A close friend referred me to one of his acquaintances, and told me that this acquaintance owned a business and would like some kind of work done. He asked me if I’d look into it.
Me: Hi! I hear you might need some work done on your website, and I thought I would check to see exactly what you were looking for?
Client: Hi, yes, I would like to use your services.
Me: Great! What’s the site you’re looking to update?
He sends me his website, and it was worse than I could have imagined. It would have been a perfect example of terrible web design in the early 90s. The Hawaiian version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” played the second that the site loaded and the website consisted of dozens of pages (most with links that went nowhere), each containing the same things: gaudy clashing colors, some .gif or background that flashed, TONS of text with columns of unrelated images, and a hierarchy of links that can only be described as a “choose your own adventure” link system.
Me: Okay, great. Do you need something on your website changed? Or maybe you want a new website?
Client: My website works, but it’s a little outdated. Can you give me an estimate?
Me: Honestly, it would be faster and easier to build a new website than to update what you have. Before I give you an estimate, why don’t you let me know exactly what you need?
I sent him a brief survey asking if he needed a web store, if he needed to educate customers about his services, what demographic he was trying to reach, etc.
Client: I don’t understand.
Me: I’m sorry I wasn’t clear. What don’ you understand?
Client: Yes, I want everything, what is currently on my website, including the store. We should talk in-person. I can book you for two months from now.
I took another look at his site. It didn’t have a store. At this point, I didn’t know if I was insane or if he was.
Me: Okay, well, my best estimate for what you need is X dollars for a basic site, and XX dollars for a site with a webstore. Would that work for you?
Client: Great. My budget for the site is [150 less than my lowest estimate]. Could you send me some samples of your work?
Me: I’m sorry, but there seems to be some confusion. Your budget is less than my estimate. If you’re happy with my estimate, I’d be glad to work with you, but your budget is lower than what I’d do the work for. Unless we can reach an agreement on this, I won’t work with you.
Client: Great. So you’ll do the web store for [my lowest estimate, sans webstore]?