One thing I’ve come across many times in my 12 years of web development is the Weary Client.
The Weary Client is a skittish creature. Having been stung before, they are quick to hang up the phone in your ear or slam the door in your face the minute they hear you’re a Web Guy.
They have good reason too! They’ve previously paid out many hundreds of dollars (sometimes thousands) to someone who promised a fully functional web site but left them abandoned with a project that is either faulty or incomplete. Quite often the client is left without critical access information about his web site. (Logins, passwords, etc.)
The Weary Client is usually unwilling to pay out a deposit of any amount until results are seen. You really can’t blame them either.
So… What does a web developer do when faced with such obstacles in these tough economic times? The Weary Client is already feeling the crunch. Does he take another chance with his already strained budget? Not likely. If he is willing to part with his money (upon completion), it’s not going to be much.
At this point someone has to fold. I’m feeling the crunch too, so guess who? If I was going to accept these jobs for a lower than normal price, a time saving solution was required.
My solution was this. CMS installations with purchased Premium Themes.
Yes, I said, “purchased!” Might as well offer the client the quality that comes with a Premium Theme. Most are reasonably priced, I find. In the end, it works out when you remove the time to conceptualize the art and code the theme yourself. Not to mention all that effort for a payday that might never come. After all, we’ve taken a Leap of Faith here by agreeing to no down payments. An absolute no-no in this industry.
Worst case scenario: If payday doesn’t come, I shut down the site and still have a Premium Theme to use on a future project. I’m really only out a bit of time if things go wrong. When it comes down to getting the job or not, I think I can invest a bit of time.
What can I say? My new lower rate is now landing me work for the first time in over a year. My (no longer weary) clients are happily running their Premium Themed sites, Premium Theme Authors make a sale, and I get to see my paydays.
Sounds like a win for a few people.
Please note: I work exclusively with businesses local to me. I will not accept work over the Internet without a down payment.