Hiring a designer for your requirement can be difficult. With the whole world connected by the internet, today you have potentially thousands of designers you can work with remotely instead of sticking to someone in your vicinity.
When looking for the right designer for your requirement, always go for a professional who has been doing this full-time for while. Avoid going for a friend's friend or your cousin's boyfriend or someone who's doing this part-time. Because even though that might be your cheaper way out, what will be delivered might not be up to the mark.
Specially in case of websites, someone you know (not a professional) might even come up with stunning designs but he/she may not have the experience to actually turn the design into a website that helps you achieve your business goals. For example, an exceptional designer might not know squat about SEO and how to get your site rank well on search engines. This is not a factor you can ignore because SEO can be just as important as the design.
Additionally, if a 'friend' is doing it and not charging you or charging way less, he/she is not really answerable to you when it comes to the efficiency with which the project is delivered.
When online, make a note of sites that you really like as references. Even if you look around your social connections, it's very likely you'll find someone who's work you like. Once you have some designers shortlisted, if you're on a deadline, contact them immediately because popular designers usually have their orders booked ahead. Being mostly booked for the next 20-30 days, I usually take orders for the next month when taking on a new client.