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Spending more time to make one really good design is definitely the way to go. I never really did see the point of doing more.
Another pitfall is creating more than one of the same design with very minor variations. Unless they are color variations the client will not notice if one design featured shadows and glows and the other did not, or if one design used a different font set from the other, or if one had leaves as ornaments as opposed to flowers in the other. If anything this will only confuse the client and it only shows that you yourself are just as undecided as they are. So make up your mind and choose the one that you looks best.
Oh and definitely start a design with wireframes. They are a great time saver. This is also one of the reasons why I never needed to do more than 1 design, because the (note: approved) wireframe has already defined its general layout and structure, so the rest of the work is just adding colors, graphics, and whatever bells and whistles you may have to turn it into a beautiful design.