You know it can happen! You’ve hired someone to build your website and already paid them because that’s “industry standard” to pay up front; but you HATE it with every fiber of your being!
You are quite literally trapped. They have no clue what you really want and don’t even try. They have ZERO commitment to doing it your way…
Well, let me give you the answer to that question after telling you about my own experience.
First of all, I never considered myself a website designer until people started recommending what I was doing to others. I was just making sites and charging for hosting and the site was included. But then I got requests from people just to make the site (without the hosting and without the Managed WordPress that I offer).
So I started charging up front for my website designs because that was an “industry standard” practice. However, I would have people who, no matter what, would not totally love the site or were just not enthusiastic about the work I did even though I was certain that the quality was the same as it was before (I always ask my wife to verify these things for me and I can tell when she is “just being nice” to me about the quality of my work).
I decided that I should offer a guarantee so that people could feel more comfortable and get their money back if they weren’t absolutely positively satisfied. It was a “no questions asked money-back guarantee” and it was the kind that I most appreciate from all server providers and products I buy. I was delighted to offer that level of satisfaction guarantee.
And then I got taken for a ride! I had a customer who had got a site with me and I was building it and she was thrilled and was referring a customer when suddenly she got overwhelmed. Based on the amount of links on the front page, I told her she had to write about 15 pages of content (you can’t have a link that goes nowhere after all) and she started doing it and then stopped. My 30-day time frame for the money-back guarantee was running out so, instead of staying committed to finishing, she waited until just before the end of the 30 days and told me she wanted her money back! Even though she loved the site and referred someone!
This really made me wish I had not implemented a money-back guarantee, but I was contractually bound to give her the money back. Of course I asked her for an explanation and offered to even help her with the content and tried to find some way to make it work for her but she gave me no explanation and was inflexible. So I gave her the money back and I started wondering how could I possibly make sure this never happened again. This was a lose-lose and I wasn’t going to let it happen again.
I want to stress the importance here of finding the gold in this situation. I had to really look at what I was doing and who I wanted to be and how I wanted to be happy with what I was doing and realized that if there was a better way then I really needed to rethink everything. And so I found the gold!
I decided to start offering my website design services with no money up front. In essence, it’s free for customers to see what I do for them. And here’s the best part. I decided to establish a firm 3-day window to avoid the month-long (and longer!) design phases that can occur if a customer is too busy to give me feedback or is waiting for a logo or something that will take a long time (such as writing a bunch of content). So, instead of waiting for a month or a year to finish a site, I take everything that is possible to build and build it in three days and at the end of three days then I let the customer know that if I have passed the audition (if they love the site or if they love what I am doing) then I invoice them for the site. They can either take it and host it themselves or they can host with me. If they host with me, I’m going to help update it for them during the year (other than posting articles or pages), but the “design” phase comes to a finish if they are happy with what I have done in three days. This has worked flawlessly as people realize that I need to be scheduled for my time and that my time is always limited like everyone else and so they know I am working for free during that time to impress them. After three days, they either buy the site or we part friends.
And so my answer to the question at the top of this blog post is to let me build a site for you for free. I am certain I will pass your audition to be your site designer and web host (after all, you do want the person who created your site to fix it throughout the year and to not charge unknown fees to upgrade or update the site, right?). The hosting includes support, training, migration, backups and everything a small business owner would need for one predictable annual fee that is less than what some places charge for just hosting or just site design. In fact, there are over $2,000 worth of plugins and theme licenses included!
Let me know if you like my solution in the comments below and contact me if you have any questions and would like to give my services a try!