A word on tire-kickers, charlatans and opportunists.

A word on tire-kickers, charlatans and opportunists.

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By Wanda Cummings

Published on October 15, 2000

There are several types of clients who will rob you of your time and energy and should be dealt with cautiously or weeded out altogether. They’re an opportunity cost; your valuable time could better be spent elsewhere.

Tire-kickers can spotted a mile away. They’re hunting for prices only and don’t provide any details about their needs, despite your claim of their necessity in order to establish a price for them. The reality is, they’re either not ready to do a website and are looking for tips about what they might need to do to produce one, or they fall into the price-is-my-only-criteria category–they’re planning on making a decision based on the price you give them. They may also be comparing prices for the sake of comparing prices.

Some of these price-is-the-only-criteria clients may truly not have the budget required for what they’d like. You might offer a limited package within their price range or refer them to someone who might be able to do it within their budget. Another possibility is an MOU [RTF document], or Memorandum of Understanding.

The other price-based client simply doesn’t have any respect for the craft. They will make every attempt to eat your time and pick away at your integrity. Be very cautious if you decide to take this type of client on. They could turn out to be an Atilla the Hun if measures aren’t taken to assert your merit and value as a professional from the outset.

There are also the charlatans. They’ll tell you, “I could do it myself, but I’m just too busy.” Dozens of little red flags should be popping up in your head when you hear this. Don’t dignify the comment; simply get as many details as you can, state your interest in their project, and give them the facts about what would be involved in producing it. They either will or won’t begin to respect the value of what you do and concede their inexperience.

The I-could-do-it-myself type of client may also be a novice client’s way of telling you they know a little bit about web design, and that you can’t pull the wool over their eyes. Be gentle with them; they’ve probably been burnt by a service provider in the past and have good reason to feel a little tentative.

Return to: What makes those damn clients so difficult?

Related Topics: Client Management, Business

Wanda Cummings is a 20-year veteran of design and marketing who loves to share her crayons. She and her two colleagues offer a wide range of solutions through their Atlanta and Halifax offices of Creative Solutions Design & Marketing. You can find Wanda at www.creativesolutions.ns.ca.