We're a West Palm Beach, Florida based website design firm. And, although we are on the web, and rank well in the search engine results, most of our clients are local clients. I asked a few of them over the years why they choose to work with a local web designer in West Palm Beach, and I usually get a similar answer. They want to work with someone they can communicate with and speak to in person if need be. They also like to actually meet and know the people they hand their money over to before a project begins. Can you blame them? I can't.
In these days of Internet scams and website people who say one thing and do something else, knowing, liking, and trusting the person or firm that you choose to do business with is a must. Nobody wants to give away their hard earned money and wind up in a project that last forever and never seems to be right, or doesn't get done at all.You'd be surprise at how many people have come to me over the years, sometimes literally crying about the money they lost using an inexperienced or dishonest web designer.
Aside from meeting with the designer, it's a good idea to look at the designer's work, and see if it looks good and appropriate to the industry it's in, if it's intuitive to navigate, and if it ranks well on the search engines. Does your potential web designer's site rank well on the search engines? If he can't get his own site up there, what makes you think he can help you? SEO and search engine rankings are very important in today's Internet, and they will be important in the years to come, as more and more people (your competition) figure out that all the money online is on the first pages of the search results.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. If the designer can't or won't answer them to your satisfaction, there's probably a reason. That should be a tip to think about working with a local web designer that you can communicate with, and who isn't afraid to explain things clearly to you.