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  1. #1
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    Do you choose your clients?

    I'll like to know if people in the web design business...do you pick and choose your clients? Or do everything that comes your way? Do you accept jobs that pays below the market rate and demand a lot out of you?

    Just curious to know how all of you handle your business.
    http://winnielim.com- Portfolio site

  2. #2
    I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaack! Fluffykins's Avatar
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    Ah how i'd like to pick and choose my clients

    Really though, to be order to pick and choose which jobs you take you must be a very successful and in demand designer. Currently I take pretty much anything that comes my way. Alongside web design I also do database development, training and consultancy work so there's often several things on the go at once.

    I tend to take any and all web design projects that come along, because really there aren't as many as I'd like and I want to build up a half-decent portfolio. I've been known to turn down one or two though, for example a guy who was building a site for someone and wanted a pretty complex PHP back-end building. Now i'd outsource the building of the back-end as well, so it wasn't really commercially viable for me to re-outsource the project.

    With regards to training and database design I also take most of them but still turn a few down so i'm not using more time than I have. If it comes to choosing between two or more when i've only really the time and resources for one, I'll definately go for the better paid one. Training especially is awkward because there's only one of me so it's very 'first come first served'. So, if i've committed to teaching Excel on a Wednesday afternoon for 6 weeks and a higher paid Access course comes along on the Wednesday afternoon it's tough

    It's better to say no outright than take a job then cancel it as a better one comes along. That's a sure-fire way to damage customer relations and can give your business a bad reputation.

    Lastly, I've been known to accept jobs that pay below the market rate on occasion. Really because at least that way you're working on *something* so you've some income on the way, that's better than sitting around waiting for something higher paid to come along.

    Hope that's of some use.

    Ady
    v-technologies - Freelance Goodness.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
    beley's Avatar
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    I am a full-time designer, and turn down (or decide not to accept) many possible clients. I have been in design for over 6 years professionally, and have owned my own design firm... although I am working as a consultant and designer for a firm right now.

    We don't turn possible clients down to be snotty... but if they can't afford our rates, we usually don't budge. Our prices are very fair, and far below market average. I'm not a genius, and neither are any of my co-workers - but on some things you have to have a backbone. We have also, on occassion, turned down a client because of their reputation for being very hard to deal with. In a service oriented business this can cause major problems.

    On average, we turn down maybe 5% of our possible clients, and actually sell another 40-50% of possible clients - the others just aren't ready to make a decision or don't want what we have to offer.

    The main thing is this... although you may need the money, if you extend yourself for a very low rate and commit yourself to a project - and then have an opportunity come your way... you're out of the money. AND, you get a reputation for dropping your prices to make a sale. This can cause a lot of people to try and haggle you down on your prices, until no one pays full-price.

  4. #4
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    I agree with you beley...I used to have this idea that I should accept anything since I'm just starting out. Yet some time later I realised I'm running a one-man show here, if I accepted an assignment that requires a lot of time outta me but pays peanuts, I won't be able to accept another assignment that has better prospects.

    I guess it's an issue of "you pay for what you get". If clients are not willing to pay, I guess the best is to stand firm and wait for better offers. That is the case for me now. I rather work on non-profit sites for free than work on something that is not worth my time.
    http://winnielim.com- Portfolio site

  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict SLeon's Avatar
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    Another *great* reason to not accept some certain clients is when what they want to do with their website is something of which you are not technically capable and which you do not want to learn. For example, the client wants an all-Flash site and you don't do that. Now, there is an education process that has to go on with clients, so that the appropriate technologies are chosen according to what is actually needed rather than on perceptions of what's "cool"--but there will just be certain clients who insist on a particular technology or way of doing things that you don't want to get into. If you accept the job, you will probably not be able to give the client the desired results--so it's better not to accept.

    I also will not accept clients who are not committed to the end result. You'd think if they're paying money, then they'd be committed and do their end of getting things done, but that's not always the case. Basically, it's a waste of my time and their money if they are uncommitted, and it will lead to disappointment.

    Personally, there are certain types of businesses that I will not do a website for, such as pornography, gambling, alcohol, illegal stuff, etc.

    I agree about the whole pricing thing. I also strongly believe that underpricing will attract only clients who actually don't want to pay for anything and will try to mess with you about money and time and results. This also goes along with the commitment thing: if they are not paying full-price for their site, they are more likely to not be committed to getting the end result.
    InformationSavant - developing intelligent web business
    StrangePegs.com - collectible cards, games, toys, comics

  6. #6
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    I will take just about anyone who comes my way, because I market to a specific group. That doesn't mean clients coming to me outside of that group will be turned down, but most of my clients come from the marketed-to group. I, like Sarah, have certain moral standards that I willh old to and will base contracts on. See my legal page at http://www.livingpages.net for specifics. Haven't had too many problems. When a job requires skills I don't have, outsourcing is the key. M<y motto is "Yeah, we can do that!" So I will accept 99% of all contracts coming to me, assuming tey want to accept me.

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    Aaron Brazell
    Technosailor



  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard holmescreek's Avatar
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    When I started my business I did do a lot more work for a lower price than I do now. By picking and choosing the clients I feel are comfortable to work with I have less to worry about them becoming a hassle later.

    For example, I don't consider myself snooty, but if I take my time to meet with a client to help solve their problems and they insist on putting me on hold to have a conversation with someone else -- well, I just tell them good day. I think of it like the John Wayne approach, up front, to the point, honest and courteous, but if they can't show the same respect then I don't need their business -- (and I don't hesistate to let them know it either).

    I've done business for a long time now. I don't want to yank my own chain, but by being honest, selecting clients that I am comfortable around, and providing the best possible work I can achieve has earned me an excellent history of customer satisfaction. I also have a policy of only working on 1 site at the time this way I can focus my personal attention onto that client. In the end all of my clients have really became good friends -- that is a biggie for future business.

    Again, I'm not trying to put myself on a pedastal here, but by sticking with the standards and morals that I have mentioned, the last 10 clients have paid me 100% up front to build a website even though I have a no-preview policy until the site is finished. On the plus side, when I started I averaged about $1500 per month per website. Now I average $8k-$20K per month for 1-2 websites depending on the content.

    Maybe this doesn't answer your questions directly, but I figure I would just share my experiences and maybe they could be of some inspiration.

    -----
    One last note to throw in here -- if you quote a customer a price don't back down. I deal with very high end clients and from experience I know that backing down on a price can throw the "I'm insecure" flag up real quick. Remember, you are there to solve their problems with as little intervention on their part as possible, not beg for a job --
    Last edited by holmescreek; Jun 28, 2001 at 13:06.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Member Honu's Avatar
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    Aloha
    pick and choose all along the lines of what others have said
    this way I do not get stuck with someone I do not feel I can handle or that can not afford me so it works both ways I am rethinking my biz again and may get out of small sites and stick with large ones that need constant work so monthly income is at least $300-500 per client min continuous
    that way I have a somewhat steady income I will keep the ones I have and still work private consulting jobs
    Aloha, Chad
    www.happyfish.com
    To do a move in such a way that no one suspects let alone detects !!!

  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot honging's Avatar
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    I think it's a great cycle that webdesigners have.

    In the beginning, you take almost any job you can get at whatever price. Sure, you're stretched thin, but you're trying to build a portfolio. Then, as your portfolio grows, you can start to demand a little bit more money. Then you can start to be very picky and select only the clients you're interested in. If you become very good, you can get very well-paid and select your clients (I know someone like this and I'm very jealous...).

    And like someone said earlier, I don't pick up certain jobs for moral reasons, and I sure don't work with clients who have no respect for me.

    However, if you're a kid, I suggest you build your own content site. Do the whole thing... design, marketing, php/mysql back-end. You're allowed a freedom to explore new design styles (this is the route I took; I started off building my own content sites and then I moved into webdesign). It helps to explore new styles; something that sometimes I cannot do with clients.

  10. #10
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    Hmm,
    I've been freelancing full time for about 2 months, it's a very short time, and I've been tempted to take anything that comes in my way.

    However, as time goes along, i realised how important is it to maintain my own integrity in my work. There is absolutely no point undercutting myself, and will also be very unfair to my fellow professionals, to "spoil the market" by quoting ridiculously low prices.

    I believe my work is of a certain quality and it is worth a certain amount of money.

    It's important to believe in yourself and the work that you do, I guess. Ultimately I will lose out if I take every single project that comes my way.

    And, also, I cannot tolerate clients that do not give respect to me or my work. Some even asked me if my site was done by myself. I really don't know how I should answer them. I personally feel I really shouldn't deal with people who have no respect for others.

    =) - my two cents worth.
    http://winnielim.com- Portfolio site

  11. #11
    SitePoint Member Honu's Avatar
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    Aloha,
    well when I first started this 5 years ago we built a few sites for the fun of it
    a recipe site http://happyfish.com/palate/
    exactly ho wwe first did it
    actually it is still pretty cool in a way and did our own site
    then went out and got a few small compoanies one we still have the original look up which we are going to change for them (for free just because it is a small site and they were our first cutomer)
    then we did a few non profit org sites
    one we did which has long past changed was the world trade center for Washington state
    so my advice to those starting out is try to do a few freebies first to get your toes wet adn go form there

    as far as other clients I have found that cheap people are the worst to deal with they are always picking and never happy and alwasy say crap like OH well I can have my kid do it
    at that point I just say sure go ahead
    (I know everybody is somebodys kid just an analogy)
    Aloha, Chad
    www.happyfish.com
    To do a move in such a way that no one suspects let alone detects !!!

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard holmescreek's Avatar
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    Another very good start is your local Chamber of Commerce. They can really help put the word out about what you do. Maybe do a discounted site for them -- you'll get lots more work in return if they like it.

  13. #13
    Xbox why have you forsaken me? moospot's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Great thread guys. I can personlly say that I have learned alot by reading. Thanks!!!


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