There are two ways to get your website designed... one way is to hire a company, which should come with a satisfaction guarantee, money back, documentation, contract, etc, or you could hire a freelancer to do the work for you, which if he is a good one, he comes with the same guarantee and paper work, but a lot cheaper.

As you may have noticed, you hardly ever find a this-is-what-you-pay price on web design websites simply because it largely depends on what you are looking for and how difficult your website will be-- that's why they have contact forms to submit projects and they will email you a quote. It could range anywhere from $15 - $50 an hour, companies who have a team of qualified people could charge even more, or it will be $200 for the website... which may be a template or a custom design... custom designs will run higher.

* Basically if you find someone that you would like to try, first thing I would do is explain what you envision. Don't settle for anything LESS than what you want. If you want (A) and they say "well, we can't do (A) but something fairly similar like (B) or (C)" then they are not for you. So tell them what you want, and either they can provide or they can't.

* Then you want a quote. Either they will say "the entire thing will be $150 dollars and includes this this that, etc" ... or they will say "it's gonna be $25 an hour and it's estimated to take 10 hours" ... to me, estimates are very strict. So if they have any idea of what they are doing, it should be 10 hours give or take a few minutes. But make sure that when they say 10 hours, you re-affirm the fact that you are willing to pay for 10 hours and that's it. If they come back with 15 hours, then they didn't meet their end of the contract and you don't pay, and you don't get the website.

* Before they start anything, you wanna go through with them step by step... well actually, they should go through with you on all the parts that are included. So, somewhere in written it should say something like "15 pages, contact form, order form, chat room" so that way they know that you know what you can expect.

* What helps the best in the designing process is if you can give them websites that you like, so when you say you want navigation (A), and it's something unique, if you've seen it on a another website, tell them that this is what you are looking for.

What you wanna do is look at the person's/company's portfolio and look at their styles and see if they have that special something that you are looking for. Also, any company will have independent reviews on different websites from different users... so do a Google search and read them. If it's a freelancer, just make sure you DON'T pay them until you are 100% happy with the project.... THEY have to meet your expectations, not you lower them to their ability. I've been in the web design field for a while, and I''ve seen people pay for things they didn't like, or pay and not get anything. If it's a good web designer, they will trust you enough and themselves to complete the project and then cash in. They will probably show you a demo and some screen shots of your website before you get the actual thing.

One last thing, once you have the website, and put this in the contract, you should get a type of warranty with this page.... so for maybe 4 months if there is something wrong they are obligated to fix it.

I wouldn't worry about the access thing too much, any password to anything (if you own it) can be changed instantly. The only login should be the web host login really. And I would set that up myself prior to the web design... so you set it up, and they use it to create the website... that way you have control over the host, and they to the website, and once they are done, you can change your password.

Now, where do you find such company or freelancer? I can't really recommend anybody because I do my own designing, but there are websites out there where you can post projects and people will bid on your project with a price (like an auction), and you can see what they bid (the lowest offer) and choose any designer you like with the offer that you like. If you need help finding such website, let me know.

Hope this helps.

~Sovereign