I get it. Clients (often print agencies) want to help cut costs by choosing a theme themselves. They think they will be cutting out the heavy lifting (and saving time and money) by taking the time to find a theme that will not only provide a design but functionality as well.
Not necessarily. Not all themes behave the same way. Developers do things in different ways. It takes time to get to know the configurations, settings, and prerequisites (like plugins) of unfamiliar themes and plugins can add time to deadlines.
This is what I’d rather see:
Client: "I need a site made." Me: "Great! What do you want it to do? Who are your visitors? What style of design would you like? Could you show me other sites or themes you like the look of?" Client: (provides answers to questions above along with designs done in Photoshop or Illustrator) Me: (provides a quote) Client: (accepts quote) Me: (sets up website and chooses plugins based on functionality requirements and customizes a basic theme to match design as needed) Client: "Yay! I love the look and love how simple it is to use!" Me: "Yes!"
I like to start with a simple theme from Automattic (the official WordPress developers) and then customize it to match the design you give me. I then choose plugins to add the functionality you need. This is a much easier and flexible way to get a site done that will be easy to manage and adapt later. Also, updating themes can cause issues because complex themes need constant updating and fixing. Many themes are paid and require monthly or annual renewals. Using a basic WordPress theme avoids all of that.
All you have to do is tell me what you need to have happen on your site, how you want it to happen and provide me your design files (Photoshop, Illustrator or other). If you haven’t made a design in Photoshop or Illustrator, give me links to sites and themes you like the look of; I will then create a design that is similar and works with your requirements. Note: I do not copy designs of other sites or themes, but will, instead, create something unique that matches the style of the sites you like and creates a good user experience. To achieve this it takes the eye of a designer plus the experience of a web developer to blend together the perfect balance of design and functionality.
I understand if you want to use a specific theme, but know that I may need a little extra time to understand it. If you don’t already know, or need, certain WordPress add-ons, then please let me do the choosing. It will save you even more time (and money), and isn’t that the point?