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  1. #1
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    Convincing client not to use low priced designers

    I have a little problem where a client I'm designing for has more work to be done but is considering hiring someone in India since the prices over there are so low. Is there anything I can say to change his mind?

  2. #2
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Let them try it and see how it goes. If it doesn't go well, it'll make you look good. If it does go well, there's nothing you could have said and if you'd told them not to do it you would have been wrong.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

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  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    You can try to talk about issues beyond price.

    - convenience: if he needs to contact his developer quickly, someone in the same time zone is preferable. Plus there's no chance of a face-to-face.

    - legal issues: he'll have little recourse if there are any legal issues.

    - confidence: how confident is he working with someone thousands of miles away? Can their references be trusted.

    Personally, if anyone, especially an existing client suggested he was dropping me for a cheaper option, I wouldn't bother trying to convince him otherwise, I'd just say 'Best of luck with that - feel free to give me a ring if you ever want to discuss working together again'. If I get that call, they'll find my prices were even higher than before

  4. #4
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
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    You get what you pay for.

    RJ

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    Your job as a quality designer is to sell value through your experience, expertise and understanding of their unique business needs. If your client doesn't see the value in your services you can certainly try countering with comments about your results, the convenience of using a local service, the historical relationship and the fact that anyone new is going to have to ramp up and learn about their industry. However, at the end of the day people who want to outsource to save "big bucks" often do, and they often come crawling right back once they discover that while the designer is cheaper, they are also building entirely based on request without any understanding of the market, the culture or the creative element.

    My suggestion to you would be to find a few minutes to speak with the client and ask them why they are outsourcing. Are they not seeing enough return from their website to afford your prices and if so, what do they expect the outsourced agency to provide? Are they aware of the potential communication, cultural and marketing barriers that may exist? Have they considered the cost of assigning a resource to manage their project when they have not had to in the past? If they feel comfortable with all these decisions you can either let them go or offer to provide outside consulting to assist as the project unfolds which helps keep you top of mind.
    - Ted S

  6. #6
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    Exactly what shadowbox said I wouldn't even try. Maybe it works out fine for them but you don't need to be nickle dimed to death its just a sign of things to come. If you do it right and they get burnt not only will they come back to you but you have made yourself look good.

  7. #7
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    There is a downside in attempting to educate the client.

    It makes you sound whiny and desparate.

    Just wish them the best of luck and remind them that your door is open.

    If the new people contact you for information, refer all inquiries back to the client.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    There are a few things you will never be able to do with clients, and changing their perception of value is one of them. They either value your services (for the rates you charge) or they don't. If they don't feel you are worth what you charge, they shop around. Often they'll ask you to change your rates, or ask you about outsourcing or going with another firm to try to get you to convince them. You can't.

    The perception of value is already in their heads -- you can't change it. You might convince them to give you the work, but that would actually be the worst thing you could do. Then you'll be hard pressed to make the client happy because they already don't think your work is worth the price.

    We don't try to educate clients on our worth. We know a lot about what we do, and are experienced in our field. You wouldn't ask your lawyer to convince you to use him, or convince you that he's worth his rate. He knows he's worth it.

    I've seen firms go so far as to fire a client on the instant that they quibble about the rate or insinuate that the firm is not worth their fee. I can definitely see their logic - who would want to be working for a client who doesn't think they provide an invaluable service to their company?

    I'm not out to be a commodity business -- to just make billable hours. Then you're competing with people all over the world, and you just can't compete with $7/hour in Singapore. I'm out to be a partner, to be that member of their team that they rely on for critical business decisions -- like you would with your attorney or accountant.

    You wouldn't outsource your legal advice to a firm in India, would you? Probably not -- you value their expertise far too much. They're too valuable to you -- in one hour they could possibly save you or make you much more money than their hourly rate (though it may seem high) just because of their knowledge.

    That's what we try to be with our clients, not just another firm doing a brochure here, website there for the billables.

  9. #9
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    I would reiterate most of the the advice given so far.

    I've been in this position. A client one morning sent an email telling me they had found a cheaper option and they wanted me to provide all files to them and their new providers along with domain transfer and hosting transfer details. As a matter of courtesy I called them and asked why they had made the decision and if there was anything I could do to make them change their minds. It was obvious that their decision was based on cost and not value. I thanked them for their business and promised to provide all files and details in a prompt and efficient manner. I also, rather cheekily said that if things didnt work out that they should feel free to contact me again.

    As promised I provided files, transfered their domains, actually provided tech support to their new hosts. The transfer was completed in a few days with no fuss, no problems.

    I was actually secretly relieved to have off loaded them as they were a particularly difficult company to deal with and provided very little actual income.

    About 4 months later I get a phone call from one of their principles asking for my advice as they were having issues with their new providers. I sympathized with him for a few minutes then informed him my rates had changed. He didnt want to pay for my advice so we said goodbye. 1 month later they came back with the agreed doubling in my charges and they have become meek as mice now that they understand my value, not my cost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by default View Post
    I was actually secretly relieved to have off loaded them as they were a particularly difficult company to deal with and provided very little actual income.
    Yep. The cheapskate clients are always the difficult ones. They are the ones that send you 7 emails everyday with new inclusion and "just another small change", turning your 2 week project into a 6 week nightmare for a few hundred bucks. Let them go.

    A few months ago, I bumped up my prices quite dramatically and it never affected my workload. The only complaint came from above mentioned Mr Cheapskate and I've never heard from him since. Woohoo!

    Clients who are focused on cost are always trying to get more for less. If they don't value you why should you value them. Concentrate on keeping your quality clients and let the offshore devs have the nightmares.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Evangelist ramone_johnny's Avatar
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    In the short time that Ive been self employed as a freelance web designer Ive found it rather common to be subjected to the following comment...

    "We had this guy, he was a friend of Bill's who said he could do it cheap, but it's been 12 months now and nothing's happened..."

    Clients that are more focused on cost rather than value are time wasters and ones you want to avoid when possible.

    RJ

  12. #12
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by default View Post
    I would reiterate most of the the advice given so far.

    I've been in this position. A client one morning sent an email telling me they had found a cheaper option and they wanted me to provide all files to them and their new providers along with domain transfer and hosting transfer details. As a matter of courtesy I called them and asked why they had made the decision and if there was anything I could do to make them change their minds. It was obvious that their decision was based on cost and not value. I thanked them for their business and promised to provide all files and details in a prompt and efficient manner. I also, rather cheekily said that if things didnt work out that they should feel free to contact me again.

    As promised I provided files, transfered their domains, actually provided tech support to their new hosts. The transfer was completed in a few days with no fuss, no problems.

    I was actually secretly relieved to have off loaded them as they were a particularly difficult company to deal with and provided very little actual income.

    About 4 months later I get a phone call from one of their principles asking for my advice as they were having issues with their new providers. I sympathized with him for a few minutes then informed him my rates had changed. He didnt want to pay for my advice so we said goodbye. 1 month later they came back with the agreed doubling in my charges and they have become meek as mice now that they understand my value, not my cost.
    Excellent! That is the BEST case scenario! Congrats!
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  13. #13
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    Classic. They've learned their lesson now.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Guru marcel's Avatar
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    Offer to manage the outsourcing of their work. Since you know what's involved, it should make things easier on them.

  15. #15
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    I won't deny that sometimes you can find quality work from overseas. You definitely can. But far too often a client that doesn't know what they are doing gets themselves in trouble. Often outsourcing a lot more of the clients time too. I have clients that actually come to me wanting me to manage their outsourcing for them.

  16. #16
    Design and Promotion Crimson77's Avatar
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    I'd have to agree with a lot of the comments so far.

    If a client hasn't learnt the 'get what you pay for' lesson, then don't try a change their mind. Stay professional, don't get angry. They will learn the lesson eventually. But they'll most likely have to go through a bad experience before they do.

    Always leave the door open, but don't bend too far to the will of your clients or you will compromise your business.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard ryanhellyer's Avatar
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    I would take the focus of 'where' they are getting the work done and concentrate on how much they are paying for it. The internet is truly international and if someone in India is as good as you are, then the chances are they will be charging the same prices. If they are not as good as you, then chances are they will be charging less - which is they case at hand.

    Although I'd probably go down the same route as Default, particularly if you aren't desperate to keep your client.

  18. #18
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    My take on this is this:

    Low cost businesses don't survive for too long. There are less than a handful of low cost web design businesses in India that have survived for more than a couple of years. You are better off not to relent on your cost and focus more on improved services and importantly focus more on quality marketing material and branding.

    My take on freelance designers/developers in India:

    There are very few of them who can do quality work, communicate well and deliver work on time. If somebody is really good with their stuff, they usually get sucked into an easier and more comfortable life working for one of the big Indian IT companies or for the multinational companies. My conclusion is freelance Indian designers/developers will not be a threat to freelance designers in US/UK/Europe/Australia in the long term. (My qualification on being able to comment on this: I am originally from India and I have an offshore facility where 20 guys work for me there.)

    You have to be worried about bad people like me who exploit capitalism to the hilt though. What do you do with people like me who use good local project managers to front the business in London and then use the developers in India? hehehe :-)

  19. #19
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Quote Originally Posted by ramone_johnny View Post
    You get what you pay for.

    RJ
    Not that I encourage outsourcing but a lot of designers from India and other countries that offer a lower price are as good or if not better than designers in the US.

    The only disadvantage of outsourcing in my opinion
    - Taking jobs away from designers in the US that can't code or design at the prices of people not within the US.
    - Communication: not being able to communicate quickly or efficiently with the designer/programmer due to language or time zone.

    In the end the reason it's more expensive to get a quality designer in the US to do the work is because the price of living and its easier for the client.

  20. #20
    SitePoint Guru marcel's Avatar
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    We are all surfing the same internet. A freelancer in India is only cheaper because the cost of living is cheaper. So he reduces his prices to attract clients.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Wizard ryanhellyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by winstonveerender View Post
    You have to be worried about bad people like me who exploit capitalism to the hilt though. What do you do with people like me who use good local project managers to front the business in London and then use the developers in India? hehehe :-)
    I don't see any problem with that as long as the quality of work is good. Although, if a client asks if you are doing any outsourcing then you should be honest of course.


    Slighty off-topic: I normally steer people away from using USA based designers as they tend to make lots of errors which need fixed. Using USA English, USA style fonts etc. Not all do of course and it's not necessarily their fault as they don't realise they're doing anything wrong. I guess that's a risk you run with using off-shore designers from any country but your own.

  22. #22
    Floridiot joebert's Avatar
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    Alot of people seem to be pulling this stunt to get people to drop their prices lately.

    Tell them to make sure they let you know how it goes & end the conversation.

  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Kailash Badu's Avatar
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    I would agree with the fact that very few good developers/designers work freelance or in a small web development house. Most talented programmers tend to avoid risk/hassle associated with running their own freelance business and are instantly poached by big companies with hefty salaries.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Evangelist adesignrsa's Avatar
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    The comments about value, specifically default's have been very useful in this thread. I couldn't agree more. Next time I'm face with a price haggler, I'm going to use the value card.

    Some people never learn mind you... I fired a client within about a year and a half of business because they would always haggle for price, always paid late, and often tried to bring up the "we can get it cheaper" and "we're your best client" bull. Needless to say, they came back after experiencing some bad service from my "cheaper" competition, and I turned them away. Like I say, 1.5yrs bad experience, I'm better off without them and their piddly late payments

    The statement that people charging less are probably of a lesser quality sounds good, but I'm not sure we're that global yet. Maybe in the future, but if you can manage a project well enough and find a bunch of skilled overseas service providers, your overheads will be lower and quality the same.
    Ross Allchorn
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  25. #25
    SitePoint Wizard lorenw's Avatar
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    Yea, let them go and from my experience they will be back. I have gotten so many jobs from people who have outsourced to India. People look for "cheap" and when they find that the work done was even cheaper than what they paid for they will call you back.

    Say goodby with a smile and let them know that you will be there for any support they need.
    What I lack in acuracy I make up for in misteaks


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