Being creative and designing specifically for individual clients is one of the unique selling points that sets us apart from the plethora of companies out there offering cheap web design as a result of using standard or pre-designed templates. So why would a client pay more?
The main reason for not working with templates is that I believe that each client is individual and deserves an individual and unique design to set them apart from their competitors and this can only be done by designing their site to fit them and NOT fitting them around a site. There are some very well known web companies out there that offer customers (and yes - other designers!) the option of using and working with a pre-designed template which is packaged to suit particular industries. I'm not saying they don't look professional (on the rare occasion) but in this ever-competitive world you have to ask yourself 'Why would I want my site to look like a competitors?'.
If you ask me, the whole point of getting a website is to get more leads and increase your brand awareness, so why would you want it to be predesigned and effectively branded like someone else's? Yes, you can use different stock images, photos, logos and colours but the overall impression is going to be similar.
An even more important reason is to avoid misrepresentation or a bogus company setting up in competition to you and using similar graphics and layouts to you i.e. their template and images could be identical and you may not have a leg to stand on if it is derived from a template.
Only yesterday I had a call from a client to ask me if I could help them with a very serious issue they were facing. Numerous of their clients had called them to alert them that a bogus company had set up their website using their same banner and images AND registered a similar domain. Fortunately I was able to provide the original Photoshop files and the design which proved that their design was unique to my client and that they had exclusive rights.This has now made it possible for my client to get the host of the counterfeit site to be shut down. How would they have been able to do this if the site was a template? This particular client deals with large council projects and it could have been a living nightmare for them. Thankfully all the original files were sent through within minutes after I received the call and the matter could be dealt with immediately.
So my advice is 'Beware of pre-designed templated websites'!