Are you a Google Analytics enthusiast?
More SEO Content
When Is Enough, Enough?
Posted 24 January 2004 - 08:18 AM
The person stated they wanted to test me on one site and if all was ok, they would employ me with their further websites. Great, no prob I said. Pay the money up front and we will get into it. They wanted guaranteed top 10 rankings for Google, which I generally achieve, but only guarantee top 20 on a broad spectrum across all engines.
This person wanted to barter with me for more services, restrictions and pages at the same price. Now come on, isn't this why we advertise at set standards comfortable to yourself. This website was shocking. The look was great, but from an seo view, shocking. It went 9 tables deep, images as headings, more page errors than you could poke a stick at and the list goes on. The entire HTML required redesign before anything else.
After many emails telling this person to pay some money first and then I will supply the services as I advertise, not as are dictated to me, they obviously gave up and took my advice to seek services elsewhere. Was I wrong in doing so. IMO it was all a bit suss and I approached cautiously. Once bitten twice shy I had told them.
When is enough, enough and you tell prospective clients to go elsewhere in these circumstances. I guess I don't have much tolerance for these types of idiots, so I tell them. What do others do?
Posted 24 January 2004 - 10:37 AM
I had a guy approach me recently, ask me to look at his post Florida nightmare. I looked told him how much it would cost to put right and get him back ranking again (it was obvious to a blind man what had happened, and in fact I was amazed he EVER got past Google with what he had done with the site) The site was not penalised though, it was all in the index, just not in the top 10,000.
He then asked me EXACTLY what I was going to do to put things right, I replied, I am gong to do what you asked, and get your traffic and orders back. He wanted to know more, I told him he was lucky not to have been penalised etc etc etc. He STILL wanted in writing what I was going to do.
I sent him IN WRITING a lots of blurb but no detail , 2 pages of garbagethat told him what I would do but not how i would do it, such as 'inspect page code and ensure compliance with search engine guidelines blah blah blah' he wanted to know what guidelines lol
In the end I said I would give him a copy of the report I had written for myself when I evaluated the site, he said great, when can I have it? I said as soon as you send me a 50% payment. he said he was not happy paying up front before he knew what he was paying for.
I told him 'we have a Mexican stand off, The answer to your problems will now sit in my filing system until such time as your cheque arrives, or 3 months, whichever comes first', politely said my goodbye and put the phone down.
He has not been back in touch, and (i couldn't help myself I had to look) has been messing about with his site by adding yet MORE scary stuff to his pages, I truly believe that Google has not penalised this guy as they do not want to break the new uk laws protecting mentally ill people
I now await Jill's reply which i guess might run something like...
Yeh no worries i will look at your site, $15,000 up front. What you mean you wanna haggle Its $15K dimwhit, what you mean you wanna pay after I have done the work? XXXXXX XXXXXX click click dialling tone
(just kidding Jill)
Posted 24 January 2004 - 12:35 PM
Generally, we all fall for it the first time, until we realize we never got paid. Anyone with half a brain doesn't fall for it again, no matter how "nice" they usually are.
What I do with these people now is simple...
I tell them that they can read all the free information, articles, Newsletter Archives, on my site and learn everything they need to know to optimize their site. And/or they can join this forum and get lots of free help.
If they want someone to do it for them, then start writing a check.
No need to feel guilty about getting paid for your work. All of us give out an incredible amount of free advice, help and info every day. They're welcome to that in the proper venue.
Anthony, you did fine. Just what you should have done.
People like that really piss me off because they act like they're gonna pay, but you know they're not. Get rid of them as soon as possible. They are simply leeches.
Posted 24 January 2004 - 12:45 PM
This type of person that is worried about price as the #1 factor. Therefore, they are always going to start with the lowest priced firm/person they can find - and then try to haggle down from that already rock-bottom price. If you aren't the cheapest anymore, they won't contact you in the first place.
True, this is hard to do when you are starting out and don't have a reputation to go on, but it's still doable.
To answer the question "At what point is a person annoying?" let me just say that it is at the precise moment that they start to annoy you. I have very little patience for things like this, so for me, it's very early in the timeline. :tooth:
Posted 24 January 2004 - 05:48 PM
I generally increase prices as I start to get too busy. I'm always flabbergasted at how much you can increase them and still get plenty of business. Usually tells ya you should have increased them awhile ago.
If you find you're not getting any business, then you've gone to far and need to adjust them down a bit. (I had to do that only once so far, and it was pretty much right around the big dot.com crash.)
Posted 24 January 2004 - 07:28 PM
I always have more work than I can handle and so it gives me great joy to tell the hagglers, scrooges, time-wasters and people with whom I don't have any chemistry to look elsewhere.
Does it work? Well I'm still solvent and I'm having an absolute ball, so you tell me! Life's simply far too short for chasing time-wasters.
Posted 24 January 2004 - 09:44 PM
I might try that raise my prices concept, though I try to keep them low to allow less fortunate people to afford the prices to get quality work. I have morals, what an issue that is for me. O, wait....there they go, morals gone and will take up that strategy in the near future. You guys and girls rock.
Edited by anthonyparsons.com, 24 January 2004 - 11:15 PM.
Posted 24 January 2004 - 11:00 PM
There's nothing immoral about placing a decent value on what you do.
Posted 24 January 2004 - 11:53 PM
There's nothing immoral about placing a decent value on what you do.
If you don't value your work, why should anyone else? Whatever you set as the benchmark is what the work is worth. If people want you, they will pay it because it is worth it to them. Nothing immoral about that!
That certainly doesn't mean you can offer a discount or pro-bono work to good causes or just people you would like to help.
Posted 25 January 2004 - 01:04 AM
While I've been working on the Web for many years, I've been in the freelance business exactly a year now so I feel I have my "portfolio builder" projects finished and am ready to actually make a profit!
I've been charging clients a flat fee based on my best guess as to how many hours I would put into the project.
I bet almost every new client will always begin with "We're on a budget..." and for the last year, I really did my best to give everyone a rock bottom price and lots of free work. I'm writing all of that off as portfolio building and a learning experience.
Now, I'm almost in defense mode: I ask for 50% after the initial free "hour" of consultation so I can gather requirements and write a proposal. Then I build part of the contract at a flat fee but another part as hourly (the part I think they will drag their heels on
I am now going to start working in a time frame where they pay me the 2nd 50% whether or not the project is finished. Sounds kinda harsh but I have too many clients taking months and months past the original time frame to get work back to me. In the meantime, they like to call and ask questions and over many months that adds up!
I do feel that my more realistic price estimating is sending some clients away which scares me but I guess I should be glad I didn't get the client looking for a $99 deal
Posted 25 January 2004 - 09:11 AM
The "dealers" are nearly always more trouble than they are worth- their mentality of getting more for less doesn't stop with a request for an upfront discount.
In hotels, it's the people who get the half-price deal that leave the biggest mess in their rooms.
In the rental biz, it's the people who begged for a discount that abuse the equipment and cause damage.
In retail, the people who find an item mislabeled and insist on buying every one in stock at the wrong price, then they come back and try to return them for full price.
In services, the people who are "on a budget" will always be on a budget. Regardless of the fact that you did twice as much work for them, they will think they overpaid for what they got.
Stick to your pricing- you don't need these clients!
Posted 25 January 2004 - 10:18 AM
Sounds kinda harsh but I have too many clients taking months and months past the original time frame to get work back to me. In the meantime, they like to call and ask questions and over many months that adds up!
Yup. Yup. This one is a pain in the backend, as well. Everyone wants it now now now - until you get real close, then they vanish. They've got something 99% done, but they won't approve the final bit so that you can get the bill to them. (And yes, the little things still come up - half hour here, half hour there).
Here's what I do, though I should point out that it has driven a few (not a lot, but a few) potential clients away.
When I draw up the proposal, I put in the deadlines they've given me and I list each and every thing on there that we've agreed to do. Then, I throw a deadline back at them. They have 7 days to approve the job once it's completed. If there is no approval, then the job is still billable in full. If the job isn't approved, I need a list of what's wrong and I have 7 days (or until the original deadline - I never go past my original deadline) to fix it. Then they have 2 days to approve the finished work.
If they don't pay the balance of the bill within 14 days of me sending it, there's is a 5% late fee added on each week. (This has never occured where the late fee came into play, but the it may have been part of what scared one or two people away in the initial stages? I dunno).
I also have several times throughout the development phase where I show my work and ask for feedback. They aren't approving anything, but they are looking to see if it needs more, needs to be changed to something else, or needs to be scrapped and rethought.
The problem now is that during the approval phase, they try to sneak something in. "Hmmm. Looks good, but I think it needs such-and-so instead or in addition." This is where your amemdment clause in your original contract comes in handy. Any additional or modified work that isn't on the original task list gets billed separately. So, if everything was good up to the end, and then they give me a laundry list of things to do, the first bill is still payable. If the amendment comes during one of the earlier "Have a Look and Give Me Feedback" deals, the amendment is still made to the original contract even though it may be promised to be delivered at the same time as everything else. (In that case, it's on the same bill, but itemized as "Amendment A" or whatever).
That "tween phase" of asking for feedback during the process can save a lot of wasted hours and all sorts of reworking as a lot of the stuff they aren't going to like in the final approval never sees the light of day.
As I say, it's not perfect because I have lost a few clients using this method - but I like to think that my lack of ulcers can be credited to the loss of these clients.
Another thing that I do that may prove useful for some of you is what I call the "Wal-Mart" principle. I don't bill a flat rate for a job. I break everything down into the number of hours it's going to take me and provide the client with a "maximum estimate." In other words I guarantee that the bill won't be more than the bottom line there (so long as there aren't amendments). I know how long something is going to take me, so I add 20% to that (to account for customer waffling and the Wal-Mart principle that I'll explain in a second) and they get the estimate. The breakdown is there, but I tell them that the only thing they really need to worry about is that bottom line - your bill won't exceed that number.
Now, the Wal-Mart principle. The next time you go into Wal-Mart and plan to buy 10 or more items (big or small, it doesn't matter), take a pen and a piece of paper with you. When you put an item into your cart, write down the price that was on the shelf or is on the item. Before you check out, tally it up. If you have 10 or more items, you'll notice that your reciept doesn't match up with your tally on the piece of paper. One or two of those 10 things rang up at somewhere beteween 5 and 20% lower than the price that was marked. The more items you get, the more noticable the discount and the overal savings over the published price creeps upwards toward a 10% overall savings (or more, sometimes).
This isn't an accident. This is done to curb buyer's remorse and reinforce perceived value. Everyone hates spending money. Many people shop at Wal-Mart because it's going to save them some money over other stores but at the end of the day, once you have left the checkout counter, you're still sitting there thinking, "Man, I just spent $200!"
When we shop, though, (even if we don't have a pen and paper) we tend to keep a general tally as we go along. As we approach the checkout lane we know we're into them for a ballpark number of lets say, "A little over $200". We go through the checkout though, and it comes in at $185.93 and you're reaction is - "whoah that was cheaper than I though! Cool! I did save a lot of money at Wal-Mart." And, in fact, you have - you've even saved money off the savings perception you had when you came in. Heck, Wal Mart is so cheap that it's even cheaper than Wal Mart!
I use this in my billing process too. If I slap an $8,000 price tag on a project, it's really probably going to come in at about $6.5K. The bills get paid quicker (because it's a lot less than they were expecting and there's much less haggling over stupid little things that are going to get under your skin. When you go for the final approval, you just mention something like, "I haven't figured it out yet, but if this is all good, we're going to come in way under budget."
And, of course, with that buffer money up top, if the client is being a jerkwad, you can always charge them $5 less than max and you've got a grand or whatever for aspirin and ulcer medication.
Posted 25 January 2004 - 11:04 AM
My company does not do much "SEO" work. We build mostly Web based applications and some Web sites. When we build Web sites we ensure that they are built the right way, meaning they are search engine friendly. We also help with their Web strategy which includes SEM.
I normally do not have the problem of people seeking free work. As G said, (maybe in other words) if your fees are high enough, then you won't really have that problem. People call, if their first question is price - i have no problem telling them a ball park. Most of the time the conversation ends there. Why? Because they are looking for a "cheap" solution and not a "professional" solution.
Those prospects that sit down in my office and go through a demo of some sort and then ask for a proposal without even asking for a ballpark range are the ones that are more likely to buy.
RustyBrick's services are not cheap but they ultimately save you money in the long run. I can only prove this in person.
Grumpus, I normally do not work with new clients the way you do. They need a fixed price and they are often unsure as to what they will need after the specification is built out. Normally, I will go the extra mile to make sure the customer is set before letting him go. So if they want to add something, depending on the size of course, I will normally add it for free. That really shows the client we are on their side and they normally come back to us for more and more work. When we sign on a client, they become a client for life. We lost very very few clients over the years (one to be exact).
Treat your customers well and they will not only give you first hand business but also recommend customers like themselves to you. Referral business is huge and is most probably the best you can get behind repeat business.
Posted 25 January 2004 - 11:16 AM
Posted 25 January 2004 - 11:43 AM
I have to toss in that Walmart's prices don't come out cheaper intentionally- that is illegal. The Weights and Measures dept of each state peroidically checks to make sure that things scan as marked- they don't care if they are higher or lower, it's still illegal.
The reason you find that happening is the fact that WalMart's prices typically go down as they find new suppliers, cut better deals, etc. What you are seeing is the fact that the price-change team can't keep up! And you won't hear many customers complaining about paying less.
But it's not a clever strategy on WalMart's part, it's just coincidence. They could get fined heavily for that and on repeat transgressions, shut down. I promise you, it is not intentional. Just work backing up.
It's still a nice analogy Stock!
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users