How to Avoid Getting Burned When Choosing A Creative Service Provider?

There will come a time in the lifecycle of your business where you’ll need to procure creative services.Think: Video Production Services, Graphic Design Services, Logo Design Services, Presentation Design Services and anything else you can think of with a high level of subjectivity and creativity in the execution.

If you’ve ever commissioned creative work from providers on Fiverr, you’ll know what I mean when I say certain providers will ‘burn’ you. Basically, they don’t deliver on their promises or you just end up with a lacklustre deliverable that costs too much.

Here are some to ensure you get value-for-money when purchasing creative services:

Understand what you’re buying and why

If you don’t have a clear objectives as to why you’re procuring the service, you might end up with a result that you’re unhappy with even if the provider has delivered on their services.

Creating a video animation and a brand identity are two very different things. If there’s a sure-fire way to have your investment miss the mark, is to not know what the mark is in the first place.

Ensure you understand exactly why you’re getting the service, so that when it does go right, you won’t be dissatisfied because you were not sure exactly what you wanted initially.

Acknowledge that sometimes it’s not the provider that is at fault if you didn’t have your requirements properly done and shared with the provider.

Ask yourself:

  1. Why do I need this creative work?
  2. What do I want to achieve from it, how long will I give myself to get the results?
  3. How much is this worth to my business?
  4. How will I know if the project is a success?
  5. How much ROI will it provide me at the end of the project?

Know your budget and restrictions

If you can’t afford to pay $3,000 for branding, you shouldn’t. Certain services are relevant to businesses at different stages.

Keep in mind that you’ll be forking out that kind of money for something that might not bring you an immediate commensurate return, you’re burning money.

Certain forms of creative services like branding and collateral design adds indirect value to brand equity – which may not always pay off immediately. If you’re not at the stage where that seems like an amount you can invest, don’t.

Level with the provider on your budget restrictions, if he/she decides that they are happy to do the work for your budget, you’re much better off than trying to haggle them down at half the price. All you’re going to end up with is an unhappy creative that might potentially botch the result.

Always negotiate, but never short-change the creative if you’d like ongoing work and good work delivered to you.

Look at numerous options

Don’t jump on the first provider that cold emails you, rather always look at the alternative options. Gauge price, value and the trustworthiness of the provider.

Most times, you’ll have to balance between how risky the deal is versus how high the price is. Other times, you might also find providers that charge high prices but don’t exactly deliver the highest quality product.

Here’s how you select the best provider

Seek Out Customer Case Studies

If the provider has served customers like you – and they’ve left some positive reviews, you can be more assured that they aren’t a fly-by-night company.

Whereas if they have no sample work, past client references or similar and yet they’re charging you a hand and a leg for their services, you’d best be wary.

Ask them industry-specific questions

Do some research and get them to explain certain industry buzzwords (e.g. Bleed in print, composition in video animation)to you. If they give you a blank look in response, you might want to re-consider your options.

You want to not only be seeking out providers that have a proven track record of delivering success, you’ll also want someone that can advise you on what the best options are.

Gauge flexibility

Let’s be honest, you might change your mind during the course of your creative engagement.

Changing your mind is okay when reasonable. If your provider seems excessively averse to any revisions, you should either be prepared to temper your expectations of any changes you’d like to make or consider another option.

Certain creatives are that way because of past clients that have requested numerous changes beyond scope. It’s not their fault that they have become inflexible, but don’t make it your problem too by working with them if you expect changes to be a non-negotiable part of the engagement.

Get the right price

The hunt for the best provider at the best price is a perilous one. First understand that creative services may seem like a commodity, but it isn’t.

You’re buying expert time from creatives to put together your deliverable. Getting a logo on Fiverr for $5 will undoubtedly give you the cheapest option – but is that a risk you want to take?

Through the course of your search, not only will you understand the deliverables of the service better, but you’ll also have a better grasp on what’s the average price in the market. There will be firms that charge $10,000 for a 1-minute video and ones that charge a fraction of that.

Getting something done somewhere in the middle of what the highest and the lowest charges would generally be a safe option. You don’t spend too much and you won’t risk too much either.

In some cases, it might not be the case that the firms that charge a lot are trying to fleece your money, but they could just be a more premium option because of numerous factors including – awards they’ve won, credibility built from years of operation, team size etc.

Meet and find someone you can trust

Apart from their quality of work and price, you need to ensure you work with a provider that perceivably possesses integrity.

Essentially, this person will be the one you’re paying to help you define your creative vision, and if they are either reluctant or dubious, you’ll be in for trouble.

Meeting the person face-to-face or asking around for references (word travels fast) will give you a much better idea of whether he/she can communicate clearly and also enables you to judge if the person is a good fit aptitude-wise.

So here you have in a nutshell some ways to ensure that you pick the best provider for your dollar. We hope that this short article helped you find the best provider you need for your next project!

ThunderQuote is the most comprehensive business services portal in Singapore, Australia and ASEAN , where hundreds of thousands of dollars of procurement contracts are sourced every month by major companies like Singapore Press Holdings, National Trade Union Congress and more.

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