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  1. #1
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    I am currently trying to kick off a new career as a freelance web designer, and I was wondering what form of contact do people have with their clients? I have been reading posts on this forum and it seems many of you meet and liase with your clients face-to-face. On the other hand I have been looking round and noticed many web design company sites that only seem to offer telephone, post, and email as forms of contact. Is it acceptable to to offer only the latter, or does it depend on what sort of fee you are going to charge a client?

  2. #2
    Misfit
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    Well, I'm a freelance web designer, and since most of my clients aren't local, I usually either talk with them on the phone, over email, or over ICQ (or any message program). If you can afford to meet with your clients face-to-face, then that would probably be best, since you can find out exactly what they want.

  3. #3
    The Hiding One lynlimz's Avatar
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    I conduct many projects online. And since most are overseas, I never had face-to-face contact.

    Now thats when trust comes in. =)
    its all up to you.
    Maybe let others elborate.

    In my point of view, this contact is vital to you suceeding in your career.

    Do what you feel is required, for that is what you're best at.
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
    -- Albert Einstein

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the answers. I have figured that keeping most contact to paper/email is best because I will allways have a record of everything I've discussed with clients, so less trouble hopefully. Apart from that it's nice having a job in the comfort of your own home so that's a major bonus.

  5. #5
    The Hiding One lynlimz's Avatar
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    Definitely. And the freedom to conduct your work.
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
    -- Albert Einstein

  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot Wilmot's Avatar
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    While electronic contact means may be all that is possible with overseas clients or those a long way from you, if you do live in the area of a client I would try to meet up with them. This would most likely be used in addition to electronic contact with them.

    You don't necessarily need to have an office set up for client contact, you could just as easily meet them at a local Cofee shop or Restauraunt.

    This kind of contact would be especially helpful in the initial stages of client contact to work out exactly what they need. It may also save a lot of time which would have been spent waiting for responses to emails etc.
    Brad Culbert
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    www.SQLServer2005Books.com - Reader-rated SQL Server 2005 Books

  7. #7
    The Hiding One lynlimz's Avatar
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    I personally agree with what wilmot has said.
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
    -- Albert Einstein

  8. #8
    Bimbo With A Brain! silver trophy Saz's Avatar
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    I'd have to go along with Wilmot here too!

    I'm also just in the process of setting up a little web design business and for the most part intend to keep it 'local', meaning that I will be able to meet with potential clients face to face - for which, I rather like the idea of meeting in a coffee shop! Mmmmmmm....the smell of fresh coffee!!!


    Saz

    The Postfive Website
    Postfive Publishing

  9. #9
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    I agree that if you live in the area you should meet! I too do work for cleints oeverseas but it is a lot easier to understand what your clients' needs and wants are if you meet up with them.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Zealot Grandmaster's Avatar
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    Phone is the best choice if you cant contact them person to person. If your design business is really good, invest ina 1800 number, thay way the client doesnt have to pay for calling. (Well i guess you could call the cleint)
    Ken Prescott - 21Studios freelancing design
    Graphic-Forums - The Forums for the Graphic User

  11. #11
    I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaack! Fluffykins's Avatar
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    I make a point of visiting clients on their premises to discuss what they need, at least as an initial meeting. It's better if they can put a face to the name I think, and it helps a lot because you can sit down with them and talk to them about what they want.

    After that I use the telephone to ring them with queries etc, and send them reports on my progress every few weeks in e-mail or hard-copy format. I find it easier to update them this way, as I've got time to gather my thoughts and it makes sure I don't miss anything.

    One important thing is to make sure you're available, either by phone or by e-mail to answer their queries and requests as often as possible. Very important when you're considering customer service.

    Ady
    v-technologies - Freelance Goodness.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard TWTCommish's Avatar
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    Lately I've made a point to talk by phone if the client specifically requests it. I understand that some need to hear my voice to take me seriously and trust me with the project, so I certainly won't deny them that.

    Face to face is best, but the telephone is fairly reliable as well, I'd say. Talking to someone on the phone, in my opinion, severely cuts down on the possibility that they're going to scam you - that goes for the client, AND the freelancer.

  13. #13
    imagine no limitations exbabylon's Avatar
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    I try to meet a client, usually in their place of business, or their favorite restaurant, preferably in a comfrence room (if the restaurant has one).

    It's awfully hard when doing in deth, large company sites to just communicate via electronics. Including the telephone. I can do that if needed, and have, but darn is it hard! I will also fly out to meet a client, it's not that far to say, Boise from where I live, and a flight will only be around 150 (commuters). It's not like I do this regularly, but if someone wants a site, the odds are they will be willing to pay a little extra if you're willing to go the extra mile to meet with them.

    It also helps to actually see the product that you're selling for them! And when you go to meet them, make sure that you bring along a digital camera, and a notebook (non-spiral for legal issues). Also, a cheat-cheat is not a bad idea. Printed ideas and a "outline" of the questions to ask, and when to ask. This helps to build up the information that you need, one piece at a time, not leave anything out, and not lose your train of thought if the customer gets off track.
    Blamestorming: Sitting around in a group discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who was responsible.

    Exbabylon- Professional Internet Services

  14. #14
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    Seeing as I'm only planning to build small web sites for small companies at low cost, I think I can probably get away without face-to-face contact for now, but maybe this is something I should do in the future when I am more experienced and start charging higher rates.

    Take a look at this site, very impressive designs and no face-to-face contact as an option: http://www.metazone.co.uk

  15. #15
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    I did a job for a local company, and kept in phone and email contact. I visited in person at the end of the process for installation and to train the operators in usage. I also visited in person when ongoing support was need.

    I also did a job for an overseas client in which I kept in email contact. My opinion is that when you are working for a client and your only communication is by email, you have to check your email constantly and always reply within the hour (even within minutes, maybe). The theory is that you should be working for them during this stage, and therefore should be available for contact.

    If there is a difference in time zone, it adds inconvenient delays to both sides of the communication. Still, try to keep the client as up to date as possible.

    My ideas won't be as valid as a professional's, since I do not do this for a living. I have done a couple of jobs only.


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