Hiring a Squarespace Designer
If you’ve ever considered hiring a professional designer for your new Squarespace site, it’s likely you considered a range of factors such as price, availability, lead time, and perhaps even their reviews or portfolio of previous work. These are all very important things to consider in the decision-making process, however they’re not the only ones you should base your choices on when determining if the designer will be a good fit for your project.
When looking at Squarespace designers for hire, you’ll generally find each have a similar service package title or job description on their Instagram bio or business card, however there are some truly vast differences in what each have to offer if you look a little closer. Price, availability and lead time are highly likely to vary — and for good reason. Squarespace designers can charge anywhere between $500 and $20k for a site; they can take anywhere from one day to one year to launch; and there can be a waitlist of weeks or months before they’re taking on new clients. Let’s explore some of the things to consider when hiring a Squarespace designer and how you can make a more informed decision based on the types of designers you may encounter during your search.
1. the template tweaker ( $500 — $1,000 : 1 day — 2 weeks)*
This one may seem obvious, but it has to be said: Ask the designer what is included in their service package. 9 times out of 10, the designer with “Squarespace Website Design” listed for $500 on their Services page isn’t going to be offering the same inclusions or experience as the designer with “Squarespace Website Design” listed for $3,000.
You will generally find that if someone is offering to create a Squarespace website around the foremost cost, it is likely going to be a single landing page or a template set up / style refresh. These services generally involve the designer adding in your photos and text to the existing template, selecting colours and fonts in the Style Editor, and connecting your domain. It’s the most basic level of Squarespace design and helps you get a site up and running quicker and cheaper than a custom job.
Designers that offer this service are fantastic and help you get a site on it’s feet with professional results and fast turnaround time. You can rest assured that you’re not going to have any broken links, domain issues or incorrectly set up pages floating around your site! ;)
Notes: faster lead times and cheaper rates but design will likely be the original template
for: those wanting a basic site setup correctly
Example site: www.creativeladydirectory.com**
2. the front-end customiser ( $2,000 — $6,000 : 3 MONTHS + )*
Once you’ve determined what’s included in the package, it pays to then: Ask the designer what is involved in their process. When working with a designer in this price range or timeline, you can generally expect to at least receive a website strategy with goals and a sitemap, some custom wireframes or desktop mockups of the content-heavier pages, and the build of the site with mobile-optimisation included.
You will generally find that if someone is offering to create a Squarespace website around this cost and timeline, they will likely deliver you a custom design with—at the very least—basic CSS, HTML, or JS coding to give it a unique look. These designers are likely to deliver you a website that is beautiful and on-brand, and not like the original Squarespace template. Using the built-in blocks/plugins that are included in Squarespace sites, they will generally design you something using those as the structure, but tweak them with code to look different.
It’s important to also consider whether the designer writes all the code themselves, or whether they purchase third-party code snippets from plugin stores. This can impact price/timeline as well as the designer may spend more time and resources creating their code from scratch specifically for your project, or may invest additional cost to purchase a pre-made code plugin/outsource to a third-party developer. You should also ask—if the designer purchases third-party plugins—if there are any ongoing monthly costs attached to license the plugin, or if they intend to outsource the code service if you are responsible for paying the contractor’s fees.
Designers with stronger coding knowledge are likely to charge at the higher end of the scale as they are customising the entire site themselves, compared to just a few elements.
Notes: higher investment cost and timeline but produces custom results
for: those wanting a custom design but still able to diy/edit with the wysiwyg (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) editor
Example site: https://ilovecreatives.com**
3. the full stack developer ( $10k — $20k + : 6 MONTHS — 1 year)*
Knowing all that you know from here, the last thing to consider is : Ask the designer whether they can achieve your intended goal on Squarespace. When working with a designer in this price range or timeline, you can generally expect to hire an agency or full stack developer who is going to deliver a completely custom site in terms of both design and function.
You will generally find that if someone is offering to create a Squarespace website around this cost and timeline, they are generally creating a site with a specific purpose or function that exists beyond what Squarespace’s built-in DIY platform is capable of. More often than not, designers/developers in this range are working in Squarespace’s Developer Mode to alter the underlying code of the whole site: writing custom plugins, functions, design animations etc.
These sites usually have a lot of ‘wow’-factor in the overall presentation and experience, making a user question ‘Is this really a Squarespace site?!’. While hiring a designer to work on a site of this magnitude may not be for everybody, the option is definitely there and is a strong alternative to competitors such as Wordpress.
Notes: higher investment cost and timeline but produces completely custom functionality and design results
for: those wanting a fully custom experience — both functionality- and design-wise — beyond what is included in squarespace’s built-in template
Example site: www.goodtypefoundry.com**
As a parting note of things to consider, here are a list of things you can check out or ask your preferred designer to ensure they’re the right fit for your needs
Look at their portfolio of work and see if it’s what you are expecting for your own project
Check out their package inclusions and determine if it’s what you need
Ask about their process and what goes into creating the website along the way
Determine whether they offer Squarespace web design as a standalone service, or if it’s only available as an add-on after branding design
Ask if they include custom code in their designs and, if so, do they write it themselves/purchase pre-made plugins/outsource to a developer
Ask which hosting plan you will need to budget for as customised/e-commerce sites often require more expensive plans
while these are just a general idea of what to expect when hiring a squarespace designer, there are always bound to be variations in quotes, timelines, and inclusions, as well as style, skill and deliverables. hopefully this will help you out when considering who to hire and who is the best fit for your project needs at the time. We all have different projects and outcomes to achieve, so making sure you’re paired with the right designer from the get-go is super important. ☻ ☻ ☻
*All price and timeline notes are general guides only. These may vary from designer to designer and are not to be considered as industry standards.
**These Squarespace sites are examples only that I’ve found on my own travels navigating the web and observation. They are not guaranteed to have been created in this price range or timeline.