:

  • Company 1: $87,512
  • Company 2: $13,623
  • Company 3: $45,127

See the large discrepancy?

A majority of startups overpay for their website because they assume it takes an outlandish amount of money to get high-quality design work.

This is false.

It is important to know how much you should be paying for a website, otherwise you could end up making a costly uniformed decision.

Below is a quick and dirty guide to help you estimate what you should be paying for a custom (that isn’t a template and is unique to your company) website design:

  • Standard Web Site– $3,150-$6,950
      • Standard 5-15 page website with a Content Management System such as WordPress. The cost is for the design and programming of the website.
  • Mid-Size Website– $5,498-$11,980
      • Larger 14-20 page website that includes some copywriting, three or more custom designed and unique website features such as optin-forms, unique plugins or small e-commerce section.
  • Large Website– $10,495-$19,789
      • This is a website with 20+ pages and includes many unique features and customizations. Extensive design and programming has to be done to the website in order to meet all your startup’s needs.
  • Database websites– $20,000 +
    • These are websites that require lots of programming, and the backend has to be hard-coded from scratch. Since these website vary in size and scope, it is hard to put an exact price range. However, with design and programming you are looking at the 20,000+ range.

Anything less than $3,000 might be to good to be true.

You probably aren’t getting a custom website, but a rather hastily thrown together templated site.

Website design is only half the cost for most startups since many need a logo and stationery such as business cards..

Eye-catching and high-quality logos do come at a higher cost. However, if you get it done right the first time, the logo will last as long as your business does.

It is an investment worth making.

A good creative team will present you with at least 8 or more different logo options and work closely with your startup to refine those choices to design the perfect logo for your business.

Don’t settle for less.

Here is what you can expect for logo design and stationery:

  • Logo Design $1,198-$2,495
    • This is a logo being designed from scratch with a wide variety of options being presented to your startup.
  • Logo Redesign $795-$1,198.
    • Redesigned a logo that is already many and giving new life to it.
  • Business Card Design $ 245
    • Designing multiple business cards for various positions in your company that are in print for and ready to be sent to the printer.

Amazing design is an investment, but it doesn’t have to break the bank.

This is a baseline of fair design services prices that will help you stay within your budget and not get taken advantage of.

Examine Their Portfolio

You wouldn’t believe the amount of startups and companies that higher a design agency without looking at their portfolio.

You must examine the portfolio of the company you are looking to hire.

Often times, this can be found on their website under the name creative services, past clients, our work or even portfolio.

Carefully take a look at their work and ask yourself these two important questions:

  • Does all of their work look the same?
  • Do I like their work?

If all of their websites look the same, then they are probably using a generic template for all of their websites.

If you don’t like any of their previous work then you are probably not going to like the one that they would make for you.

We know all design is subjective, but you should at least find a few examples of their work that you enjoy.

Another trick is to visit a website that you see in their portfolio and examine if you like the way it runs and navigates.

This also allows you to see if the company is still using creative work that they invested in.

Pro tip: Make sure you check for testimonials on the design agency’s website because it will give you an idea of what it is like to work with that company.

If they do not have any this should be a red flag.

Hire The Right Company The First Time

Want to know the quickest way to save money?

Hire the right company to complete your design project the first time.

This alone will save your startup precious time and thousands of dollars.

We have all heard horror stories about startups paying a freelancer an outlandish amount of money to develop their website and then halfway through the process the developer disappeared with their money.

We also all know the entrepreneur who hired a friend or their Cousin Larry who can do “graphic design” to develop a logo for their company, which led to substandard results and a few awkward conversations.

Design is something that is best left to professionals.

Your startup needs to seek out a company that has an experienced creative department that has the knowledge and expertise to give you the exact look that you have been dreaming about for your startup.

It may be tempting to forgo short term costs and go for the cheapest designer possible but this will only cost your startup more money in the long run.

Make the investment from the beginning that will last your company years and possibly decades.

Startup Web Design

Only you will know who is the best fit to work with your startup and bring your creative vision to life.

Taking the time to qualify the different companies that you are interested in working with is very important.

Having a superior website, logo or packaging design is what can differentiate your startup from the competition and give you a competitive advantage.

In today’s visually oriented society looks do matter, and if your brand can’t engage a person visually within three seconds, you probably won’t earn their business.

Choosing the right graphic design agency to work with can be a tough decision.

Download our design agency hiring guide to help you select the right company to complete your next project.