Folks, I see this issue come up time and time again. It’s like a dating service hookup gone horribly wrong. A client chooses a web development company (sometimes a web design company…and yes the difference isn’t all that subtle) that they THINK are suited to accomplish their goals , they TRY to communicate their needs (hopes, dreams, and wishes too), and the Web Development company quotes them on their “best GUESS” of achieving those needs. Think, Try, Guess…too many times this situation is a recipe for a killer case of “buyer’s remorse” or at worse an ugly lawsuit.
To be completely fair, communication breakdowns happen between clients and companies all the time, and it isn’t necessarily always the company’s fault. Clients (dare I say it) can be difficult to work with sometimes too. They say things that they don’t remember saying. They approve things they don’t remember approving.
There are ways however to prevent these kinds of situations from happening and it all starts out with a clear, concise development plan outlined in an equally clear and concise proposal or agreement, which is usually provided by the web development or web design company. This agreement outlines the terms of the project, the work involved, the specified timeline with benchmark stipulations and the costs associated with it all. The agreement should also have a fair amount of “if / then” legalese as well. Like how many rounds of edits (major or minor) a client gets within the stipulated costs of the standard agreement and IF the client exceeds them what the costs are. IF the client doesn’t respond to requests or provided needed information (logos, files, documents, copy, etc.), THEN the project goes on hold or will be billed as is.
All of the examples above may seem to favor the web development company, but such guidelines are there for both parties to know their roles. The client knows exactly what they are paying for and what the web development company has promised to provide for a given price; And the web development company knows what they need to produced and what the client is (and ISN’T) paying for in the included pricing structure found in the agreement.
Now, the paper agreement has described above is a good, solid foundation for keeping communication breakdowns from happening, but it really takes the human touch to go that extra mile. Talk, meet, collaborate, listen, discuss. If a web company is rushing you to the alter, then it either means they aren’t valuing your needs or they are trying to close the deal before you ask too many questions. Either way, you deserve more than that.
Many times, the client is just as guilty for “rushing to the alter” because they go for the lowest possible bidder. If the lowest possible bid is the only factor in deciding who to go with, then you are sacrificing a lot of what is discussed here. I say only because it would be disingenuous to say that it shouldn’t be a factor. Cost is always a factor…and can be a major factor…it just shouldn’t be the ONLY factor.
Let me finish this discussion with a note on what client’s should expect. You (the client) are hiring experts to design, develop, and launch your website. Taking the role of “the expert” means that they should be there to teach you (with GRACE!), to lead you through the process with the least amount of confusion. They shouldn’t assume that you know what to expect, even down to the most mundane elements of web development. And you definitely shouldn’t assume that the web development company is handling all of these elements unless its explicitly stated in the agreement.
To summarize, know what you are getting into by doing some research and don’t rush to start the project just because you get a verbal “sure we can do that” and a price tag that’s cheap. Pay the right price for what you need.
If you are having issues with your current web project, give us a call at 843·249·2335 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even if Southern Tide Media isn’t a right fit, we can at least help point you in the right direction.