Web developer life: the things clients say
Every web developer is unique and how you live the web agency life will be particular to you.
However, you’ll always have one thing in common with other developers – that’s the client.
The client is the bringer of last-minute requests. They are the ones who sign off on a project only to decide you need to start again.
Yet they are also the ones who support and fund your business aspirations.
It’s as though the adage ‘you can’t live with them, you can’t live without them’ was written about web design and development clients.
With this in mind, we’ve rounded up some classic client one-liners and coupled them with some pro tips to help you manage them and your business.
The client needs a ‘favour’
Has a client ever asked you to provide a ‘ballpark figure’ for a ‘quick job’?
If you answered ‘yes’, then you already know there are no ‘quick jobs’ in the trade.
From speccing out a project and pricing, to building a brief and implementing it, to client management and all the resultant admin, the notion of a ‘quick job’ is a misnomer.
Pro web tip: Like you, the client is a business person. As such, they are entitled to negotiate.
Remember, though, you are also entitled to not be pressured into conjuring up a price you’re uncomfortable with.
You could therefore respond by asking them what their budget is.
Another approach to consider would be to build a proposal with each deliverable fleshed out and priced as a unit.
If the client is unable to meet your pricing expectations, then rather than negotiating on money, you could consider reducing some of the proposed deliverables.
Whatever approach you take, always strive to set expectations in terms of cost, timeframes and deliverables.
That way you’ll have a better chance of keeping the project on track and avoiding scope creep.
Need some more tips on setting your pricing structure? Then check out our recent article: How much should freelance web designers charge?.
The client ‘knows’ what they want
When asked to ‘work your magic’, this can often be interpreted as the client granting you ultimate trust and full autonomy in developing a web product.
Of course, when they see your magic, there could be endless feedback in store.
Pro web tip: If you ‘work your magic’ and the client loves the end product, then congratulations.
However, to ensure you’re on the same page as your client from the start, consider a process with agreed milestones which require client sign-off.
A phased project system could look like...
● PHASE 1: Deliverables and pricing agreed
● PHASE 2: Digital website plan defining key factors such as sitemaps and wireframes
● PHASE 3: Content creation
● PHASE 4: Design
● PHASE 5: Development
● PHASE 6: Testing and launch
At the end of each phase, seek client approval in writing. Resist moving to the next phase until they sign off.
Try to remember that, just as you will always be the authority in the web development arena, the client will always be the authority in their business and sector. As such, when you meet in the middle and harness all knowledge, the real magic happens.
The client offers exposure as a new currency
Breaking into the creative industries can be tough.
As such, there are people who will take a job for the exposure.
This start-up business model is grounded in logic, but for the more experienced web pros among us, should you ever work for free?
Pro web tip: Promises of ‘exposure’ and ‘more work in the future’ does warrant consideration.
However, when the client’s wallet is filled with promises of exposure rather than cash, it often means they can’t really afford to pay you what your work is worth.
In situation like this, you could consider shifting the narrative to the value you can bring their business.
Wow them with case studies and the ROI you have delivered elsewhere.
Establish a framework whereby the client must speculate to accumulate to acquire your services.
After all, investing in you is an investment in their own business. Offering a discount to help them on the path to success is always a good ‘meet in the middle’ option. Of course, that’s a decision only you can make.
Clients say the funniest things. So we couldn’t miss out these other favourites:
● “I could do this myself if I had the time.”
● “My mate said it should cost this much.”
● “Can you make the logo bigger?”
● “Can you do a free sample design for me?”
● “Can you do it by tomorrow?”
● “We want a completely unique website that looks exactly like our competitors.”
Share your experiences
Did you find yourself nodding along to this article? If so, we’d love to hear your experiences.
Comment on our facebook posts here and we’ll look to feature the top 10 most popular comments in our follow up to this article.
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