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Why are some business owners so cheap with websites?
cmendla

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 9:48 pm on Mar 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

It amazes me that someone running a multi million dollar project will balk at less than 3 grand for a website with extensive SEO, custom graphics etc.

When you look at what newspapers are charging for print ads, you see that a single full page ad of one insertion costs almost that much.. Which is going to give a better ROI.. a one time, one page ad in a rinky dink birdcage liner or a well designed interactive website?

Thanks folks, just had to let that one out.

chris

 

Kendo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 10:32 pm on Mar 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Or they could go for a $30-50K website and wander off without paying. I see that a lot.

ken_b

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



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 10:55 pm on Mar 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Might have something to do with how many times they've been screwed over by incompetent (to be polite) "web designers/developers" You know, the guys that promise the sky and deliver dirt. Or the guys that are so busy signing up the next customer that they never get around to working on the last 10 customers websites.

.

scooterdude



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 11:39 pm on Mar 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

Well I've been frequenting a free lance website and one of my favorite requests has been of the type

"I want a site just like monster.com, I want it in a hurry, and I am ready to pay,,,,, $800"

naturally , there were a few submissions

lucy24

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 11:52 pm on Mar 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

"$30,000? My nephew will do it for a six-pack!"

:: wandering off to see what new goodies have shown up at clientsfromyou-know-where dot net ::

piatkow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 8:35 pm on Apr 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Partially down to a basic perception that if a 14 year old can create a site then why should they pay professional rates regardless of the work involved in the professional quality of work required.

brotherhood of LAN

WebmasterWorld Administrator brotherhood_of_lan us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 8:43 pm on Apr 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Same goes for hosting, even among freelance developers with their own sites... wondering how to get around a host limitation on their five dollars a month host.

Kendo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 11:12 pm on Apr 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

My nephew will do it for a six-pack!


I encountered something like this once. One our clients with a computer repair service built a web site for one of his clients. He had charged the client $300 and the client was complaining. What I saw was terrible and more ugly than his own site and somehow I got involved and rebuilt the site. Cleaned up the design, added a theme and added a basic shopping cart that actually worked.

Well what happened next was even more ridiculous than one could ever imagine. That client replaced the site content with what her 14 yo nephew whipped up... and it was woeful. But the client liked it because it used the same garish background tile and colors that she picked in the beginning.

Ok, so graphic artist with 40 years experience makes a mental note... "do not work for grannies who have bad taste".

Not long after that I found myself building a site for an online radio service. This was another project with an unpromising future and they had a fixation for purple so I introduced purple into the site theme but tried to keep it subtle. But it wasn't long before I was getting requests to change the theme because it didn't stand out like some other sites that they see on the Internet.

These other sites that they were referring to, when I checked them out, didn't actually have a theme at all. The headers were comprised of every colour under the sun and so were the rest of the pages... lots of ads jumping out "look at me, look at me". When I asked them if they could actually find what they might be looking for on those pages, or if they could read anything without getting a headache, they gave me strange looks. So that's when I made another mental note... "do not have anything to do with mom and pop projects until you have confirmed that they do have some taste".

For many years I serviced advertising agencies, creating web sites that looked just like the brochures that brochure designers can design and had no problems. Just a lot of happy clients. But dealing with people who have no sense of design or appreciation for the mechanics of corporate design is something that I never want to do again.

lorax

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



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 8:34 pm on Apr 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

This is one of the biggest reasons I never provide a quote on spec alone. I require we speak on the phone. I interview them as much as they interview me. An hour of my time on the phone almost always gives me a good sense of whether or not to pursue the project any further.

particleman

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 2:59 pm on Apr 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

Lorax has it right, better to recognize a headache before it becomes one. I recently worked with somebody that I simply was going to get burned eventually. They nitpicked every aspect of the work I did and really wasted my time for something that was really a minor site update. I'm not pursuing them anymore at all, nicely.

creative craig

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 6:51 pm on Apr 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

I had this happen recently - a client who is most of the time great to work with but has their difficult moments requested their passwords to Wordpress, Analytics, Facebook and Adwords so their golf buddy could have a look - it made me shudder when I read the email. I told them straight, if they touch anything and it breaks they are paying to fix it!

Kendo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 3:41 am on Apr 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

Nitpicking can be a telltale, but it's no indication of whether you will get paid or not. Web projects are too difficult to define and thus it is extremely easy to claim extras to be included because they are useful to the project, making the job incomplete.

But how do you fully spec a project until you build it? Or do you spend eons writing up a list of features to be included, and then to do that properly, spend almost as much time defining them as it might take to build them?

For me there is only one solution... the customer pays up front. If they don't like that idea? They can go elsewhere. There are too many scammers and anyone given credit has no incentive to pay.

But they still try it on. Recently we did a software install on a client's server. There was a middleman acting as "agent". The client contacted us complaining that the job was overdue. The truth of that matter was that the agent had wasted 3 months trying to get something for nothing when they were told at the onset "pay first then we install". When they finally ordered the job was installed within the week. Normally it could have been done within 24-48 hours but we also included many new features. In fact we provided a much more sophisticated solution than what was ordered.

Then we heard that the client was unhappy and won't pay until modifications are made. These modifications would be a complete rewrite of the application to do something entirely different to what was demonstrated and purchased.

So what do you do? If we had not been paid up front we could be at the mercy of cretins. But who is the cretin... the client or the agent? Having been paid already it's not our problem. They ordered 100%, we delivered 200% and they were quoted for further customisation.

There are far too many people doing business like that and with web applications it is far too easy to stretch the original proposal.

cmendla

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 4:32 am on Apr 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

Kendo - I hadn't given a lot of consideration to getting payment up front. I'm not sure we are in the exactly the same line but I think it could work in my case.

How exactly do you handle it? ie do you give them a list of deliverables or some outline of the project.?

I have to do something different since the extras are are killing me.

I was billing 1/3 up front, 1/3 when the site goes live and 1/3 on completion of all the deliverables.

I had two problems recently. The first was when the financer pulled support because of reasons unrelated to the site. (ie the problem was not on my end). THe other is where I am waiting for some final material from a client. In one case I lost 1/3. Of course, there was some work I didn't have to do.

In the other case, I have the project hanging over my head waiting for the client to deliver the materials.


I suppose it's like when I was an adjunct Prof. I constantly had to revise my syllabus until I got it to the point where most problems were avoided.

piatkow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 7:42 am on Apr 25, 2013 (gmt 0)


Or do you spend eons writing up a list of features to be included, and then to do that properly, spend almost as much time defining them as it might take to build them?

Perfectly good analysis technique as taught on all good training courses. Of course nobody trains the client to read the ******* spec before signing it off so they still complain!

Essex_boy

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



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 8:52 pm on Apr 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

Or this one, firm turnsover several million, MD was a manic depressive (and in his own words that he was a 'failed solicitor'), director 'A' unable to make a decision (he took 3 years in one case, director B warned me not to have anything to do with him). Director B an accountant knew nothing about IT or the business she was involved with.

So they chose a web design that cost 3000, a CMS site. At 3000 they over paid I later found out that they were near the point of bankruptcy.... Dunno why.

bwnbwn

WebmasterWorld Senior Member bwnbwn us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 12:48 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

I recently sent out a mass email.

Due to so much of my time being taken up helping without being paid I am making a change. From now on any work/advice/suggestions I do will be 100.00 an hour.

This doesn't prevent you from calling me as a friend but if it has anything to do with your web I am sorry it will be on a cost basis.

Kendo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 7:47 am on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ cmendla, most of what I install these days can be boxed. For example both software and web applications already exist in some form either as an online demo or on a client's site. So I can use that as the "requirement" and then add custom features which are then easily itemised.

Getting part payment up front only works if the site remains on your server until final payment, and it really needs to be your server and not a hosted deal because once I had a client backdoor me by going to the host and impressing them with their importance. As it turned out everyone working on that project was fleeced for what must have totalled a couple of million. No one was paid a cent. The list includes press and radio publicists, accountants, advertising agencies, the largest ISP in Australia and investors worldwide. The project turned out to be a scam and the culprits disappeared from Australia, returned to the US where they were eventually caught up with by victims there, prosecuted for all sorts of things, escaped jail sentences and seemingly in Mexico to continue their shonky dealings. I was burned for 80k most of which was paid out in wages/contracts.

Yes, anything can go wrong and all sorts of events can change the client's direction. But no change should exempt them from their obligation, so prevention is better than cure. The one that tries to argue their way out of pre-payment will always be the one to watch. Trust them with nothings and you won't get burned.

good analysis technique as taught on all good training courses


Yep, all signed off and almost completed until you hear that the client's wife all of a sudden prefers another colour.

Re "analysis technique"... of late I have given out a few different projects though online outsourcing agencies to "team leaders" representing larger teams of coders and developers. But in most cases these projects had to be cancelled because the team leader did not properly understood the requirements and long after the agreed delivery time still had no clue whatsoever.

They call themselves "middle management" and in large groups of coders they apparently are necessary. They are well versed in communication methods such as Skype and online conferencing. Yet they don't seem to be able comprehend what they read or to be able to convey that onto others. I mean how easy is it to understand this requirement?

"The job requirement is to create an add-on for use in Drupal that performs the very same functions as what can be seen from the online demos and by downloading and installing existing plugins for WordPress and Joomla." That's right, they are even provided with the PHP and JavaScript to use and all they have to do is wrap it into a Drupal plugin. But after 4 weeks they still didn't have a clue.

I have been caught like this 4 times this year already. If they cannot read and cannot follow the pics, then what hope do we have of specifying our projects. It seems that the more people use computers, the less they comprehend of what they read. For example, who reads every email 3 times before replying?




I do!

piatkow

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 6:05 pm on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)


Re "analysis technique"... of late I have given out a few different projects though online outsourcing agencies to "team leaders" representing larger teams of coders and developers. But in most cases these projects had to be cancelled because the team leader did not properly understood the requirements and long after the agreed delivery time still had no clue whatsoever.

My experience of outsourcing too. When I was given a decent redundancy payoff last year I was very grateful to be able to get out of the rat race.

lucy24

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lucy24 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 7:01 pm on May 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

In order to get full payment in advance, you need a client who is willing to give full payment in advance. This in turn means either
--be in a line of business where advance-in-full is the industry standard (off the top of my head, keeping in mind that I'm in the US and this is about services, not products: rentals, travel, education).
or
--have a very trusting, gullible or stupid (adjective depends on your own position in the arrangement) client.
--or, OK, #3, have a de facto monopoly

Turn it around, please. Under what circumstances are you yourself prepared to pay in advance for services that have not been received?

Kendo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 12:58 am on May 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Turn it around, please. Under what circumstances are you yourself prepared to pay in advance for services that have not been received?


For anyone to contract us, paying in advance is not a problem because we have history, reputation and unique solutions that are not available elsewhere. This has been a process of evolution for us and gone are the days when there was a risk of being screwed over every job.

So far this year, we have paid in advance for more than 60 projects contracted with previously unknown entities via Elance.

vik_c

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 4:44 pm on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

If a business person is being very cheap with their budget for their website, maybe you could assess their expectations from their website. If they are very low, you can set a much higher target, selling the sizzle instead of the stake. Tie your remuneration to that. Ask them what their average sales, profit per order and conversion rate is. Evaluate how much a lead is worth to them and offer to guarantee them qualified leads. Have it in writing.

Also for some reason, many business persons prefer designers who have built sites for their industry already. This always seemed ridiculous to me but that's how it is. When you go to a dentist, you don't ask him/her whether they have done a root canal for an accountant or an engineer in the past but nevertheless it's how a lot of people seem to think when it comes to getting sites made. So you have designers who specialize in building sites for hotels, jewelers, chemical companies etc. They are also usually able to charge a slight premium because of this. I handled a lot of web design projects in the nineties when these skills were much coveted before getting bored with them and moving on to running my own websites. (Never looked back since. It was the best decision I ever made in my business.) What I'm telling you was and continues to be true for small businesses in Mumbai, India where I'm based. YMMV.

1Lit

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4559902 posted 7:23 pm on Jun 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yes, it is incredibly frustrating when clients call us up and want a state-of-the-art ecommerce website built and, when you quote anything more than a $1,000 they think you're ripping them off!

Nobody would think of opening up a high street retail business without spending tens of thousands of dollars.

This whole myth that setting up and running a successful online business costs next to nothing has got to be dispelled.

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