Truly Custom Web Design
In life, of course it is imperative to know what you are paying for. The same stands true for website design, it is very important to know what you are getting. All to often I see companies touting themselves as a custom website design company, only to find out with very little investigation, that they are using pre-made templates and simply editing them for their clients.
That’s not to say they are not providing a reasonable service, as I feel most of the public would not be able to customize a pre-made template themselves. If the company is making the client aware that they are using a template and thus charging the client in line with that, then that would be acceptable. However, it is not fair, or ethical, for a company that uses templates to advertise themselves as a custom website design firm and have clients thinking their website is custom. There is a massive difference, in time and price, between buying a theme/template for $50 and editing the colors, pictures, text and logo for a specific company, versus listening to your clients needs, put hours into planning how you can translate those needs to a website and then start designing a custom website design from a blank slate of (digital) paper.
Templates can be a great stop-gap if your company is just starting out and may not have the budget to get a custom website built. The problem with templates is that you are trying to jam your amazing, unique company into a cookie-cutter template, used by thousands of other companies. Is your company really that cookie cutter that you can just fit it into an overused basic website template? I would hope your answer would be no, my company is a very unique brand that stands out from the competition and could never be forced into anything cookie cutter.
At the end of the day, you should be looking for a company who takes the time to listen to your needs, spends time planning, and builds a website around your company. Not the other way around, by trying to fit your company into a pre-made template.