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Are too many people trying to get a career in web design/development?


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#81 user-removed

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 05:59 PM

The computer analogy is perfect. Apple didn't get to be the biggest computer company in the world by selling 200 plastic netbooks with no features. They did it by providing decent quality products and charging accordingly. If you give people the option of quality they will take it. Maybe not right away, they might need to get burned once or twice but eventually everyone migrates upward.

I can only ponder if perhaps your quoted feelings are why you've seen 3 different industries.


Exactly. The fact is 99% of people, before Apple came along and changed it, didn't care and were quite happy with a beige box. I'm sure there was some complaint but by and large it was accepted that this is just how computers looked.

If all Apple cared about was purely customer satisfaction they wouldn't have bothered changing this because people were already satisfied.

Sometimes, a client can be 100% satisfied, but that doesn't mean that's where you stop - not if you can make them more satisfied than they could have possibly comprehended.


On another note, I need to stop talking about satisfying clients...


#82 nfc212

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 06:28 PM

Ugh this kind of race to the bottom mentality disgusts me. I'm sorry but if your only concern in business is money then I have absolutely no sympathy for you when some Chinese child slave vastly undercuts you and takes all your clients.

I can only ponder if perhaps your quoted feelings are why you've seen 3 different industries.


Do you buy the products of slavery? The shelves of the big supermarkets and DIY chains are full of them.

I can assure you now the great British public couldn't give a rats backside about quality they want cheap and the cheaper the better. If not explain how Tesco are the UKs biggest supermarket given they sell garbage. You need to eat the fruit and veg before you get to the check out or it will have gone rotten by the time you get it home. At the other end of the spectrum is Waitrose. Good quality but prices that deter all but the wealthier. Never bursting at the seams Waitrose, in fact less people than the Gobi desert most days.

I'm still seeing three different industries, though related rather than different. In all of them times are getting tougher, profit margins narrowing and costs rising. You cannot sell a product for more than the market will pay. It is very nice to say, "My product is much better quality", they'll just nod and say "Yes, lovely isn't it" then sod off and buy some piece of tat.

If they want pay tat prices, give them tat.

Pile it high, sell it cheap. God, that Gerald Ratner was a man before his time.


#83 oakleaves

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 06:34 PM

@nfc212

So is this your marketing strategy or is this all idle speculation? Is your business successful based on this strategy? Do you get repeat customers and referrals? I'd been interested to see your website and approach and if it works for you and your clients.

I'd have to see some evidence before I subscribed to your sad estimation of affairs.

I do know that on quite a few occassions I have won contracts and been told later that I was by no means the cheapest quote, however I was chosen because they felt I could offer a better quality than some of the other service providers who they had quotes from.


#84 oakleaves

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 06:37 PM

ps, the comment about the dry bread wasn't strictly true.

I've received 2000 from said client. Beats making s***ty sites that I'm not proud of for 100 quid.

Happy days.


#85 user-removed

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 06:43 PM

Do you buy the products of slavery? The shelves of the big supermarkets and DIY chains are full of them.

I can assure you now the great British public couldn't give a rats backside about quality they want cheap and the cheaper the better. If not explain how Tesco are the UKs biggest supermarket given they sell garbage. You need to eat the fruit and veg before you get to the check out or it will have gone rotten by the time you get it home. At the other end of the spectrum is Waitrose. Good quality but prices that deter all but the wealthier. Never bursting at the seams Waitrose, in fact less people than the Gobi desert most days.

I'm still seeing three different industries, though related rather than different. In all of them times are getting tougher, profit margins narrowing and costs rising. You cannot sell a product for more than the market will pay. It is very nice to say, "My product is much better quality", they'll just nod and say "Yes, lovely isn't it" then sod off and buy some piece of tat.

If they want pay tat prices, give them tat.

Pile it high, sell it cheap. God, that Gerald Ratner was a man before his time.



I think comparing Tesco to web design is taking things much too far. Completely different style of business, different audience, different market. Completely incomparable.


#86 Renaissance-Design

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 06:43 PM

Do you buy the products of slavery? The shelves of the big supermarkets and DIY chains are full of them.

I can assure you now the great British public couldn't give a rats backside about quality they want cheap and the cheaper the better. If not explain how Tesco are the UKs biggest supermarket given they sell garbage. You need to eat the fruit and veg before you get to the check out or it will have gone rotten by the time you get it home. At the other end of the spectrum is Waitrose. Good quality but prices that deter all but the wealthier. Never bursting at the seams Waitrose, in fact less people than the Gobi desert most days.

I'm still seeing three different industries, though related rather than different. In all of them times are getting tougher, profit margins narrowing and costs rising. You cannot sell a product for more than the market will pay. It is very nice to say, "My product is much better quality", they'll just nod and say "Yes, lovely isn't it" then sod off and buy some piece of tat.

If they want pay tat prices, give them tat.

Pile it high, sell it cheap. God, that Gerald Ratner was a man before his time.


That's not even remotely relevant. Groceries are a commodity, professional services are not.


#87 oakleaves

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 06:47 PM

Beats making s***ty sites that I'm not proud of for 100 quid.


And further to this, a company nearby me offers el-dirtball cheapo websites (you know, crappy template poo) for 150quid a pop.

The internet is flooded with bad reviews about this company. I guess people must somewhere down the line wise-up? Or is it that the type of company that offer this is generally the type that offers bad customer service and acts in ways so as to pee off there clients - so much so that they can't wait to slag them off everywhere?

Oh yeah, they did make a lot of cash out of it in the short-term by the way, to be fair.


#88 Glowbridge

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 07:01 PM

If not explain how Tesco are the UKs biggest supermarket given they sell garbage.


Oh please. Fairtrade Chocolate, Organic Vegetables, "British" Beef, Free Range Eggs, Real Mozzarella Pizzas, Cane Sugar, Milk, Diluted Orange Juice, Hand picked tea, Coffee beans, Toasters made by DeLonghi

Every single one has cheaper alternatives yet all of them still manage to justify vast swathes of shelf space in every supermarket in the country. People buy cheap trash when they have no choice in the matter. Either because of economic situation or ignorance.

Economic situation is apt for supermarkets but not a real excuse for professional services for two reasons. Your average customer can easily understand why cheap beans are ****e, they very clearly don't understand why using Flash to climb to the top of Google is a horrible idea.

They are ignorant to our world and when you set yourself up as a bona fide professional web designer you take on certain responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is not to abuse peoples trust in professionals. By calling yourself a professional you are telling the world you'll do a good job on the things they don't know about so when you don't actually do that you are nothing more than a scam artist in my book.

You are taking their trust and abusing it. It's exploitation. Barely any better than the bogus gas man.


#89 nfc212

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 07:07 PM

Competing on cost is a guaranteed way to put yourself out of business because you can never win. You are just shooting yourself in the foot contract after contract until you lose enough blood to actually die.


Not competing on cost is like putting the gun to your head on the first contract.

I openly tell clients they can have the job in a range of qualities. Anywhere between fit for purpose to bloody astounding. They always plump for fit for purpose.

I'm blowed if I'm doing bloody astounding for fit for purpose rates. That would put me out of business even quicker. Time is money and is particularly so if you employ people. If you price for the employee to do it in a day but you do extra work and do it in two you are running at a loss immediately and are basically paying to put it on the customers property. I'm a business not a charity. Though it feels like it sometimes.

There has always and will always be bottom feeders who will take anything for a job. They are completely interchangeable.


Surprising how many of these bottom feeders you'll see swanning around in their flash motors with a wad on their hips.

The computer analogy is perfect. Apple didn't get to be the biggest computer company in the world by selling 200 plastic netbooks with no features. They did it by providing decent quality products and charging accordingly. If you give people the option of quality they will take it. Maybe not right away, they might need to get burned once or twice but eventually everyone migrates upward.


Wasn't that long ago that the only time you saw an Apple computer was in a design office. They were certainly a rarity in most living rooms, way too expensive for the average punter. However the prices have reduced dramatically over the last few years.


#90 Renaissance-Design

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 07:15 PM

Surprising how many of these bottom feeders you'll see swanning around in their flash motors with a wad on their hips.


It'll only work for them for a short while. They won't get repeat custom because they don't do the job right the first time, and there are only so many mugs to fleece. It's not a sustainable strategy.

Wasn't that long ago that the only time you saw an Apple computer was in a design office. They were certainly a rarity in most living rooms, way too expensive for the average punter. However the prices have reduced dramatically over the last few years.


They're still priced at the premium end of the market, and Apple has a bigger wad than the US treasury. Apple turn most of their users into repeat customers and unpaid brand advocates. Show me a cowboy who enjoys that degree of success.


#91 Glowbridge

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 07:16 PM

What he said ^^

Edited by Glowbridge, 03 February 2012 - 07:17 PM.


#92 nfc212

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 07:33 PM

People buy cheap trash when they have no choice in the matter. Either because of economic situation or ignorance.


Thanks for proving my point.

They are ignorant to our world and when you set yourself up as a bona fide professional web designer you take on certain responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is not to abuse peoples trust in professionals. By calling yourself a professional you are telling the world you'll do a good job on the things they don't know about so when you don't actually do that you are nothing more than a scam artist in my book.


You do the job that they are willing to pay you to do.

If they want a 200 web site give them a 200 web site. If they want a 400 web site they get a 400 web site. I'm not advocating cheating them just saying don't knock yourself out doing what you weren't paid to do. Explain to them that the 400 pound site will be better value in the long term but if they go with the 200 version give them that.

Do it, deliver it, get the brass and get on with the next one.

If the 200 site needs overhauling in a couple of years more fool them but if you're still about say "Told you so" and do it over.

You're in business to make a living not friends. They won't give you any more for going over the top on the design brief. So just do what you have to.

You are taking their trust and abusing it. It's exploitation. Barely any better than the bogus gas man.


They'll bloody well exploit you if they can.

I heard a story the other day about "ringing" start up businesses. What happens is that a group of turds will scan the small ads looking for a business that has just started up. They will all call up and order work to be done on their houses. The bloke in question is over the moon, goes out buys the materials and does the work. Then none of them pay up hoping he'll go bust before he can get anything off them.

A builder I used to do work for was put through by a couple who had a mass of work done on their property and just before completion declared themselves personally bankrupt. He'd spent 30,000 on materials and labour, always get a deposit to cover this. If they won't pay it, don't do the work. Seems they knew they wouldn't be able to pay, but the work done increased the auction value of the property to pay off the taxman and bank.

When it comes to business and money you can't trust anyone.


#93 nfc212

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 07:51 PM

It'll only work for them for a short while. They won't get repeat custom because they don't do the job right the first time, and there are only so many mugs to fleece. It's not a sustainable strategy.


They get lots of repeat work, because they are cheap. It's the Basil Fawlty scenario. You know they'll bodge it but they don't charge anywhere near as much as that other bloke. As they are only paying out in small amounts they don't add up the full amount that they actually end up paying. It's a bit like the x.99 factor. They will pay 7.99 for something but won't pay 8.00. It is 8.00 really it is just that the mug punter only looks at the pounds not the pence.

I lost a contract a few years ago to couple of cowboys. They cut corners everywhere and are back repairing it probably three times more often, paid to do so as well. The company is paying more overall to them than they were to me however the initial unit costs are lower so it appears to be an economy and this is a fairly large business with trained accountants.

In this case tell me where the sense in doing it right lies. Do no more than you have to to meet the clients requirements.


#94 Glowbridge

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 07:59 PM

......?

That post defeats your previous argument. That post essentially says "Don't do work you aren't paid to do". You initial point, the point we took issue with, was "So long as the customer is happy who cares about quality?"

ALL OF THE PAYMENT IS FOR QUALITY.

You are meant to be a professional. A person who provides quality services in areas that require specialist knowledge. The whole reason they Googled for you in the first place is because they don't know what is best for themselves. They don't know what quality is so they are completely the wrong person to be judging how much it should bloody cost. Look at the guy in the other thread who was billed £19k for a website. He wasn't actually 100% sure he was getting completely ripped off because he had no basis on which to judge.

When it comes to business and money you can't trust anyone.


Jesus H. ******* Christ is that ever not a license to treat people in the same fashion.
"What judge? Other people will soon as quick kill me so I killed 'em first"

In this case tell me where the sense in doing it right lies.

The very same mechanism people get popular. Word of mouth. They might have been back to the same client 3 times and gotten paid higher because of it but if that client shouted loud enough they'd never get any clients ever again.

Not to mention that deliberately doing sub-par work in order to get repeat work is called Extortion and is illegal.

Edited by Glowbridge, 03 February 2012 - 08:05 PM.


#95 MikeChipshop

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 08:17 PM

They get lots of repeat work, because they are cheap. It's the Basil Fawlty scenario. You know they'll bodge it but they don't charge anywhere near as much as that other bloke. .


I disagree.
I get a lot of business tidying up after these cheap labour muppets and none of the clients will go back to them because they were cheap. The majority of clients aren't stupid. They'll pay cheap once and then realise what they got wasn't nothing like what they hoped for and then hey'll pay the full price to have it fixed up. This s not speculation, this is what I deal with on a day to day basis.

Also whoever above compared web design to Tesco is plain wrong. A families weekly grocery shop is a necessity, a web site is something that comes from a whole different budget. A website is saved up for and planned in advance.

I'd back Chris' idea of a governing body. Just keep the damn money makers and government out of it.


#96 Glowbridge

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 08:38 PM

I'd back Chris' idea of a governing body. Just keep the damn money makers and government out of it.


Posted Image

The asterisk is there because it could double us as the international association of developers too.

Edited by Glowbridge, 03 February 2012 - 08:42 PM.


#97 Synjyn

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 09:31 PM

If you want to spew out cheap and cheerful websites and not worry to much that is one business model and can work fine.

But to be able to land the big contracts where you get to work on cutting edge technology, push boundaries and get paid well you will need to up your game, as these firms will check out your previous work often with people that are pretty clued up. If you can't show previous work of a high standard you just will not get a foot in the door.

I think a lot people overlook these stepping stones to getting the big projects that the larger agencies can get and the reward that comes with it. So even on the smallest jobs I do my damnedest to make sure both design and build are as good as I can deliver. In doing so we have managed to land some extremely large projects in amongst the smaller ones.

The other thing I see a lot of is designers making a mess of code, and developers making a mess of the design. If you really want to scale up you have to start to specialise otherwise risk just becoming mediocre at both rather than a master of one.

Still I have nothing against the model of quick, cheap, and many - this can also generate good income but for me would be a massive lack of job satisfaction.


#98 oakleaves

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 11:14 PM

But to be able to land the big contracts where you get to work on cutting edge technology, push boundaries and get paid well you will need to up your game, as these firms will check out your previous work often with people that are pretty clued up. If you can't show previous work of a high standard you just will not get a foot in the door.

I think a lot people overlook these stepping stones to getting the big projects that the larger agencies can get and the reward that comes with it. So even on the smallest jobs I do my damnedest to make sure both design and build are as good as I can deliver. In doing so we have managed to land some extremely large projects in amongst the smaller ones.


Hi Synjyn

good point


#99 jamesosix

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 04:04 AM

A voluntary standards body would have the effect of differentiating the pros from the cowboys, if its profile were high enough. Not difficult to push it to the top of the SERPS for keywords like "web design" in the UK if all members put the weight of their linkjuice behind it, which would raise its profile enough for potential clients to have heard of it.


Whilst I agree it would have its benefits for customers, its also hard to ignore:

Hmm, like a CORGI registration for web designers.

Trouble then is you involve the heavy hand of the state, with all the regulation, red tape and increased costs that go with it.

The first thing they would do, like all mandatory trade registrations, is hit you with a tax, aka registration fee. This would then have to be passed onto your customers further increasing your costs and putting off some of the lower end of the market further reducing the customer pool.

It's alright for gas and electrical workers, the customer is **** scared of blowing themselves up or frazzling themselves so they will have to pay or sit in the dark with no heating. Also many components can now only be purchased by those registered to do the work. There was talk of bringing this in for carpenters as well but the DTI realised that this was one area where much work would be foregone or cowboyed without any realistic control. If the living room door falls off it's not the end of the earth, it would also be difficult to introduce a ban on the open sale of hinges and wood screws.

Also web design could be outsourced to foreign designers, so raising UK costs would mean more looking abroad for their web sites.


These points. All very true points imo.

There is a fundamental difference between a website out to make money (one way or another) and the essential need for everybody to need safety and well trained professionals dealing with things like Electric and Gas and other essential needs like Plumbing etc.

Ultimately it could drive clients abroad and smaller start ups would have a tough time to say the least. Yet they could be doing perfect, but because they charge (likely) super low prices for great work (to make a name for themselves) they would struggle to make an actual profit from the job.

Personally I think communities such as this aid good practice. Take seo for example..the majority who do it for the love of it will do it to the best of their ability - to be up to date -and- responsible for their clients.

edit:
Thats a mad scam about the building. I am about to make a website for a builder who is just starting up, so thanks doesn't seem enough for the heads up! :D

Cheers!

Edited by jamesosix, 04 February 2012 - 04:12 AM.


#100 nfc212

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 11:16 AM

When it comes to cheating customers, who is the cheat? Not me.

If someone wants a 200 job they get a 200 job. If another wants a 1000 job they get a 1000 job. Simple as that.

I could give the tight fisted git who wants to pay 200 a 1000 job, but then I would be cheating the honest Joe willing to pay the price for quality. If you are going to give the same quality regardless of price you are cheating those willing to pay the going rate. When your decent clients found out they would likely bugger off and I wouldn't blame them.

Once word of mouth spreads it about that there is a sucker doing 1000 sites for 200 pound they will all be knocking your door expecting it for the same price though and when you say no they'll sod off somewhere else out of spite and chagrin. And don't give me any cobblers about you wouldn't do it because at the end of the day we are all some other businesses consumers. We all want a bargain be it a web site, a new front door, a new driveway, whatever. It is human nature to want as much as possible while paying as little as possible.

Could even reasonably be laying yourself open to legal action in the process. From both customers. The customer I charged 1000 could take action on the grounds that I was showing preference or was overcharging them, and the one I charged 200 could, though it seems unbelievable, take action on the grounds you exceeded the design brief and are therefore in breach of contract. As one of my businesses involves security work you can't believe the seemingly trivial things that can land you in court nowadays.

I hope everyone has liability insurance to this end. Also if you use the term Web Consultant in your trading description or anywhere on your site make sure you specifically take out liability to cover this. This comes under Professional Indemnity and claims arising under this banner typically start in six figures.


#101 oakleaves

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 11:33 AM

No offence nfc212, but from reading your posts it seems a lot of your business ideas and rationale has been formulated over the years based on things of a 'building' nature.

I'm not totally convinced that this is the best way to form such strong opinions on the web design and development industry.

Edited by oakleaves, 04 February 2012 - 11:33 AM.


#102 MikeChipshop

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 12:23 PM

If someone wants a 200 job they get a 200 job. If another wants a 1000 job they get a 1000 job. Simple as that.


Agreed. I do the same here. So long as you outline with the client where the savings are being made and what stages they can take in the future to rectify things if a. Budget becomes available, then theirs nothing wrong with this.


#103 nfc212

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 12:55 PM

Yet they could be doing perfect, but because they charge (likely) super low prices for great work (to make a name for themselves) they would struggle to make an actual profit from the job.


Exactly! Thank God somebody sees the point.

If you under price your work you will struggle to get your prices up to something sustainable in the future. This is one of the biggest causes of new businesses failing and in addition taking viable existing businesses with them.

It happens regularly, some twerp starts up thinks, "I'll do high quality work for next to nowt and gain loads of clients". So they do however they can't pay their bills and go bust or get disheartened by being trapped doing high quality work for tat work fees. Problem is they will take a lot of clients from existing businesses and send them to the wall before they go tits up. In this case you can end up with several businesses biting the dust.

No problem with doing work for lower rates or even for free. As long as it is for charitable or worthy organisations. Just ensure customers know and accept this or they'll all expect it.


#104 Renaissance-Design

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 12:58 PM

No problem with doing work for lower rates or even for free. As long as it is for charitable or worthy organisations. Just ensure customers know and accept this or they'll all expect it.


This. This is why I try to get the client's budget out of them, because once I know what they have to spend I can trim back services (never prices) to match.


#105 nfc212

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 01:36 PM

No offence nfc212, but from reading your posts it seems a lot of your business ideas and rationale has been formulated over the years based on things of a 'building' nature.

I'm not totally convinced that this is the best way to form such strong opinions on the web design and development industry.


I use building industry analogies as it is something almost everyone has some familiarity with. We all understand the basic principles of laying a brick, nailing bits of wood together, fitting a tap, and so on. Even if we are not pros most will have done a dab of DIY at some time and will certainly have friends in the industry who will talk about it.

My father ran his own decorating and building firm for over forty years from about 1947. He did very high quality work but never earned more than a living. However many of the cowboys and half baked clods he competed with earned a fortune and retired to villas in the sun whilst he passed out with a brain tumour whilst painting a flagpole at the Order of St. John headquarters in Lisvane. Died about 6 months later.

Every industry is essentially the same beneath the surface. Whilst web design is not subject to massive materials and labour overheads like some the basic underlying principles of commerce apply. The client will always try to get something for nothing. How many times on these type of forums do you hear designers saying, "They phoned up and want something they saw on another site now on top of what was agreed."

In my experience a client will fiddle something out of you for nothing or even avoid paying altogether if they possibly can. So show them no mercy from the outset. Tell them exactly what they can expect for their money and give them what they are willing to pay for. It is their error if does not do what they want, not yours.

If someone wants to cut an 8"x5" RSJ and buys a pair of tin snips not a disc cutter that is their fault. :)


#106 oakleaves

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 01:36 PM

At the end of the day I don't want to form a relationship with the customer, I want to form a relationship with their wallets.



Clients whether they make it onto the evolutionary scale or, like most, are whingeing, penny pinching sub-human vermin are the ones who have the brass to continue paying your bills.

Any means of prising open their wallets and parting them as painlessly and quickly from its contents are valid and should be employed without qualm.

The trick is getting the client to think that what you give them is what they wanted in the first place.



If they want pay tat prices, give them tat.

Pile it high, sell it cheap. God, that Gerald Ratner was a man before his time.



When it comes to business and money you can't trust anyone.



Do no more than you have to to meet the clients requirements.




How you have got some many plus 1's on this thread staggers me. I pity your customers and I feel sad for you and your miserable outlook on life and work.

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#107 nfc212

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 01:41 PM

In my experience a client will fiddle something out of you for nothing or even avoid paying altogether if they possibly can.


I've even had a few who have awarded themselves a 10% "prompt payment discount" for paying within 30 days. :)


#108 oakleaves

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 01:49 PM

In my experience a client will fiddle something out of you for nothing or even avoid paying altogether if they possibly can. So show them no mercy from the outset. Tell them exactly what they can expect for their money and give them what they are willing to pay for. It is their error if does not do what they want, not yours.


Yes, I have also experienced this, but I do not tar all clients with the same brush.

But that is a good point about making it clear what people can expect from the outset and is something I am also very strict about these days from having fingers burnt at the beginning.

What I refuse to do though is allow some early bad client experiences turn me into a miserable old sod with a bad attitude towards my clients (although according to the missis I have my moments!! :) )


#109 nfc212

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 02:01 PM

How you have got some many plus 1's on this thread staggers me. I pity your customers and I feel sad for you and your miserable outlook on life and work.


Yes, I'm afraid over the years I've become a cynical bastard.

I must admit that when I started I was full of noble principles. I would work around the clock often to give the customer what they wanted. I have had three holidays in over twenty years. After all this the customers still have no thanks or gratitude and eventually the warm fuzzy feeling of self satisfaction of knowing that the job wasn't just a "good 'un" but was a "really bloody good 'un" starts to wear off.

I've been fed every line in the book by them over the years. I've even had the buggers tell me they were trapped by storms on a North Sea oil rig just to try and put off paying up.

I now have customers paying me weekly because they can't afford to pay up the amount they agreed. This is a hideous way to do business. Money in dribs and drabs like that is essentially lost money. Cash has no value unless it is in a large lump.

You still need to pay your bills. What if you have paid out a wodge in cash or on your credit card for royalties on commercial images and then the client says "We can only pay you a tenner a week"? What do you do, sue them?

Word of mouth can work against you as much as for you. If it goes around that you are going to whip your clients into the small claims court at the drop of a hat don't expect the phone to start ringing much. It is only large businesses that can afford to alienate a few hundreds or even thousands of customers who can afford to do this, small businesses cannot.

Better not to enter into a venture in the first place with a client than to have it turn sour later on.


#110 oakleaves

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 02:05 PM

Better not to enter into a venture in the first place with a client than to have it turn sour later on.


Totally. That's something else I had to learn the hard way.


#111 Renaissance-Design

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 02:06 PM

Better not to enter into a venture in the first place with a client than to have it turn sour later on.


This. I've started vetting my clients very carefully. Eventually I aim to get to the point where I can pick and choose which projects to take on (based on how much I like the client and how interesting the project looks). I'm very keen on only working with clients who've done their looking around and want to work with me specifically rather than those who fire off the same RFP to every designer they can find.


#112 nfc212

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 02:24 PM

This. This is why I try to get the client's budget out of them, because once I know what they have to spend I can trim back services (never prices) to match.


Precisely, you get what you are willing to pay for in life. If they are only willing to pay for cheap then they get cheap. To do otherwise would be unfair on the clients willing to pay a reasonable price.

As I said, if someone wants to pay tat prices they will get a tat job. That is not cheating in any way, shape or form. It is basic economics and commerce.


#113 nfc212

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 02:26 PM

This. I've started vetting my clients very carefully.


I'd like to "vet" a few of mine, and I wouldn't care about carefully.

Snippy, snippy. Oh bugger it, pass those bricks. :)


#114 Glowbridge

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 02:32 PM

A desire to vette clients for good ones and fear of bad PR from ****ty clients is contradictory though, is it not?

If someone chooses not to work with you because you exercise your rights and sue the people who don't honour their contracts they are a ****ty client who's just doing your vetting for you.

This is where I disagree with the 'keep client happy/customer always right mentality'. It can lead to becoming some assholes whipping bitch when you never actually done anything wrong. You don't get anywhere being pushed around


#115 oakleaves

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 02:45 PM

I'd like to "vet" a few of mine, and I wouldn't care about carefully.

Snippy, snippy. Oh bugger it, pass those bricks. :)


lol


#116 nfc212

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 02:50 PM

A desire to vette clients for good ones and fear of bad PR from ****ty clients is contradictory though, is it not?

If someone chooses not to work with you because you exercise your rights and sue the people who don't honour their contracts they are a ****ty client who's just doing your vetting for you.

This is where I disagree with the 'keep client happy/customer always right mentality'. It can lead to becoming some assholes whipping bitch when you never actually done anything wrong. You don't get anywhere being pushed around


Quite, and this is why you do what you are paid to do and nothing more. If not they will all expect premium jobs at bargain basement prices.

You need to be very careful of dealings with customers. I get regular calls from organisations that download the bad debtors lists that the finance companies make available and which they use to compile a database of potentially high risk clients.

I think it better to avoid the risk of having to go into court at the outset. If I have a feeling that a client could be a problem I get rid of them as tactfully as possible or I ask for payment up front. Even a ridiculous price I know nobody would pay. If they still say yes to that I know they have no intention of paying anyway.

Either that or they are what I've always dreamed of, a crazed millionaire with more money than sense. :)

You also need to watch out for professional litigators. They contract small businesses to do something fully intending to sue and plump for an out of court settlement from your insurance company. These can be much harder to spot. Thankfully still fairly rare but as the depression deepens they could begin to increase.

At the end of the day every business will have a client with which relations turn sour, it is unavoidable I'm afraid.

Edited by nfc212, 04 February 2012 - 02:52 PM.


#117 Glowbridge

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 03:08 PM

Quite, and this is why you do what you are paid to do and nothing more. If not they will all expect premium jobs at bargain basement prices.


See but what started this whole debate is that's not what you said to begin with. You said do what makes the client happy and nothing more.

Doing what makes the client happy != Doing what the price demands.

The client is quite literally the worst person to judge if you've done a respectable job for the money. By definition they are not the expert and they rely on your obligation to do the best that you can. Let's say a client has a 1000 budget but terrible taste. You deliver a site that is really only worth 500 but the client is happy with it, they think it's worth the money and they pay. Is that fair? Is it fair to use a clients ignorance like that?

I think the same applies to a client who wants a 200 bells and whistles eCommerce site. I consider it my duty to educate them that it's not a viable option, 200 doesn't buy you an eCommerce site. Not just to take the money, do 200 worth of work and dash.

As designers we fight constantly to have our work and time valued. The whole No-Spec movement is centered around combating the idea any chump can push buttons. Promoting the idea it's a real profession that takes skill and we should be listened to on the subject. This thread was started because BrightonMike feels too many people view it as an easy option and yet here we are, IN the very same thread, advocating that when we do actually get presented with a situation where we can explain our industry, stand up for our cause and justify our costs we just take the quick money and perpetuate the ignorance? I can't accept that.


#118 nfc212

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 03:21 PM

See but what started this whole debate is that's not what you said to begin with. You said do what makes the client happy and nothing more.

Doing what makes the client happy != Doing what the price demands.

The client is quite literally the worst person to judge if you've done a respectable job for the money. By definition they are not the expert and they rely on your obligation to do the best that you can. Let's say a client has a 1000 budget but terrible taste. You deliver a site that is really only worth 500 but the client is happy with it, they think it's worth the money and they pay. Is that fair? Is it fair to use a clients ignorance like that?

I think the same applies to a client who wants a 200 bells and whistles eCommerce site. I consider it my duty to educate them that it's not a viable option, 200 doesn't buy you an eCommerce site. Not just to take the money, do 200 worth of work and dash.

As designers we fight constantly to have our work and time valued. The whole No-Spec movement is centered around combating the idea any chump can push buttons. Promoting the idea it's a real profession that takes skill and we should be listened to on the subject. This thread was started because BrightonMike feels too many people view it as an easy option and yet here we are, IN the very same thread, advocating that when we do actually get presented with a situation where we can explain our industry, stand up for our cause and justify our costs we just take the quick money and perpetuate the ignorance? I can't accept that.


In one of the posts at least I did say that it should be pointed out that a cheap site may not do what they want. However if they insist then go ahead and give them what they asked for and are willing to pay for. It is their choice, not yours. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and more importantly you shouldn't try to. It is a slap in the mush for the customers who heed your advice and pay the going rate to have it done properly in the first place.

There is no need to dash anywhere. Just wait patiently until they come back and pay the extra to do it properly.

Customer satisfaction = Giving the customer what they asked for, within the price that they agreed to, within an acceptable completion scale.


#119 Glowbridge

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 04:27 PM

Customer satisfaction = Giving the customer what they asked for, within the price that they agreed to, within an acceptable completion scale.


I maintain that only works in commodity or service industries. If the client has no idea what the hell they are talking about then their judgement of what the correct final outcome is, is meaningless.

I'll try and pin down where it is we disagree. I think you view the payment as payment for the completed website, a set of ticked boxes. I do not. Payment is for your time, it's to retain your ability/knowledge/experience for -X- amount of hours and use it towards a beneficial outcome. You don't get paid because the client saw a slider and wanted one, you get paid to educate them on why that is a good or bad idea and to do what is best for them based on your judgement. You get paid to make informed decisions on their behalf and I think when you accept these insisting lowball clients who don't give a damn about any of that and just want a job done you devalue your own expertise. You are essentially sending the message that your input is optional, which is absurd when you are the sole hired in expert.

I think we quite easily equate to lawyers. You don't really pay a lawyer to win a specific outcome for you. You don't walk in with 500 and say I'll pay you this if you get me off this murder charge in this way. It's not a traditional customer/business relationship. You go in saying "I want this situation to be better for me, you know how to make that happen.. how much?". Even though you are giving them money they are the ones with the power in this negotiation, they are the ones who have what you need.

Of course there are economic matters at play. Of course you need to position yourself competitively and attractively and pay the bills but I think it's very dangerous to start switching power to the clients and treating what we do like mindless grunt work.


#120 nfc212

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 04:38 PM

I must admit I played Devil's Advocate a little here. :)

However it certainly got the thread rolling and these forums have been somewhat dead over the last few weeks.

I think a little heat in the debate keeps it running and extracts some more salient points from contributors than would otherwise be posted.

I could use a little heat around here at the moment. These bloody principles I'm standing on are doing bugger all to keep my feet warm on this not fit for purpose laminate flooring.





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