[thelist] pricing for web sites?

Joel Canfield joel at bizba6.com
Tue Sep 22 23:26:23 CDT 2009

On Tue, Sep 22, 2009 at 6:38 PM, Jenni Beard <jenni at theweblotus.com> wrote:

> Ok, so for those of you who disagree with hourly rates and tracking hours,
> how do you handle the clients who ask incessant questions, usually the same
> ones over and over again, and insist upon having 45 minute phone meetings
> (or sometimes in person) that seem like déjà vu because you already covered
> all of those topics and answered those questions in your last meeting???

Better project management.

Also, a clearer perception of your role. Are you simply selling a website,
or helping small businesses with their online marketing?

If you're having meetings, answering questions, etc. then it sounds like
you're actually trying to help folks. Why not accept that role, and see
their incessant questions and 45 minute phone meetings as part of the job?
They aren't technical. They don't know what you're doing behind the scenes.
They may, in fact be hopelessly disorganized and actually need to ask the
same questions over and over again.

I think you have two choices: either work harder to find clients who are
organized, efficient, and capable, or embrace your role as technical mentor,
and make these poor confused people love you so much they don't CARE what it

And either way, charge enough for it.

You're the professional, not them, right? Here's the single biggest secret
you'll ever hear about how to provide excellent customer service that makes
people love you: treat them like children.

No, don't talk down to them and things like that. But if your kids ask you
the same question this week as they did last week, do you get angry and
suggest you might need different kids? No, you answer, over and over again
from the age of 2 until they move out (and sometimes longer) because it's
only through repetition that they learn. And if your kids are asking just
because they need reassurance, you don't tell them to grow up and stop being
needy; you let them know that you'll take care of them, don't worry about
it, it's all under control.

When it comes to technology, 99.9 percent of your clients are babes in the
woods. Mother them, and enjoy the nurturing protecting mentoring role.

I build hand-holding into my pricing. Some folks need a lot. They burn a lot
of my time. If they really are a nuisance . . . um, I don't know. I haven't
had a client who I wouldn't work with again (good hiring practices are
important for contractors hiring clients, too.) But it will balance out; the
needy time-sucks will balance the folks who let you work and get things
done. After while, you'll know who's who and price second, third, and
subsequent jobs accordingly.

Of course, if you're not getting subsequent jobs, that's a different matter.
If you are, you already know who's who. Build it into the price.


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