Doug Cloud of Cloud
9 Web Design
was contacted by a man in England who wanted me to redesign
his company logo. He operates a hackney service (which in
American translates into "taxi" service). I talked with
him on the phone for our initial consultation, and this is where
I made my first mistake: I told him I was just starting out in
the Web design business. He seemed extremely friendly and was
not at all put off by this.
his website to examine his logo. It was in pretty sad shape, so
I made up a couple designs and put them on a review page for him
to see. He was pretty impressed and made some suggestions, so
I did more and put them up. We went back and forth like this for
about a week, which is a normal procedure in the Web design business.
sent me an email and asked me to give him an invoice "for
my time" spent so far. I was just starting out then and so
I wasn't sure what to charge him. I called a friend of mine here
in town who has his own computer business and asked him what I
should charge. He said to start low, at first, and then I could
always raise my prices after I got a few more regular clients
and a name for myself.
So I wrote
up the invoice for $400 - which was 40 hours work at $10 per hour
- and then I sent it to him.
I was amazed
by his response, which is as follows:
on, the invoice is far to expensive based on our locality and
exceeds the budget...come on please get real, you chose to spend
time on creating "originals" and not as we asked originally.
I expect a considerable reduction."
To say the
least, I was appalled. I had charged him less than he could have
gotten anywhere else and still he wasn't satisfied. I was even
more amazed that a business man would write such a childish response.
As for his "locality" - well, locality has nothing to
do with pricing for design work. And as to "choosing to spend
my time designing originals" - wasn't that why he came to
me in the first place?
was just starting out, I sent him a new invoice for $300. This
was my second mistake.
I have learned
since then that the worst thing any budding Web or graphic designer
can do is lower their initial asking price. Be confident of your
talent and charge accordingly!
best thing to do if your starting out a web design business
is to sit down and spend a lot of time deciding what you will
charge. Since my incident with the cheap client, I have reworked
my entire website strategy. I changed my services page, which
had listed each service with a set price. Now I have no prices
on my website at all (except for a mention that anything under
$5,000 we will require half upfront). I direct all visitors to
"contact me" for a free consultation, this way we can
talk and I can get an idea what they need, what their experience
level is, and how much they have budgeted aside for their particular
web design project.
a lot better than trying to decide what to charge on-the-fly.
It is good business sense to have a good business plan before
you actually set out to do business.
If I had known
all this beforehand, then I would have also known that this client
was simply trying to get work out of me as cheaply as possible.
were my first mistakes? Well, here they are:
tell a client "I'm new at this."
- Never lower
your initial asking price.
eventually demanded all my Photoshop layer files of the logo designs
and refused to pay me any more for them. I told him politely (for
it always has to be done "politely" - no matter how
you feel) that I could not release any more work for only $300,
which covered only my time, not the designs themselves.
legal action. Then he threatened to write up a inflammatory article
in my local paper about me and my company. Then he started leaving
slanderous messages in my website's guest book. Finally, he wrote
and told me that I was a "con man" and a "dog,"
and that I would reap a dog's reward.
only recourse through all of this was to do what the Lord had
taught me to do: Be still . . .
To each accusation,
I replied politely with silence. To each insult, I replied with
"I am sorry you feel this way." I had asked the Lord
to handle this man for me, to do His will in the matter.
I have not heard from the man since, and in turn I have learned
a very valuable lesson about doing business on the Internet.
smiles upon the good business man (and woman), one who shows wisdom
and uses common sense. There were many men and women in the bible
who showed these attributes when handling their business affairs.
Just because we are Christians doesn't mean we have to lay down
and take it. We can be firm and we can be fair. Don't be naive
or gullible - these are not traits from above.
the cheap client the way the Lord taught me, I for one can say
"Amen" to God's business plan.
by: Bill Willoughby of willoughbywebdesign.com
a similar vein, I have learned that the Christian business community
can be the worst to deal with.
The man from my church who started a Christian counseling
service and asked me to design a site for him. He promised to
pay me in two months. That was six months ago. He refuses to pay.
I began adding 1.5% late fee and he began spreading rumors about
The computer store owner who asked me to redesign her site.
She paid $250 up front. She had me redo the graphics four times.
She'd say they looked good and then would call back and say her
husband didn't like the colors; the picture was too small, etc.
When I gave her the bill for the balance due, she said that she
didn't owe it and the original $250 should cover everything. I
reminded her about all the times I had to redo the designs. She
told me I should have gotten it right the first time.
The pastor who had me do an extensive site for his church.
It ran to about 20 pages with frequent updates. When I was finished
and took him the bill, he said he had changed his mind about paying
me and I should just consider the site as my tithe to the church.
have I learned? Well, have the client sign a definitive contract
detailing the work and the cost. If its a church, at least
two people have to sign the contract; no more of this stuff behind
the pastors office door!
by: Doug Cloud of Cloud
9 Web Design
is sad, but it's also sadly true. These days some of the worst
people I've met happen to be (so-called) Christians.
I think what
the problem is can be summed up best by something Jesus taught
me when I first gave my life over to Him.
He said to
me, "Doug, you have to be honest."
I had to be
honest with myself before I could be honest with God or anyone
else. For over three quarters of my life I lived as a pagan. I
did what the world did. I had no qualms about how I acted or the
way I treated people. I was a terrible person, but then everyone
knew that except me.
thing I needed to do was to admit to myself that I was a horrible
person, like a person standing up at AA and admitting they're
After I did
that, then it was easy for Jesus to help me. How can He help someone
who doesn't even know that what they're doing is wrong?
The key for
us to remember is what Jesus said: "No one is good....no,
not one." We should always keep in mind "the human factor"
whenever dealing with others. People are full of flaws, and becoming
a Christian will sometimes go to a person's head and make them
an even bigger butthole than they were before.
I know. I
was one of those people.