What types of customers have you worked with?
I offer pre-designed invitations and birth announcements in my Etsy shop (www.etsy.com/shop/TaraD82), and most of my jobs are customizing those for my customers.
I also work with local businesses and organizations to create logos, business cards, brochures, and websites to help them promote their businesses and events. I want to see local businesses and economies flourish, and my job allows me to have a direct impact on their success. I take my job seriously and want to make sure all business marketing materials I create represent the business they are created for and will help them in successfully marketing themselves.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Take a look at online portfolios and business social networking pages. These are great ways to see what kind of work designers offer and check out reviews and feedback from their customers.
Contact the designer and ask questions before your decide to hire them. If you've looked at their portfolio and don't see anything similar to what you're looking for, ask about their experience in that area or if they do the type of project you're in need of. If you see something you like, but it isn't quite right for you, ask about making changes to their existing products to suite your needs.
If you're looking for a logo design, ask about the designers method. I ask business owners a lot of questions before ever getting started on logo designs because I feel it is important for a logo to reflect the business and the owner.