Ask FreelanceSwitch #7
Ask FreelanceSwitch is a new regular column here that allows us to help beginners get a grip on freelancing. If you have a question about freelancing that you want answered, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is it helpful to put a budget selector on designer’s sites so that prospects can select their budget range?
What are the pros and cons of doing this?
How will it help weed out tire kickers?
Thursday: There are two schools of thought when it comes to offering prospective clients pricing information on your site. The first is that having extra information will help those clients decide if you’re the best freelancer for their project. The second is that pricing information can scare off clients, who don’t necessarily know what they’re getting for their money.
Personally, I prefer to give estimates for each project because there’s no guarantee that even similar projects will require the same level of work or time, so I don’t offer much pricing information on my website. That said, I think that, depending on how you work and what kind of clients you’re looking for, offering at least an idea of budget ranges on your site will work well. Those prospective clients who know what your work is worth will be more likely to bring you solid projects, rather than just kicking the tires.
It’s also worth remembering that for many of us freelancers, our websites keep evolving. Just because you offer a budget selector on your website right now doesn’t mean that you have to do so three months from now. Trying it out and seeing the responses you get can be the best way to determine how it fits into your estimating process.
Travis: The simple answer is don’t do it. Budget selectors reduce your services to that of fast food. Do you want fries with your web design? That will be $200 extra. Supersize that content for you, Sir?
The truth is clients really have no idea what most services cost. If you give them a selection they are just going to choose the least expensive option. So unless you’re offering a service that has a set rate, ditch the budget selector.
You are correct though, the only good thing a budget selector it that it does weed out some of the tire kickers. But there are much better ways to do that than with just a budget selector. Maybe let them know your minimum project amounts, or if you want an even better way to scare off clients, ask them to send you content. You’ll never hear from them again after that.
I’d like to ask a question about contracts and contracting a client.
What I always doubted is since I’m living in Asia and don’t really know about the transnational heritage (or something like that) and I doubted about getting a contract to client – What if they don’t obey what was written in a contract like paying on time (lots of delay sometimes) and etc.? Yes they do agree with the contract but some were really stubborn and don’t even respect what was on the agreement they have signed.
Thursday: It’s been my experience that the grand majority of clients will follow through on a contract once they’ve signed it. When someone doesn’t, it isn’t an issue of culture; instead, it’s usually one of two things. Either something has gone wrong with the client’s business (whether or not he’s told you about it) or the client has decided to stiff you — and he probably intended to do so even before signing the contract. In the first case, you can often work something out.
It’s the second situation that tends to give freelancers trouble. If the client is in another country, getting him to follow through on the terms of the contract can be tough. You may be able to hire a collections firm in that country, but even small claims court is probably more expensive than you can easily manage. After the fact, it can be tough to enforce a contract. However, if you write your contract in such a way as to ensure that you’re paid before the client gets a full copy of your work, you can have a better chance of making sure he sticks to the contract. One option is to provide the client with what amounts to a sample of the project (for a website design, for instance, you might send screenshots) but not release the full project (the HTML and CSS files, in the case of that website design) until you’ve been paid in full.
Travis: Yheng my buddy…why are you letting clients disrespect you? You got to show them who’s Kung Fu is stronger.
And yes, yes, and yes to a contract. Whatever nation or people you’re dealing with, always have a contract.
There seems to be a different mindset for a client when he puts pen to paper and signs his name on the dotted line. From my experience they are much less likely to disappear into the ether when you have a copy of their John Hancock on file.
If you come up against a stubborn client that doesn’t want to adhere to the terms of the contract, you just have to be more stubborn. Don’t be a wimp and let them off with bad behavior. Be more like the Dog Whisperer and when a client is trying to take a mess on your business, grab them by the neck and yell PSSSTCH into their ear.