Good personality, sense of humor and great with kids. Just kidding!
The relationship you have with your web designer is based on one simple premise: They need to meet your expectations. If you don’t know what you’re expecting, then you don’t have a good basis to judge their qualifications.
Do you want them to be good listeners?
Do you want them to be able to guide and direct you through the process?
Do you want them to be able to figure out what you want?
Should they be business savvy or the artsy creative type?
This is a relationship like any other. The more open communication you have about your expectations and desired outcomes, the less likely you are to be disappointed. As long as both parties can be held accountable for their commitments, you’ll be fine.
I personally feel you can find a lot of value in any web designer when the expectations are clearly laid out and you find someone who listens to you while you describe your project. They must also genuinely want to not only earn your business, but do a good job.
I’m intentionally skipping over the obvious requirement of skill and experience. The more important your business is, the more important the experiences of the web designer are.
I can tell you from experience that the best way to get mistreated by a client is to mistreat them first. Speaking as a web professional, I am proud of my team’s talents but without clients to hire us those talents are wasted A professional developer appreciates the fact that they were chosen by you to work on your project.