7 Great Rip-offs—and How to Avoid Them!

Notice: This is a discussion thread for comments about the SitePoint article, 7 Great Rip-offs—and How to Avoid Them!.


I have completely stopped doing custom sites simply because the work/reward ratio simply is not worth it. Instead, I have switched to a services model for my business and only provide turnkey systems that I have already developed. This way I can sell my completed ‘product’ to the client and they take it as is or they simply don’t sign up at all.

I have found that chasing after people in an effort to do custom work for each one is entirely a waste of time. The way my business model works now is that I spend zero time waiting on approvals for my work which affords me the ability to stay focused on improving my core product.

I lease access to my system for a fixed amount per year and get renewals from it every year. My renewal rate is better than 90% and I am adding clients constantly. So far this year I have added over 100 new clients and business is booming. Most of the 10% that fail to renew are largely as a result of the bad economy causing them to go out of business. Hey, times are hard.

One thing I am also able to do is to offer a great rate for my service that custom builders simply cannot touch for the simple reason that my product is already developed. This also affords me the ability to demo what I have to prospects because it already exists and they aren’t taking the chance that I may or may not be able to deliver what I promise.

Also, I have developed my service in such a way that I can load up a back end utility that only I have access to and deploy an entire site in less than two minutes. This includes everything from cgi access to email accounts. Everything is automated, even the help and support systems that the customer has access to. If they need something like an SSL certificate, I buy them in bulk and it takes less than five minutes to get that deployed.

This allows me to take the risk of deploying a site prior to getting paid because I have so little time invested in getting a new client setup. Also, the client loves the fact that I can get them up and running literally the same day (sometimes in real time while I am at their place of business) instead of weeks or months, which is typical for custom work. They also are inspired to sign up with me because I don’t demand any money up front and can try it out before they buy. I even offer a 30 day money back guarantee in the event that it doesn’s work out for them. So far I have never had anyone ask for their money back and I always get paid in short order.

I know that this approach is not for everyone but, all in all, I can say that I am much happier with my current business model vs having to go through all the headaches that come with doing custom site work.

I totally agree. I’ve so fallen on this point. Its the end of the year and i still have debtors!
Nice 1!

Zainab

I have one project in particular that is in limbo…and so of course I haven’t received the final 1/3.

The client isn’t malicious or anything. Their priorities have just shifted. So I definitely agree with different pay structures being a good idea.

As a developer, in my own experience anyway, it often makes sense to explain to clients why the above system fails both parties.

I request weekly payments and provide deliverables upon payment. Paying weekly allows me to stay motivated, while forcing me to keep clients in the loop. No communication, no development, no money.

Besides, if they are not satisified with my progress after a period of 2 weeks they can easily let me go and find someone else.

Using a Gantt chart and other communication tools or technologies assist clients in more effectively controlling what features are addressed in order of priority. Also giving them the ability to defer development of lower priority features.

Asking for a large sum upfront is risky for the client and developer, and expecting a equally large lump sum after 4-5 weeks of work without pay often results in programmer fatigue and frustration.

Weekly payments are best but it only works if you are diligent about communication and articulating where, when and why development is where it is, at any given time.

Cheers,
Alex

An entire site in less than 2 minutes???
That doesn’t even allow enough time for them to tell you their page names or to use a photo of the owner or business.
I mean, what kind of site it it then?

What has happened with older critical posts about this article?
Have they been censored by somebody? Or was it data crash at SitePoint?