When to sack a web development client
Oo what a juicy subject. Sacking clients. Yes you heard me right.
There are plenty of warning signs when it comes to new clients or old clients that you really shouldn’t be working with anymore.
Some phrases to look out for when dealing with new potential clients…
- "So I’ve got this great idea, it’s a sure thing. I’m willing to give you 10% of my business if you build my website for me…"
- "Ok let’s use a theme to keep design costs down. Let me have a think about it though, because $50 is a lot of money…"
- "I’m not asking you to build my website in exchange for equity in my company… but if we could get to a stage where we have the website ready, without any associated costs, and you come on board as a partner in the business, then that would definitely suit me…"
- "I can employ a web design guy to work at my office for £10 an hour and have him working for me full-time. You seem a bit overpriced, especially as I won’t have you working in my office"
- "If you do this project on the cheap, I’ll guarantee to come back with loads more work. I have loads of websites I want to build"
This last one always gets me! I’m tempted to retort: “Do you think I’m stupid? Have you any idea how many times I have heard that line? In fact, thanks to your insult, my prices to you just went up 50%.”
Fortunately I’m hearing less of these nowadays because I’m working with a lot of wonderful clients and I tend to attract fewer of the time wasters (I must be doing something right).
My general advice when you hear these kind of phrases: nod, smile, and back away with caution. Chances are they wouldn’t end up working with you anyway as they are probably time wasters. Not always, but most of the time.
So what about those clients you’ve worked with for a long time, you have some kind of loyalty towards them, but when you think about it, you don’t actually know why. Some warning signs that these clients may be dragging you down:
- "So I got your invoice for web hosting again this year. I really don’t think we need this. What does it mean anyway?"
- They send you 20 separate emails in a day with contradictory revisions to their website and expect them all to be done free of charge.
- "Cheque is in the post" (they say for the fourth time)
- "Yes I know your timesheet indicates you have used up 90% of the project budget which I’ve now cancelled, but I’ve looked at the work done so far and that can’t be right so I’m going to pay you 50% instead"
And why is it that we sometimes give the best rates to our worst clients? I’ve certainly learned lots of lessons in this area. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for “mates rates” when appropriate, but don’t get sucked into offering these rates to the idiots who purely want to abuse and take advantage of your business… and who clearly are not your “mates”. It’s often the clients who pay the higher rates who are the best clients to work with. They typically understand the value of the work you’re doing. Once you really tune into this fact and learn how to identify these types of clients, you can cultivate your relationship with them, and simply sack the rest! (Ok, perhaps a little drastic, but you get the point I hope)
To sign off this post, I’d really like to say a big THANK YOU to all you clients who make web development a joy. You understand our expertise, you respect us as suppliers, you pay on time. I salute you.