When you see an ad, receive a 'contact form' or somehow get a personal message from a so-called web Guru, how do you know that they can do what you need? And how do you know that you will come out of this okay - both financially and mentally?
The short answer is ... you don’t! Many times clients complain about how they answered an ad from some coach, freelancer, web developer or volunteer - and now that person seems to have disappeared. This can cause distress, anger, feelings of failure, and hassles, particularly if you have paid in full up front.
Here are some ways to protect yourself from being disappointed.
1. Get References
And make sure they are recent. Better yet, ask for examples of work with live URLs or web sites (I have a number of them posted on my own website). If you have the time and don't personally know the 'Guru' connect with other clients directly to find out more about whether the person did their job or not.
2. Don't Pay More Than 50% Upfront
Personally I don't deal with contracts, but instead, I ask for 50% up front and the balance when the client is ready to launch their website. You want to make sure that the website developer has an incentive to deliver.
3. If Desired - Get An Iron-Clad Contract
If you are required to pay it all up front then get a legally verified, iron-clad contract. If you’re spending a lot of money then the best option is to have a lawyer draw up a contract for you. Set up exactly what is expected by both parties.
4. Always Ask For Examples Of Previous Work
Website developers should have a portfolio of work that they can show you from previous clients, along with names, locations, and feedback. If the developer has made any claims then check that those claims stack up.
5. You May Want To Ask To See Credentials
Credentials are a good sign that any person you are paying has at least some expertise in their chosen field. And if they have credentials then check to see if those credentials are accredited.
Choosing a freelance web developer or coach (or any other self-proclaimed Guru) via some type of ad, personal message, or email, can be like walking through a minefield. But by following the above advice you are more likely to deal with someone who can truly help you - rather than merely depleting your budget.