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#1 RyanRobinson  Icon User is offline

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Preparation for a meeting with a potential client

Post icon  Posted 01 May 2011 - 02:23 AM

Hi guys,

I have a meeting with a potential client next week about developing a website for their housing letting agency. This lead came via a previous client who I have recently just completed a website for. I have only been in contact with this potential client via text messages and a few times they have mentioned "Can you confirm that the site will cost $XXXX, like my friends website you just finished recently?".

This immediately got my alarm bells ringing and I replied "The cost can not be confirmed until I can elicit the scope of the project which I can do when we meet". This type of question asked by the client, sounds like I could be working with an awkward client which could possibly lead to constant changing of requirements and asking for more work for the same pay.

I am thinking about writing a solid contract and I need some help with what I should cover.

Any suggestions would help.

Thanks.

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Replies To: Preparation for a meeting with a potential client

#2 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: Preparation for a meeting with a potential client

Posted 01 May 2011 - 08:15 AM

The scope creep sounds a lot like my clients last year. I wrote a blog entry about it if you want to check it out.

Once you meet with your client, define exactly what the website is page-by-page. Be extremely specific so the clients can check off exactly what they are getting. Make sure to include design and functionality, both. Do they have hosting? Do they want you to help them get it set up? That's part of the scope of the project. Make sure you build that into your price.

Obviously with a website, clients are going to want to have things changed as you go along. That's a normal part of the process. However, you want to protect yourself against being told to completely redo the really complex homepage three days before the project ends. Make sure in your contract to define the process for changing scope; and more importantly, give yourself the power to say no, charge appropriately for the extras, and shift deadlines. This is more to protect yourself from unreasonable scope creep than anything else. Trust me- scope creep can make your life a living hell.

Regarding payment, I would ask for a deposit upfront to make sure they are serious. Then set up a payment plan with deadlines based on what you produce. That way, you keep a steady stream of income while they have an ETA.

Craig328 also has a tutorial on contract work you might want to check out.

Hope this helps some. :)
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#3 RyanRobinson  Icon User is offline

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Re: Preparation for a meeting with a potential client

Posted 01 May 2011 - 09:02 AM

@macosxnerd101

Thanks for the advice mate.

I just read your blog post and boy did they take advantage of their lucky position messing you around like that.

Whilst working on a website in the past, a client halfway through asked if he could add 8 more pages to the site and I replied "It will cost $X" and they quickly backed off. I guess I'll have to continue my firm stance with this new client.

I'm just in the middle of reading Craig328's post about contract work and hopefully I will be able to apply some of the methods.
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#4 Curtis Rutland  Icon User is online

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Re: Preparation for a meeting with a potential client

Posted 02 May 2011 - 09:16 AM

Spend some time on this website:

http://clientsfromhell.net/

And you'll see just how people will do their best to screw you out of money for what they don't consider real work. Your contract is your only recourse. It better be rock solid. Include everything you agree to do, and a clause that explains that anything outside the agreed-upon scope will require a new contract and an additional fee, as well as additional development and testing time. Make them sign it.

If they don't want to sign a contract, then they're not worth whatever they're offering you, since you'd probably never get it all anyway. If they balk at signing your contract, it's likely because they're going to balk at paying you the agreed-upon amount. It's better to walk away from a potential bad deal than it is to spend hours and hours working to not get paid.

We do this at work, and we're not even contractors/consultants. We're the developers for the company, and we do scope documents that the lines of business agree to. They also agree that any changes of scope must be approved, and will always change the scheduled deployment dates.
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