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When prospective clients open by telling you .
... that they don't have much money.
BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 7:23 am on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Do you treat their enquiry seriously?

I just received an email enquiry from someone who made the point quite strongly that he did not have a lot of money to spend. This happens quite frequently.

When I looked at this one I couldn't be bothered with spending the time on the enquiry so I told the guy I was too busy to take it on and wished him luck. I did this because I have had my time wasted in the past by people who go out of their way to tell me that they don't have much money and who want me to work for nothing.

Do you process enquiries like this?

 

King_Fisher

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 7:54 am on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

Better this than someone who strings you along, picks your brain and THEN tells
you he doesn't have an ample budget. KF

wyweb



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 9:34 am on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I used to hear that one a lot. Back in the day, I did quite a bit of free work for non-profits, and in fact would include that in my advertising. If you do free work for one organization or individual, it automatically holds true that you'll work free for anyone, anywhere, any time. Some people are actually surprised when I tell them this isn't true.

From a business standpoint, I usually regard statements like that as the opposition's opening salvo in our wage/labor negotiations and proceed from there. "I don't have much money" can sometimes be translated as, "I have lots of money but I don't want you to know that." Or it can just as easily mean they're dead broke and on a fishing expedition. How can you tell? You can't. You need further involvement with the individual. How detailed is their outline? Do they even have an outline? A well thought out concept can be an indication of their seriousness and intent. That's what you're looking for, after all. Not whether they have money or not but are they committed? Do they really want whatever it is you can do for them? If they do, they'll find the money. Maybe I've been lucky but that's been my experience.

I don't know of any way to distinguish the 'haves' from the 'have nots' unless you're somehow able to get more information about them. Lots of have nots like to masquerade as haves and if they're accomplished enough they can fool anyone. I try to get a fix on their age if I can, not always possible if their initial email is brief, but there are things you can look for, tell-tales you can spot. Teen-agers trying to come across sounding adult seem to have a certain style of writing that you can spot once you've seen it a few times. A more common scenario I used to see was the guy (or gal) who had zero intention of actually having any work done, but felt that by embellishing his/her inquiry it would give it added weight, thus be taken more seriously. I'd rather they tell me they were flat broke and find out later it wasn't true, than have them tell me money isn't a problem, only to find out later that it is.

More than once I've opened an email and after reading it moved to delete it, then had second thoughts and replied to it instead. Two of my best and oldest customers began our professional relationships with less than impressive first emails that could just as easily have been deleted or ignored. I try to answer everybody these days. It might be a form letter but they will get an answer because, well, because you just never know...

DrDoc

WebmasterWorld Senior Member drdoc us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 5:30 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

No one is ever going to tell you "I have lots of money just sitting around and no way to spend it".

When someone tells me they don't have much money, I casually reply: "But you either already have, or are prepared to, budget money for this project, as long as we come to an agreement?"

I have had six figure projects begin with "I don't have much money" ...

[edited by: DrDoc at 5:31 pm (utc) on June 20, 2007]

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 5:38 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

"I don't have much money" can sometimes be translated as, "I have lots of money but I don't want you to know that." Or it can just as easily mean they're dead broke and on a fishing expedition. How can you tell? You can't.

I think I can. I have a fairly detailed online enquiry form that I believe gives me a good indication of the propective client's real intentions (and perhaps budget). I also ask them to read my prices page before submitting their enquiry. If they do submit the enquiry after reading this and they feel compelled to make the "not a lot of money" comment, I normally take it that they want me to cut the rates that are listed on my website.

lawman

WebmasterWorld Administrator lawman us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 5:45 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm leery of anyone who says "I don't care what it costs."

Those characters never have any money.

Dabrowski

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 8:45 pm on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I will never cut my rates. If people tell you they don't have money, then either (as has already been said)

1. they have lots but don't like spending it.
If they want the service, and you do a good job, they'll pay full price. No Q's asked.

2. they actually don't.
Tt's not worth my while cutting my prices as I'll be losing out on a job somewhere else who would have paid full.

I actually go the other way, if I think they have oodles of cash to spend, or expect the project to be expensive, quote double, then haggle. You'll still have made more in the end. ;)

weeks

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 12:48 am on Jun 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Assuming that they really don't have much money...

...the problem I have with this is that my services alone is seldom going to get them going. And, I really hate wasting my time on projects that are not going to see the light of day.

No money for photographers, no money for research, no money for software, no money for admin work, no money for changes. It goes on and on. Who wants to live like that?

A non-profit came to me two weeks ago with a proposal for a major campaign, but they had no money. I said, get some. $20,000 to start. And then we can start. They said OK. They appreciated my advice.

vincevincevince

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 1:48 am on Jun 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

It is a tricky issue, but I try to remember that it's not my job to compensate for someone else's failiure to retain enough capital to pay for what they want.

Tell me you have very limited funds and the only difference it will make is that I'll make sure I've got the contract signed hardcopy and the downpayment is fully cleared before I start!

Same goes for urgent and rush jobs; it's not my job to panic and stress because someone else failed to properly plan and prepare.

calicochris

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 3:11 am on Jun 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Sometimes "I don't have much money" open the door to structure your proposal in 2 or 3 phases ... and the prospective customer will get the money. Just be sure to do some bang-for-the-buck work first ...

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 10:34 am on Jun 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Tell me you have very limited funds and the only difference it will make is that I'll make sure I've got the contract signed hardcopy and the downpayment is fully cleared before I start!

That's right, and in the past I have actually increased my quote so that the downpayment will provide an acceptable return for the work involved (in case they don't pay the final payment). I have actually done this in the past then reduced the amount of the final payment. Telling people that they don't need to pay as much as was initially agreed gets you lots of goodwill.

Essex_boy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member essex_boy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 5:46 pm on Jun 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thats very common in the building trade.

Automan Empire

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 6:32 pm on Jun 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have had very good and very bad client relationships begin this way, so there is no hard and fast rule here. Still, people who START by saying they have little money have a far greater chance of being people you don't want as clients. It is a poor way to start any relationship; I've wondered if they try to get dates that way too. "Hey, baby, are you cheap? Because I am."

Aside from a brief familiarization, I find it best to have a minimum charge for a consultation. This works well for me in a competitive field with lots of "free estimates" offered by marginal competitors. If they don't want to spend a dime, I gently refer them to one of those competitors, and try to point out the VALUE of my services over that of the competition. Some people have to learn the hard way that the cheapest-sounding bidder usually winds up costing the most in the long run. Sometimes budgets grow and people realize they need to spend in order to get what they want. It is a delicate balance to steer away the tire-kickers, without alienating what may someday become good clients.

All that said, I still find it an uncouth way to start a business relationship.
-Automan

iamlost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 7:01 pm on Jun 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

I agree with Automan Empire.

The second best time in my client relationships was requiring an adequate RFP/RFQ to quote or a contract to write one. One or the other, you know the rates, end of discussion. Immediately lost (almost) all the whiners and cheapskates.

DamonHD

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 7:26 pm on Jun 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well, as I client/customer, I think that declaring anything like "I don't have much money" just makes you sound foolish, though maybe "Money is limited so we'll have to do a simple solution" is fine and businesslike.

I've been making all sorts of speculative enquiries over the last couple of weeks because I've been trying to spec out something that I'm unfamiliar with.

I either warn the company with "this would be a 1-off" or "this may not be an immediate sale" or "I'm in the dark about this" but do not show my hand re money (if I think I *can* afford the good/service). Why do so?

And as it happens I've had several things come in well under my budget and have just asked my last supplier to bump *up* his quote because I thought he was cutting his own margins too tight and his price was well below my ceiling...

Rgds

Damon

mcjohnson

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 12:46 pm on Jun 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Here's a fun & vigorous thread on much the same topic:

[webmasterworld.com...]

Dabrowski

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 7:24 pm on Jun 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't describe any thread as 'fun' or 'vigorous', but very informative.

I particularly liked this quote:

We can do it: Good and fast, but not cheap. Fast and cheap, but not good. Good and cheap, but not fast.

DamonHD

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 9:46 pm on Jun 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

That was NASA's experience with Mars probes, wasn't it: you can have any two out of the three...

JudgeJeffries

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 12:47 pm on Jun 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't understand this thread.
If you're in business you have a rate that you charge to do the job.
Either they agree to pay it or they dont - problem solved - unless you're a soft touch and adjust your rates to how much they think they can afford to pay in which case you wont be in business for long.

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 5:13 pm on Jun 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

I don't understand this thread.

Well let me try to explain it to you ;)

Most of us do have a scale of charges for our services and I don't think anyone is suggesting that we should adjust these because the potential client takes this approach. What we are discussing is the effort to be put into pursuing enquiries from people who open with this statement.

JudgeJeffries

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 5:57 pm on Jun 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well, if you don't like the smell of it (or him/her) pretend that youre a lawyer, do a quick guess, double it, add your phone number and offer 10% discount for a 'special' client. I think its now called 'mate rate' in legal circles which means you're still getting ripped of but not as much as usual. [I must write that book 'confessions of a lawyer']

[edited by: JudgeJeffries at 6:00 pm (utc) on June 24, 2007]

DamonHD

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 7:21 pm on Jun 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hmm, I call that the "Screw You" quote/rate, and occasionally deploy it. Not sure what to do if it gets accepted! B^>

Rgds

Damon

[edited by: lawman at 9:08 pm (utc) on June 24, 2007]

Dabrowski

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 9:18 pm on Jun 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

As I said earlier,

if I think they have oodles of cash to spend, or expect the project to be expensive, quote double, then haggle

That way you've made more than you expected, bonus. Client thinks they have a great deal, bonus. Everyone happy!

I think a lot of places are doing this now, and I don't just mean the service industry. The example that springs to mind is a well known Theme Park here in the UK, (Staffordshire, off the A50).

Normal ticket price is a whopping 27, which by the time you've paid for parking, food, and fuel, is a pretty expensive day out!

However, I also believe there is no time of year when you can't get a 2-for-1 voucher somewhere.

Hence, they're charging 27 per ticket, when they intend to sell for half that. If you all pay full price bonus for them, if you all have vouchers, you think you have a great deal!

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 7:15 am on Jun 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes. A couple of years ago the circus came to my town and I took my grandson. I can't remember what I paid but I was shocked at the price. I later learned that they had placed fliers in lots of the local business and bars offering 50% off the charge. I missed out on this but clearly their real price was the 50% off price. Mugs like me are a bonus.

But then we're getting off topic. ;)

Dabrowski

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 9:53 am on Jun 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Not really. Apply this same logic to your cheapskate client.

Quote him double, then tell him you'll cut him a deal. If he has really got the money then he'll pay. If he hasn't then he really isn't worth the bother.

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 12:26 pm on Jun 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

You know using similar tactics for all clients my be worth considering. ;)

What if the job is worth say 2000 and you quote a client 3000 and say that that this is the maximum that they will have to pay. Tell them that the price could be reduced by up to 1000 depending on how much work is involved. If the job turns out easy you can settle for 2K if they nit pick and pester the **** out of you you can ask for the 3K :)

Dabrowski

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 2:16 pm on Jun 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Can't hurt, but then if your standard 2k price is reasonable for that job, you may risk pricing yourself out of the market. You really have to judge it on a job by job basis.

The first thing I do, is detail a complete sitemap with them, with every page. Once that's signed off I charge extra for anything else on top. That way the 2k reflects exactly what I'm prepared to do for their 2k. Anything else, I'm happy to accomodate but they can expect extra on the bill.

Tapolyai

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 2:28 pm on Jun 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

What if the job is worth say 2000 and you quote a client 3000 and say that that this is the maximum that they will have to pay. Tell them that the price could be reduced by up to 1000 depending on how much work is involved. If the job turns out easy you can settle for 2K if they nit pick and pester the **** out of you you can ask for the 3K happy!

This sounds just like a used-car salesman. And just as most can see through a used-car salesman, most customers will see through this charade.

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 3:24 pm on Jun 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

most customers will see through this charade.

You didn't ;)

lawman

WebmasterWorld Administrator lawman us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3373177 posted 4:40 pm on Jun 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

Heard a lawyer at a conference speak, among other things, about fees. He said first to determine what amount would be fair, then double it.

I'm sure he wasn't the first to come up with this tongue-in-cheek solution. Of course the point is not to sell yourself short.

Cheers.

This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >
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