First possible client, advice please?

9 replies
I just finished a web design class in school. For our final project, we built a site for a client, and now the client has asked if I'd be willing to provide occasional advice and/or assistance with their online presence in exchange for some sort of payment. I'm definitely interested, but I have no idea on what or how to charge.

The site is: http://www.familiesincrisis.net/

Any help would be immensely appreciated. Danke!
#advice #client
  • Profile picture of the author AnneE
    So you created the website on a volunteer, totally free basis? That does make it harder, along with them being a non-profit. Still your time is worth something and it would be nice to get some pay.

    By the way, I really like the site. So are you a college student? You said you did this for a class?

    Well answer those questions and then I'll try to respond.
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    • Profile picture of the author el-chucklebuck
      I am in college, yes. And it was created voluntarily with no payment intended.

      And thanks! Nice to hear some positive feedback from my fellow warriors.
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      Josh Meyer
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      • Profile picture of the author j0s3
        Here's what I would do:

        1 - Say yes, to start with. Right now you have $0 dollars from this client, so I wouldn't over-think it. He's asking for permission to give you money in the future

        2 - Tell the client what they're going to need - CREATE the money.

        For example:

        At the very least:
        - Say yes, and then suggest to them that they take up your services on a monthly basis (a few hours a month) to keep the website up to date for them with any software updates needed (if this applies) and with any content that they want to update the site with.

        At the very most:
        Say yes, tell them the above, and then tell them that this is just the beginning, and that you can provide 'consultancy' to guide them - this would entail doing some marketing for them.

        Leave the price open - if they say how much, then your answer is always 'depends on what you want/need'.

        Of course, give them a base price for a minimum of work, and leave the rest open.

        So don't say $100 a month for maintenance, because you may end up working 24x7 ... (it happens...)

        Say $100 per month gets you 10 hours of maintenance. If you require more some months, then it's extra.

        Let us know how you get on and all the best!


        Jose
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        • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
          Originally Posted by j0s3 View Post

          Here's what I would do:

          1 - Say yes, to start with. Right now you have $0 dollars from this client, so I wouldn't over-think it. He's asking for permission to give you money in the future

          2 - Tell the client what they're going to need - CREATE the money.

          For example:

          At the very least:
          - Say yes, and then suggest to them that they take up your services on a monthly basis (a few hours a month) to keep the website up to date for them with any software updates needed (if this applies) and with any content that they want to update the site with.

          At the very most:
          Say yes, tell them the above, and then tell them that this is just the beginning, and that you can provide 'consultancy' to guide them - this would entail doing some marketing for them.

          Leave the price open - if they say how much, then your answer is always 'depends on what you want/need'.

          Of course, give them a base price for a minimum of work, and leave the rest open.

          So don't say $100 a month for maintenance, because you may end up working 24x7 ... (it happens...)

          Say $100 per month gets you 10 hours of maintenance. If you require more some months, then it's extra.

          Let us know how you get on and all the best!


          Jose
          Follow this advice if you want to find yourself receiving phone calls at midnight, working 10 hours a day and earning $2 an hour.
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          • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
            Originally Posted by AnneE View Post

            So you created the website on a volunteer, totally free basis? That does make it harder, along with them being a non-profit.
            Non-profit does not mean they don't have money.

            And I disagree - I have clients which started out as a volunteer thing and easily turned into paying clients.

            I agree with ramone_johnny that you need to draw up some kind of formalities to protect yourself and the client.

            Draw up a list of services you'd like to provide or think will actually help their company and pass that by them. Some things I have a flat out fee for and some things are charged on an hourly basis with a 1 hour minimum.
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            • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
              Originally Posted by Jill Carpenter View Post

              Non-profit does not mean they don't have money.
              Its really not even about that. Its about getting into the habit of treating your operations as a business and charging for your time. What might seem like a quick favour today, might turn out to be an ongoing nightmare in a months time. Ive seen this too many times to know, that you MUST charge appropriately for your time! And you MUST use documentation!

              Youre just doing yourself a disservice if you dont.

              Ive attached two documents here for you. These are just two out of 67 documents that I have in my web design business kit if youre interested.

              http://www.start-a-web-design-business.com/john.zip

              EDIT - Dont leave the way you charge up the client! You should know and set your fees in advance. Make sure you are clear with your client about your rates.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    In the industry this is known as a Service Level Agreement.

    Before you do ANYTHING I highly encourage you to use proper documentation! This includes using contracts, and agreements so that both yourself and the client are protected.

    This reduces the likelihood of any type of disputes arising.

    DO NOT, simply agree to anything verbally or via email!
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  • Profile picture of the author el-chucklebuck
    Sorry for being MIA everyone. I've been swamped with finals, but, thankfully, they're over. Free time abounds now.

    I've contacted the client and we're going to meet up next week to discuss everything. I've been thinking about utilizing the briefcase technique when I go. Does anyone have any advice or tips in relation to that?

    Also, ramone_johnny, your link appears to be broken. I've taken a look at the site though, and it definitely seems like something I could use. Once I save up enough fundage, I'll most likely be buying it. Invest in myself, ya know?

    In other news, I asked the girl of my dreams out earlier, and she said yes. Woot!
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    Josh Meyer
    Diet for Acne
    $2500/month is the goal.
    "The more I see, the less I know, the more I like to let it go." -Red Hot Chili Peppers
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  • Profile picture of the author pmbrent
    Research other beginner designers and see what they are charging and price yourself similiar or slightly less. You obvioulsy have a professor, ask them what would be a fair price.
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