Should I trust this guy???

40 replies
Hey Warriors.

I recently (3-4 months ago) met a guy in the bar who owns a media company. They mainly produce school radio, t.v that type of stuff. We exchanged business cards etc & went our separate ways.

Last week he called me out the blue saying he had a job for me. I met him at a hotel & we talked about the project in hand. It was a job that was outwith my design capabilities but I still took it on - I just hired an out-sourer on Odesk for $30 to do the tricky parts.

Well I finished the job the other day & everyone is happy, especially me

The thing is, now he has seen what I am capable of, he wants me to re-design his own website FOR FREE with the promise of more work...

Now this has happened to me before - when I was just starting out in 'the biz' & all that ******* done was steal all my idea's & put my business back about 2-3 months!!

I'm sure you can see my dilemma here.

What if this guy is genuine, what if he's not?

I could re-design his site & get more work from him...

or

I could re-design his site & never hear from him again!

What would you do Warriors :confused:

-Robbie

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..
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#guy #trust
  • Profile picture of the author MaxwellB
    He paid you for the first job?

    Why can't he pay for his to be redone?

    I can't obviously know what he's thinking. But you can find out if he's trying to milk you pretty easy.

    Tell him

    "Joe, I never get excited about working for free, as I'm sure you can agree. But I would love to work together for the long term. Let's do this, refer me a job or two, think of that as my payment, and I will get started on your redesign as soon as I start working on the jobs."

    The redesign was never part of the initial deal, just because he gave you work in the beginning means nothing you don't owe him anything.

    Tell him you always get paid up front for your work so if he can throw even a job your way you will get started on the redesign asap.
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    • Profile picture of the author robgee123
      Originally Posted by MaxwellB View Post

      He paid you for the first job?

      Why can't he pay for his to be redone?

      I can't obviously know what he's thinking. But you can find out if he's trying to milk you pretty easy.

      Tell him

      "Joe, I never get excited about working for free, as I'm sure you can agree. But I would love to work together for the long term. Let's do this, refer me a job or two, think of that as my payment, and I will get started on your redesign as soon as I start working on the jobs."

      The redesign was never part of the initial deal, just because he gave you work in the beginning means nothing you don't owe him anything.

      Tell him you always get paid up front for your work so if he can throw even a job your way you will get started on the redesign asap.
      Hey MaxwellB thanks for your reply.

      Yeah I think he's trying to pull a fast 1 you know.

      He also mentioned about me doing S.E.O on the site too & even offered to pay me for it - if it was a reasonable price!!!

      Yeah right pal - like I'm going to teach you, inadvertently, all my S.E.O secrets and get paid buttons for it...

      Some people are so sneaky!!!

      If he want's me to do the S.E.O too I want his domain on MY server where he can't spy on all my back-office magic!
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    • Profile picture of the author nyk24
      Hi robbie

      In a word....no!

      You have to earn trust and if you take the risk is has to be a calculated one.

      Who expects work to be done for free....seriously?

      My response would be, "Hi there Bob, I had a word with my partner and at the moment that's not a financial viability for us. However if we do this project for you, as soon as we get another project (paid upfront) we will refund the original projects fee."

      I don't think the issue is with your work as he was happy with your initial work so obviously he is confident you can do a good job on his site.

      In my opinion it's either a clever bargain tactic by him or just an out and out con.

      tbh it reminds me of my sisters ex who was a car mechanic....he would fix your car really cheap and then make something go wrong on it eventualy a few weeks later. Then the customer would come back to him and this is when he would rip them off lol.

      I am not saying this sort of things going to happen to you but logic says its either a con or a clever bargaining tactic either way hold your ground as if he is genuine he can't be that stupid to turn round and say, "fine then no thanks" A good businessman will say okay how much and then try and negotiate.
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      • Profile picture of the author robgee123
        @nyk24 - I think your right it's been a clever ploy all along to lead me along promise me more work then get me to jump through hoops for him.

        That's what the 1st guy done & you learn from your mistakes huh!?

        Think I'll just ramp my price up & see what he says to that...
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  • Profile picture of the author MartinBuckley
    I would say that if you have already completed a job for him and you and him were satified with each other, than you have already passed a trial run and should not have to prove yourself by re-designing his website for free.

    I would just be straight with him and tell it like it is and if he is truly interested in working with you and giving you other jobs, then he will, if he doesn't then he was just trying to get free work out of you and you just saved yourself from wasting alot of your time.

    I hope is helps,

    Martin
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    • Profile picture of the author robgee123
      Thanks Martin!

      Yeah I just think he is leading me on with a 'Golden Carrot' to get stuff done for FREE!

      Not this time buddy!!
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    • Profile picture of the author jimbo13
      No real need to trust him as you are not going to do it for him. You don't even need to explain it to him. You aren't a charity.

      He knows you, he likes you to some degree, he knows you deliver, he likes what you did deliver and he wants the same for his business.

      Therefore he will pay you.

      If he genuinely will be passing you work he will have his wish anyway. You simply pay him a referral fee for each passed job that you complete, get paid for and is live for 30 days.

      He can't argue with that.

      Dan
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      • Profile picture of the author robgee123
        Originally Posted by jimbo13 View Post

        No real need to trust him as you are not going to do it for him. You don't even need to explain it to him. You aren't a charity.

        He knows you, he likes you to some degree, he knows you deliver, he likes what you did deliver and he wants the same for his business.

        Therefore he will pay you.

        If he genuinely will be passing you work he will have his wish anyway. You simply pay him a referral fee for each passed job that you complete, get paid for and is live for 30 days.

        He can't argue with that.

        Dan
        Thanks Jimbo13 for your brutal honesty!!

        To be honest the website re-design is not that big a job, change theme & add some custom graphics. Done in half a day. :p

        What I am worried about & perhaps I should of mentioned it in the opening thread is - he want's me to do the S.E.O on his site too. The guy who created the site originally still works with him but he obviously doesn't have a 'Scooby Doo' (clue) about on page S.E.O or S.E.O in general for that matter. What I think they are trying to do is steal my S.E.O techniques to sell for themselves & cut me out all together - or maybe I'm just paranoid...
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  • Profile picture of the author TheWrightWords
    There are far, far too many potential customers out there who pay, so don't waste your time with games! In short:
    1. Do not work on spec
    2. Do not work on spec
    3. Do not work on spec

    Reread as needed!
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    • Profile picture of the author robgee123
      Originally Posted by TheWrightWords View Post

      There are far, far too many potential customers out there who pay, so don't waste your time with games! In short:
      1. Do not work on spec
      2. Do not work on spec
      3. Do not work on spec

      Reread as needed!
      Well said TheWrightWords!

      Thanks
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      • Profile picture of the author robgee123
        Originally Posted by Portlandrocks View Post

        I think that everyone else has already managed to answer this better than I could but I learned something from a friend of mine that I think might just add what everyone else is saying.

        Sure, you can do spec work as a means of marketing. You won't make any money doing it, but maybe you will get the work.

        BUT...

        If you are willing to do work for free, then work to build your own business for free not the other guy's business. If you spent the same time and energy on marketing your business to paying clients instead of working for free for someone who may or not pay, you will see a much greater ROI in the short and long run...

        ...but you already knew that.
        Yeah that's the thing PortlandRocks, I have been redesigning my own site recently too & I told him that but he still kept pushing.

        I think I have my answer now, thanks guys!!
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    • Profile picture of the author zacsmith
      Originally Posted by TheWrightWords View Post

      There are far, far too many potential customers out there who pay, so don't waste your time with games! In short:
      1. Do not work on spec
      2. Do not work on spec
      3. Do not work on spec

      Reread as needed!
      Truly words to live by!
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  • Profile picture of the author TheWrightWords
    There are far, far too many potential customers out there who pay, so don't waste your time with games! In short:
    1. Do not work on spec
    2. Do not work on spec
    3. Do not work on spec

    Reread as needed!
    Signature

    Need top quality niche content to keep readers coming back for more? I'll provide 100% original, magazine quality content so you can focus on what you do best!
    PM for samples and rates.

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  • Profile picture of the author liindsay
    Very simple solution.

    No problems Joe, I'd be happy to make a website for you. Since you're going to be sending some new clients my way, it shouldn't be a problem for you to pay me for the website, and I'll happily reimburse you after the first client you send my way.

    If he has any problems with this, stay away.
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  • Profile picture of the author spesialis
    This is contrary to everyone's opinion, but I'll be happy to build his site for free.

    Assuming:
    - He's a nice guy and honest (if he say he will refer you, you believe him).
    - He only ask a simple company profile website, no programming or fancy stuff.
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    • Profile picture of the author sandalwood
      Rob,

      In part, you said:

      " recently (3-4 months ago) met a guy in the bar who owns a media company. They mainly produce school radio, t.v that type of stuff."

      You mean to tell me a guy who owns a media company can't get someone on staff to redesign his website. Nah, not today and not tomorrow my friend. He is pulling your leg for another reason. Don't know what it is, but it won't be in your best favor.

      Hell, I can get a student out of the local Job Corps to redesign my website and it won't cost me a dime. By law, the federal regs don't permit the business to pay a dime. They pick up the tab. Yes, I know, I just let out a secret that if most businesses knew, a lot of us so called web marketers would be out of business.

      Back to the point. Spec ain't where it's at.

      Just my 2ยข...

      Tom
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  • Profile picture of the author Danielm
    I would just tell him, "it will be $x for the redesign you are talking about, since you mentioned referrals I'd gladly pay you $x for each referral you send over and you'll have your whole redesign paid back plus some extra in only 3 referrals!"
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex.R
    I have found....As others have found....As you have found.

    You don't build a business on FREE.
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  • Profile picture of the author wally247
    Don't do it!

    I helped a guy just like you once, almost the same situation (he had a company and promised work) and I got ****ing burned!


    I did this guy's website which was his personal stupid lame hobby website (yea I know, I'm a stupid idiot) but like you I thought I would do a good job and he would see my value.


    I never heard from him again.


    Since then I've done a few free things to help people out, and now everyone can bite me.


    This guy could be on the level, but from my experience.....he's probably not. Let him design his own site!
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  • Profile picture of the author massiveray
    You guys are so negative, just do his site for him in your spare time, how long does it take really?

    In the worst case, you lose a few hours of your life, in the best case you get a **** load of business thrown your way. Worth a risk in my book, especially of you're new and don't have a load of clients yet.

    As for the seo problem, nobody can learn your whole process as a customer of yours, take his money and do his seo, no discount, charge him your normal rate and if he queries tell him you're a business and you can't accept a loss on your margins.
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  • Profile picture of the author ericbryant
    Free. Promises. Barter. Trades. 99.999% are a complete waste of your time and talent. #JustSayin' (from experience!)
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  • Profile picture of the author tmoby
    Had a similiar situation myself a few months back.

    In short: A guy who sold google adwords said he could get me tons of clients, said if I designed his "simple" website he'd refer me a ton of people, I said sure, and started building.

    The site got more and more complicated until his idea became what I would normally be a 2000 + website. So I said I can't continue unless you pay some or refer a few potential clients. And guess what? I haven't received a single referral.

    Referral's first or no deal. Don't make the same mistake I did!
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  • Profile picture of the author Nail Yener
    Originally Posted by robgee123 View Post

    he wants me to re-design his own website FOR FREE with the promise of more work.
    I don't think your contact would do what he does for free with the promise of more work. So, why should you?
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  • Profile picture of the author rising_sun
    Banned
    This is actually complex.

    My suggestion please don't do it .By my experience I think he would like to take the advantages of situation ,he want to take the advantages of your innocency .
    I feel doubt about his personality ,if he is a man of strong personality ,he could not tell you to do it free.

    If I am in your position, I might have been made a polite defense against his cunning politeness.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fawxkitteh
    you should never give your services for free... well do work for him but not free... leave the thing that he will gave more wok or not. juts think about the project he wants in free. i am not suggesting to work free.
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  • Profile picture of the author Linerider
    There's a saying that one of my friends uses, "if there is any doubt, there's no doubt". What he means is that if you have any suspicions at all then you keep away from it.

    On the basis that you came onto Warrior to ask this question, your gut feeling was already telling you that something was not right.

    When you are selling a service, it's much better to seem like you are not desperate for the work. If someone asks you to work for free, or for some stupidly low price, just say that you aren't prepared to do that as you already have a lucrative business and don't work for free etc - people always want what they can't have!

    Anyway, hope it works out for ya.
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    • Profile picture of the author AskPete
      Rob, Like most have already said, he's a freebie hunter, and not worth your time.

      To be honest, I've been doing Offline Marketing & Web Design since 1999, and the 'promise of lots of referrals' comes up most weeks, though typically towards a Discount Request, rather than asking us to work for free.

      Although we did take the odd one on their word in the early days, we are still yet to se A SINGLE ONE of them to ever deliver on their empty promises.

      And if this guy owns a media company but doesn't have sufficient disposable income to pay $1-$2K towards getting a new website designed, with SEO optimisation, is it likely he's for real?

      Not only would I not agree to design his site for free, I would also give him and his future attempts to meet up, a very wide berth, as he certainly appears to be a conman.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cyberdog1
    No one works for free

    He may very well bring you more work in the long run but you have to be paid for work in advance - especially digital/online work
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  • Profile picture of the author Defacto
    You met at a hotel? That's where you meet to hire hitmen and drug dealers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Linerider
    And if this guy owns a media company but doesn't have sufficient disposable income to pay $1-$2K towards
    Pete just made a good point. It may be that he simply doesn't have the money to pay you - his business may be on the rocks. Another reason not to work for free.
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  • Profile picture of the author jlmason
    Two things struck me as very odd...he owns a media company but you met him at a hotel??? WHY.

    I've learned that anytime you start the sentence with "Should I trust him/her..." the answer usually ends up being a big fat NO!!!
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    • Profile picture of the author younganddirty
      Originally Posted by jlmason View Post

      Two things struck me as very odd...he owns a media company but you met him at a hotel??? WHY.

      I've learned that anytime you start the sentence with "Should I trust him/her..." the answer usually ends up being a big fat NO!!!
      agree with that.

      trust your gut. Every time my gut says no, i trust it, if not I just get into trouble. but I also have to know the difference between butterflies and my gut feelings

      did you get a contract or anything
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  • Profile picture of the author ThomasOMalley
    Don't fall for this trick...the promise of future work...that tactic is older than the hills.

    Believe in yourself and stop even thinking about this approach.
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  • Profile picture of the author rob19028
    This guy has already gave you one project and it makes sence to think he can generate more work for you. Everyone is so Jaded about getting ripped off...and if you redesign his site first you probally will get ripped off.....I would tell him Yes you are very interested in redesigning his site...doing a site for his company will be a great project for your company yada yada and you want to help...but you are extremely busy with clients who have paid for your services. Tell him after he sends you the first lead you will redesign his main page, after the second lead a little more..and keep it going as long as you can. Do not burn a potential contact because they want something for free...everybody does...If he never sends any leads you never work on the site for him.
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      In another life-time, I used to be asked often for discounts based on the promise of more jobs. "Hey, can you give me 20% off. I've got 4 more jobs and I'll bring them all to you."

      At first, I said, "Why, yes, kind and generous person."

      And I ended up giving 20% on the only job they ever gave me.

      So, I changed. When they said, "Hey, can you give me 20% off? If you do, I've got 3 more coming your way?" I'd say, "Sure, thing, kind and generous person. I'll apply all of that to the last one. So, the last one is practically free." I did not get the 1st one.

      It rubs me the wrong way real hard when people ask me to do things for free who've already seen what I can do (I do good work). That's my bias in what I'm going to say.

      Why did he ask you do do something for free?
      He has a media company. He's a business person. He understands, or ought to, the value of time. He has something he can pay you with that is not money: why did he not offer to produce some tv/radio stuff for you? (I don't know exactly what he does, but if he produces ads, shows, etc. for TV, he can produce ads for you.)

      So, no, don't trust him.
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  • Profile picture of the author infinityplr
    You could still design it. But make sure you put your signature in the design somewhere so either he won't talk to you again or not you can still have a proof that his website is your design. Also take a print screen photo of it once its up on the web, for portfolio purposes.

    You can see the negative side of it, but think of it this way, If you did the site for free and put your name or signature in it you still can attract some clients out of it. Plus the experience is still worthy it and you can add this in your portfolio. It is still a win-win deal.
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