Posted Thursday, January 25, 2007 5:27:56 PM by Zoe Gillenwater
A recent thread in the CMX forums about the frustrations of dealing with clients who don't understand how the web development estimating and planning process work has prompted me to share a recent experience.
I got a referral for a prospective job from a past client. He told me that this new prospective client had a very disorganized yet successful business. That was my first warning sign; disorganized business usually means they'll be disorganized when it comes to the web site too. In my experience, they'll probably not have any goals in mind or concrete ideas of what their web site should do for their users and their business.
Nevertheless, I tried calling them and they didn't call me back for weeks. Second warning sign. They finally called me back. I told the woman we needed to set a meeting to go over requirements, which she agreed to, but wanted to do it over the phone. I don't really consider this a warning sign (phone meetings are fine, save some gas), and agreed to a day and time. I spent a considerable amount of time prepping for the meeting.
However, the day and time of our meeting came and went without a call from the woman. Third warning sign. I called her shortly after our scheduled time and left a message. She didn't call back until several days later to apologize, which was left as a message on my machine. Strangely, she called back a few hours later and left almost the same message on my machine! This was the last warning sign. Unresponsive clients are one thing, but clients who can't even remember if they've been responsive or not is a whole other level!
I decided to call the woman back and tell her that I would not be able to quote on her project. She's not the type of client I want (I didn't say this to her, of course). Don't be afraid to do the same with prospective clients that have exhibited disorganization, unresponsiveness, lack of commitment to the project, or even who you just plain have a bad feeling about! It's not new advice, but it's important enough for regular reminders.
Category tags: Web Business