I discourage using free templates. However, using a template layout does not mean the business site will fail or be harmed because of the layout if it is suitable for the business. Template content is a entirely different matter – it can and most often does harm, although there is no harm done that extends into the future success of a site once it is reworked.
Good material rises above the form … the substance is more important than the form. A good layout allows this to happen. A bad layout is bad when it does not allow the substance to be the focus – regardless of how attractive or unattractive it may be. A good design helps the content and helps get the message to the viewers and a bad design hinders.
Free templates can be used as a starting point – A template site can be created starting around $100. As an alternative to a free template a mockups can save time and be used in the same manner. Mockups are offered and because there are 1000s of different templates, a custom mockup may be a considerable time saver – it has what you are asking for on it. See mockup designs at Wsmith-mockups.
The material of a template can harm success of a site. For one it is duplicate content making it impossible to get any Search Engine ratings. Web designers should be able to help in the creation of content and they should also be willing and able to work with anybody who does the “copywriting” for the company.
Another problem with templates, until they are completely reworked, is they fail when it comes to the above the fold design. A site needs to convey what it is about in a information saturated world rapidly – People often need to determine if a business can help them quickly. I myself have been on the phone with somebody who is asking me if a business can provide them with a service while I am on their website. People are often placed in this situation where they need a yes or no answer in seconds.