They’ll cause you more grief than they’re worth. Here are some of the top questions they ask. If you get any one of these requests from a prospective client (or a current one), say no!
1. Can you write/design some sample pages for me?
Asking for samples of previous work done for other clients is perfectly OK and legitimate. Potential clients need to check your writing style or design skills and see if it fits what they want. Work on spec tells them you don’t value your work. They won’t either.
2. Can you reduce your prices?
Sure, if you reduce the work involved. Send bargain hunters elsewhere. Instead of cutting your prices, focus on the value your customers get. Make the offer so good, turning you down would be crazy. Turn them into raving fans.
3. Will you register and host my site?
No! It’s not good for the designer, or the client. If you’re hosting it, they think you can control everything that happens. You’ll get calls at all hours. If you’re away or sell the business, the client is left hanging. From the other side, I’ve had clients whose developer disappeared, leaving them stuck when they wanted to update or move their own sites.
4. Can I pay for my project from my sales?
You can’t guarantee whatever it is will sell. Would an architect design your house on the chance you might pay them? No, they wouldn’t.
5. Do you want to join my new business? I have a great idea!
It may be a brilliant idea, or the guy may be full of ideas, but lack the know-how, the persistence or the drive to execute them. Tread very, very carefully.
6. Can I pay the entire balance after you finish?
No. Set milestone payments. 50% up front (or maybe 1/3 if it’s a big project), and the rest on completion. Final delivery after receiving the last payment.
7. Can you do this super-fast for the same price?
FedEx charges more than the post office. For regular delivery, charge regular prices. If you want to take rush jobs, charge a rush rate premium.
8. Can you create a brochure/web site everyone will like?
You don’t want to appeal to everybody. You want to appeal to “your people”, your ideal customers.
9. Can we do the design first, and then write the copy?
Not a good idea. The words have to fit the design, not the other way around. It’s a lot easier to edit copy that’s too long than it is to redo design elements.
10. Can you [create huge project] for free?
Free has gotten tricky. Giving away free, general information spreads the word about your services and your expertise. For example, I’m happy to answer quick questions from readers, and have answered dozens of questions on LinkedIn and Marketing Professionals without being paid. If you have a question, email me here.
I also write a blog and helped out writing and editing on Triiibes projects.
And, you may want to help out a charity or a good cause without payment (do ask for a testimonial though).
However, you do have to draw limits. All free all the time (or most of the time) won’t feed you.