Designers can cost your small business a small fortune—but, then again, they don’t have to.

I’ve been blessed with several good friends who are designers, so I get a steal on services. Sometimes I even trade writing services for design services with them. Most people aren’t so lucky, but you can get lucky by tapping into design contest sites where designers compete to offer up the best logo, brochure, or whatever else you need designed.

One of those sites is The site just added some functions and features to meet the demand of small businesses that need high quality design at a price they can afford.

Here’s how it works: DesignContest pre-screens designers for an understanding of design basics—including file types, copyright laws, and design ethics—before they are allowed to compete for your project. When you go to the site, you start a contest with your parameters. Designers will enter to win your business by posting design concepts. Once you find one you like, you choose the winner and have the job completed.

Another popular site in this category is Much the same as DesignContest, you create a design brief with a clear outline of what you need designed and choose a design package. Designers then submit concepts to compete for your financial prize. You can collaborate with designers by providing feedback along the way. Finally, you choose your favorite design and pay out what you agreed.

I prefer and have worked with So this is a safe bet, but there are many different design contest sites out there you could work with. Although there are some projects that merit the old fashioned expensive designer route, some simple projects, especially for ideas you are experimenting with, are prime for this model.