Problems with web design clients.. How to solve

33 replies
Hi

I am selling web design to small business clients who pay from $800-2000.. I see around 50% clients are fine.. and 30% clients are little problematic. Actual problem lies with rest of 20%.

They want n number of revisions.
Then they want custom programming and dont understand that it is a huge overload.
Then they want ecommerce in basic package.
They they want around 10 revisions in their logo.
Few if pay few $$ extra, they need a whole custom software at backend.

This all hurts growth and drain all resources.

Is it a general problem or industry have found a solution around it.

Regards
AB
#clients #design #problems #solve #web #web design #web design business
  • Profile picture of the author Mav91890
    My advice would be to drop those clients unless you're willing to be bullied by them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Affiliatebuddy
      We come to know about headache when 90% of work is alraedy done.

      Originally Posted by Mav91890 View Post

      My advice would be to drop those clients unless you're willing to be bullied by them.
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  • Profile picture of the author BrentSkillHD
    Usually the lower the client pays, the more pain in the ass they will be.

    Besure to protect yourself by putting in the terms ahead of time, how many revisions you're willing to do or charge them per change if it suits you.
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    • Profile picture of the author jkruger
      Are you setting up their expectations correctly? Sounds like they are sold on your building a website, but that effort is not correctly defined for them.

      Included 3 revisions, charge them on the 4th, 5th, 6th....etc...

      Ecommerce is different package, don't negotiate on this.

      Firing clients will free up your time to find better ones.
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      • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
        Originally Posted by jkruger View Post

        Are you setting up their expectations correctly? Sounds like they are sold on your building a website, but that effort is not correctly defined for them.

        Included 3 revisions, charge them on the 4th, 5th, 6th....etc...

        Ecommerce is different package, don't negotiate on this.

        Firing clients will free up your time to find better ones.
        This^^^

        You're having problems because you're apparently not being clear about what you do and do not deliver for a certain price. Now that you've got experience with people and their overblown expectations you should be able to lay everything out well before doing the work.
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      • Profile picture of the author IMrokie
        Originally Posted by jkruger View Post

        Are you setting up their expectations correctly? Sounds like they are sold on your building a website, but that effort is not correctly defined for them.

        Included 3 revisions, charge them on the 4th, 5th, 6th....etc...

        Ecommerce is different package, don't negotiate on this.

        Firing clients will free up your time to find better ones.
        Agree with jkruger..
        You should make limit about revisions, and explain what will you give.. Support, features, etc.. Don't forget to charge more, if they need more customization.
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    • Profile picture of the author Affiliatebuddy
      We ask them to conclude their work in 3 revisions.

      Originally Posted by BrentSkillHD View Post

      Usually the lower the client pays, the more pain in the ass they will be.

      Besure to protect yourself by putting in the terms ahead of time, how many revisions you're willing to do or charge them per change if it suits you.
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      • Profile picture of the author graeme_pc
        Originally Posted by Affiliatebuddy View Post

        We ask them to conclude their work in 3 revisions.
        Then simply refuse further revisions or bill them for it. I agree with the previous poster that it may be an expectation management issue. Make sure they know the boundaries and how much your revisions are. It may even help the sale if they know your revisions are $40 but that you will throw in three of them for free.

        Of those who remain, sack them! You may even find - as a friend of mine has - that if you write to them stating that this is not the nature of the agreement which they signed and that it may be better for them to seek out other agencies to work with, you will often find that they back-pedal like crazy to stay with you. Could be a win-win.
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  • Profile picture of the author RealCasher
    I had the same problem with some of my clients.
    What I did to get rid of this is to charge for revisions. I charge small amounts but it keeps freebie wanters away and makes me additional profits.
    If you include free (+3 revisions) in your service, you'll be in much trouble with those clients.
    You have to be very clear to them about the technical stuff since day one.
    And make sure they understand that customization is a whole another business which will cost them lots of money.
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  • Profile picture of the author Adrianhenry
    I have offered similar services in the past and I have had the same problems. The clients just simply dont understand how much work goes into certain things. They assume the entire backend of their "simple" system just happens magically.

    You just have to be honest with these clients and dont let them bully you. Lay it out for them, say that what they are asking for is not included in the price and that they will need to pay more if they want that functionality and if they arent willing just cut ties with them. It is in your best interests to only keep clients that work well with you as they will be the ones who will keep coming back and refer other people to you.

    Hope this helps.
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    • Profile picture of the author Affiliatebuddy
      We do that .. we do that. But you know few clients. Again we are doing it with around 12 sales guys at a time. We are standardizing procedures and most of sales knows what to say. Still client sometimes send 200 products to add in their ecommerce store and think that it is an hour job.


      Originally Posted by Adrianhenry View Post

      I have offered similar services in the past and I have had the same problems. The clients just simply dont understand how much work goes into certain things. They assume the entire backend of their "simple" system just happens magically.

      You just have to be honest with these clients and dont let them bully you. Lay it out for them, say that what they are asking for is not included in the price and that they will need to pay more if they want that functionality and if they arent willing just cut ties with them. It is in your best interests to only keep clients that work well with you as they will be the ones who will keep coming back and refer other people to you.

      Hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author Affiliatebuddy
    I am having problems probably

    1. This is problem with this industry.
    2. I have scaled this to certain level and this is sold by different sales people. However we have a 9 step formula to keep a check. So they dont just sell everything for $1000.
    3. Few clients really DONT WANT to understand.

    I love this business and just want to remove pain out of it.

    Regards
    AB
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  • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
    It's really as simple as executing a contract between yourself and the customer BEFORE beginning any work.

    Since you quoted a range of prices, I assume that there has been some up-front negotiation, wherein you identified the customers needs and the two parties agreed on the solution(s) to be provided. Most likely, you also arrive at a fixed price for that solution.

    In your contract, spell out the deliverables and any review/modification cycle that is agreed upon, and that is to be included for that fixed price.

    Then...
    add a clause to the contract, specifying that any modifications (beyond those that might be included in the fixed price contract) will be performed at an additional hourly rate, and that those modifications will not be accomplished until AFTER satisfaction of the original contract terms.

    It's a proven model, that independent software developers have been using for decades.

    Edit
    Note that rather than "firing a customer", I'm suggesting that you require them to acknowledge up-front, that they will be billed separately for ANY work requested that is outside the scope of the original contract, and that they agree to that as a part of that original contract. If they don't agree to those terms, they never become a customer, and you are never faced with having to "fire" them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Affiliatebuddy
      Originally Posted by Sid Hale View Post

      It's really as simple as executing a contract between yourself and the customer BEFORE beginning any work.

      Since you quoted a range of prices, I assume that there has been some up-front negotiation, wherein you identified the customers needs and the two parties agreed on the solution(s) to be provided. Most likely, you also arrive at a fixed price for that solution.

      In your contract, spell out the deliverables and any review/modification cycle that is agreed upon, and that is to be included for that fixed price.

      Then...
      add a clause to the contract, specifying that any modifications (beyond those that might be included in the fixed price contract) will be performed at an additional hourly rate, and that those modifications will not be accomplished until AFTER satisfaction of the original contract terms.

      It's a proven model, that independent software developers have been using for decades.

      Edit
      Note that rather than "firing a customer", I'm suggesting that you require them to acknowledge up-front, that they will be billed separately for ANY work requested that is outside the scope of the original contract, and that they agree to that as a part of that original contract. If they don't agree to those terms, they never become a customer, and you are never faced with having to "fire" them.
      "few" dont give a shit to what is in terms and contract.
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      • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
        It sounds like you're not willing to qualify your customer beyond getting them to verbally commit to an agreement. While verbal agreements can be litigated in civil court, you'll be on much stronger footing if your agreement is executed in writing.

        If you're having this problem...

        Originally Posted by Affiliatebuddy View Post

        "few" dont give a shit to what is in terms and contract.
        then your contractual verbiage probably needs to be reviewed by an attorney. Contractual stipulations can be made that predetermine how/where contractual disputes are settled.

        A properly worded contract can easily dissuade someone who normally "doesn't give a shit" from executing the contract in the first place, thereby avoiding the need to "fire" them later on.

        A properly worded contract is an agreement between 2 or more parties, and will obligate both parties... not just the service provider.

        Note - that doesn't mean that you will never have to bring suit to get the other party to comply. In fact, it means that you are much less likely to even have to consider the need to bring suit.

        If you are concerned about enforcing your rights in these matters across international boundaries (and/or the expense of having to do so), either take contracts only in your own country, or require a substantial, non-refundable down payment against the original contract amount.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
        Originally Posted by Affiliatebuddy View Post

        "few" dont give a shit to what is in terms and contract.
        Unfortunately you will probably have to cut those loose. Usually thats their way of saying they do not value your services.
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        • Profile picture of the author Affiliatebuddy
          Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

          Unfortunately you will probably have to cut those loose. Usually thats their way of saying they do not value your services.
          You are right.. and to identify assholes at first stage. They ask refund after 100 hours of work.

          Regards
          AB
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  • Profile picture of the author kursat
    I have had the same problems and had to start charging for extras and 2nd - 3rd revisions. I find it that the clients who have very little knowledge of web design or internet all together are the most demanding ones.

    My funniest and may be most difficult customers are the ones who contacts me after a month to ask why their site is not on Google Page 1.... I will then try to tell them that they paid only for design but that will then confuse them way more. Still love what we do though - just wish I had a big team like you guys - I have to do all on my own
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  • Profile picture of the author wealth2010
    Hello friend I feel your pain. I go through the same thing. I came up with webdesign questionaire to make things a little easier but they still make more complicated then it seems. Another solution is have them fill out contract form whatever that not included in this contract they will pay extra after the job is done. You will face more problem with the brick and mortar businesses because these people have no clude of what they want. They don't even know their own services and you want you figure it our for them. My friend don't give up yet. Come up with better strategies and or try outsourcing services where the outsourcing company take care of the headache and your job is to just do the work, deliver and get paid. Many successes.
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  • Profile picture of the author CharlieWinifred
    Every inexperienced client is problematic. These types of clients have no idea of our working process. My suggestion for you to drop these types of clients and don't give them much offer. Try to deal them technically. More you will respond them more they will create problem for you by making new demands.
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  • Profile picture of the author ncmedia
    First 12 years of my career was in servicing (web/print/audio/video), I grew to absolutely HATE it all. You turn into a b2b whore for pennies on the dollar on beautiful lucrative work. The faster you can fire all your clients and start your own brands the better off you'll be.

    The best things I remember doing: Set your retainer higher than ever (I set mine to 10K, they still kept coming, 25K, still got a few and then finally stopped/started my own brands on clickbank and my life changed fast/my skillsets were realized for the value they are truly worth).

    Oh and there's always the 'fuhQ-PayMe' approach for the time you still stay in servicing (in short, contract and lawyer up, stop idiotic compassion and overdelivering, become hard to reach vs the sub/bitch in the relationship) ::

    This is a MUST WATCH for anyone in the creative servicing industry:

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    • Profile picture of the author Affiliatebuddy
      awesome video. Seems like everybody is in same boat.

      Originally Posted by ncmedia View Post

      First 12 years of my career was in servicing (web/print/audio/video), I grew to absolutely HATE it all. You turn into a b2b whore for pennies on the dollar on beautiful lucrative work. The faster you can fire all your clients and start your own brands the better off you'll be.

      The best things I remember doing: Set your retainer higher than ever (I set mine to 10K, they still kept coming, 25K, still got a few and then finally stopped/started my own brands on clickbank and my life changed fast/my skillsets were realized for the value they are truly worth).

      Oh and there's always the 'fuhQ-PayMe' approach for the time you still stay in servicing (in short, contract and lawyer up, stop idiotic compassion and overdelivering, become hard to reach vs the sub/bitch in the relationship) ::

      This is a MUST WATCH for anyone in the creative servicing industry:

      Mike Monteiro - "**** you pay me" (PT Br) - YouTube
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexandre Valois
    Been in similar situations before.

    Take a day or two to craft a solid document detailing the scope of the service you offer and all extra charges and terms should the client require more hands-on work.

    Also, learn how to fire bad customers. They're bad for you and your business.
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    • Profile picture of the author talfighel
      Originally Posted by Alexandre Valois View Post

      Been in similar situations before.

      Take a day or two to craft a solid document detailing the scope of the service you offer and all extra charges and terms should the client require more hands-on work.
      This is the way go. If people know that, for example, you are going to do a total of 3 revisions for their new designs, they will probably not bother you too much. Make this clear when they buy the product. Every time you revise something for them, show them that they have 2 revisions left 1 revisions left ect.
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    • Profile picture of the author Adrianhenry
      Originally Posted by Alexandre Valois View Post

      Been in similar situations before.

      Take a day or two to craft a solid document detailing the scope of the service you offer and all extra charges and terms should the client require more hands-on work.

      Also, learn how to fire bad customers. They're bad for you and your business.
      This is a solid idea. I did something similar where I detailed to each client EXACTLY what was covered by their payment and what would cost more. Any time they raised an issue I would point them back to the document I created at the start and they had no ground to argue at that point. Pay me or leave.
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  • Profile picture of the author Affiliatebuddy
    making notes on all suggestions.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jack Gordon
    I am going to come at this from a different angle.

    What is entrepreneurship? Identifying a problem and creating (selling) a solution. Right?

    You have heard from several people in this thread who offered solid advice about how to do what you are currently doing, but a little better. You can choose to benefit from their experiences...

    ... or...

    ... you can look at this as an opportunity to look at the real problem you are having, and find an entrepreneurial solution to it.

    In this case, if I were you, I would think about how you have a problem of "crappy" clients. People who want more work out of you for the original amount agreed upon.

    Maybe you feel competitive pressures to bid low enough to get jobs, and now you are trapped by people who want more work from you than they are willing to pay you for.

    So, how would I solve this problem?

    Redefine the market and service.

    Instead of selling a site with x number of revisions for $1000, maybe they (and you) would be happier with a $500 site, plus $80/month for unlimited revisions and concierge service.

    See what I did there? You made 50% more money AND created a recurring revenue stream, and your clients got the level of service they really want. They may not understand this about themselves at the time of sale so you may have to explain to them all of the benefits, using real examples of others who thought they didn't need it but then really would have benefited from it.

    I am not saying those are the right numbers, or that this is the exact blueprint. Maybe there is more you can bundle in or create options with (i.e. ongoing seo, hosting, etc)

    People talk about setting the expectations of your clients lower so that they don't ask for too much. Maybe you should be setting them higher so that they can get the service they really want (and are going to be happy with), you are being paid appropriately for your efforts, and a dynamic is created that generates raving fans for you to exploit in your marketing efforts.

    Wouldn't it be cool to reimagine your operation from one that knocks out $1k designs a couple of times per month to one that services 100 clients with minor tweaks @ $80/month each?

    One last thought... that is my 30-second brain dump on this subject. Imagine what you could come up with after a 3-hour, caffeine-infused brainstorming session.

    Think about it...
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    • Profile picture of the author Insano
      Originally Posted by Jack Gordon View Post

      Wouldn't it be cool to reimagine your operation from one that knocks out $1k designs a couple of times per month to one that services 100 clients with minor tweaks @ $80/month each?
      Theoretically a very good aproach, but in praxis you will have 100 of clients for hand holding and beeing subject to each and any of their whim. It is to much hassle for sure, and the work force you need to employ in order to run a business like this is getting massive over time.

      I had one client, who actually had me 5 hours on screen sharing, where he made me move the logo in a wireframe up and down and up and down, and change the colours and we were nothing better as when we started....

      Design work is tricky since tastes are different.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jack Gordon
        Originally Posted by Insano View Post

        Theoretically a very good aproach, but in praxis you will have 100 of clients for hand holding and beeing subject to each and any of their whim. It is to much hassle for sure, and the work force you need to employ in order to run a business like this is getting massive over time.
        Ah, but there is opportunity to be mined out of this problem. The challenge is in getting it right, and that is for the OP to figure out how to do.

        Keeping 100 clients happy with maintenance is not all that big of a problem, particularly when that is the "problem" your business model is focused on solving.

        However, solving the maintenance issues of 100 past clients while you are trying to get new clients to pay the bills with? THAT is a problem...
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  • Profile picture of the author Adrianhenry
    I really like Jacks Approach here. I think his thought process is something that everyone can learn from regardless of what niche you are working in. I think we all get trapped into conventional paradigms sometimes where we are trying to solve what seems like the immediate problem without realising that it is a huge opportunity staring us in the face that we can use to create a whole new model that keeps all of your competition on the back foot while offering the clients a better service.

    Great post Jack, thank you!
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  • Profile picture of the author Raymond T
    I have 35 clients who pay me a recurring flat-rate maintenance fee every month. Some of them are angels and I never hear a peep. Others are non-stop forces of mayhem and destruction in my daily life. To me, they balance each other out. I am, however, at a point where I would be nervous to scale any higher...
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    • Profile picture of the author Affiliatebuddy
      thats where i stand... however i have more than 1500 clients in a year... I sold for around 800-2000 level and sold a lot... and confused all the time

      Originally Posted by Raymond T View Post

      I have 35 clients who pay me a recurring flat-rate maintenance fee every month. Some of them are angels and I never hear a peep. Others are non-stop forces of mayhem and destruction in my daily life. To me, they balance each other out. I am, however, at a point where I would be nervous to scale any higher...
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  • Profile picture of the author samntly
    1) Make sure when you initially give them a quote that includes the details about what they're getting.

    For example when I give a web design quote I include in there that there is 1 revision and each additional revision is so and so. I also include another option if they want more then 1 design. This lets them know what they're getting before.

    2) For programming if it's a feature that I've built previously then I can estimate a project rate . BUT if it's a new feature then I let them that what I'm providing is a ball park figure and it might change a bit. Although most of the time I am able to finish it within that price. Another thing to let them know is that if they decide to add features AFTER the project has started then this could affect price and project completion date.

    3) For me it's more like the remaining 7-10%. They change their mind half way through project, or decide that you should design something for free and only then they'll pay. There's no way to avoid this. In such cases I try to work with them and let them know that programming and design is not a product, its a service.

    If they want something design related for free then I let them know that I have to pay an artist so I can't do that. What I let them know is that past clients such as him/her have been really happy with our services/results and if they still don't like the design then I end up eating that design cost.

    It's rare for something like infact in the last year I've only had 1 client who decided half way that he wanted a refund. I returned it to him within a week.

    I think as long you let them know what they're getting then they'll be ok if they need more revisions / features.
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