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"It Will Only Take You 2 Minutes!" - Reasons Not to Pay a Website Designer by Darren Strudwick
One of the major requirements of the Google algorithm (alogrithm = criteria laid out by Google which a website must meet in order to rank well in the search results) is that the content of any website should be fairly frequently refreshed or updated, hence the need for this blog section. So once in every while I have to add another page to this website with a couple of thousand words on it to keep the Google Gods happy.
The challenge of course is thinking what to write about and that is often the reason why I go months without adding to my blog, however on this day inspiration has struck. Today a client said something to me which I've heard perhaps 1000 times in the past. They said something that winds me up like nothing else (and probably winds up many other website designers or any one with their own business trying to earn money), they said IT WILL ONLY TAKE YOU 2 MINUTES!
So, what is bad about that? .....
It Will Only Take You 2 Minutes - One Phrase, So Many Meanings!
(1) Work for free - The primary implication is that the customer wants me to do work for them for free, but of course they can't quite bring themselves to directly ask for something free, so this is a slightly better way of going about it.
(2) Customer knows more about website design than I do! - By telling me a job will only take 2 minutes, the customer is implying that they know how fast I work. Quite often I am given a task which will take an hour, but before starting it, the customer seems pretty certain the length of time required will only be 2 minutes. Should it not be the other way around, should I not be telling the customer how long it is going to take?
(3) Website design is easy - I always think to myself when I am told it will only take 2 minutes, that the customer is implying my job is easy, after all, how can anything that only takes 2 minutes be difficult. It's just 2 minutes, it's ONLY 2 minutes. One of my favourite guitar players is Yngwie Malmsteen, he is rather fast on the fretboard and can play like lightening. There is a guitar solo of his which ONLY takes 2 minutes, surely it can't be that difficult!
(4) My time has no value - My business now services over 600 clients, there are literally not enough hours in the day to deal with all requests. Every minute is beyond prescious. Some days I only get 2 minutes to make time to eat. When asked to spare ONLY 2 minutes, I could be giving up my chance to eat for the day!
(5) The assumption I have no other customers - When a customer asks me to do a job and says it will only take you 2 minutes, what they fail to consider is the concept that not only do I have another 599 clients but possibly they too have all been on the phone earlier that day asking for a quick 2-minute job to be done. If you add that all up, not only are there not enough minutes in the day, but working 24 hours a day, every day forever without earning a penny, was not the plan I had in mind when I set up my business!
Of course in some instances the requested task in hand is genuinely easy and can be done fast, but is that still a reason to seek a discount on website design services? Should there be a relationship between the length of time it takes to carry out a website design request and the amount of payment asked for in return? In response to this, I always pose the thought ... When a pizza is ordered and it takes 30 mins to arrive, you pay the asking price, but what if that pizza arrives quickly? What if it arrives in only 2 minutes? Does that mean the pizza should now be free? If I go into a McDonalds and order a hamburger it only takes 2 minutes does that mean my hamburger does not need to be paid for?
If anything, the quicker a service is performed, the more you should pay for it. If you need a parcel delivered fast and over night delivery is the only option available, the courrier company will charge you more. When it comes to website design, people often expect jobs done fast and yet the faster things are done, they actually expect to pay less!
"It Will Only Take You 2 Minutes!" - Reasons Why You DO Need to Pay Your Website Designer
Many requests do indeed only take 2 minutes and in fact some requests are so easy they can be carried out in 30 seconds, so why should the customer be charged?
What a lot of customers fail to realise - not just in the website design industry but in many industries - is that there is a whole process going on behind the scenes which is not visible but which has a value and must be paid for. Much like if you watch a 2-minute cartoon, it's only 2 minutes but what went on behind the scenes to create those 2 minutes of animation?.. Quite possibly thousands of hours of work.
In order for a website designer to do a job which takes only 2 minutes, what is required?
(1) Knowledge & Expertise - The website designer might only be doing a 2 minute job, but it is a job that the customer can't do themselves because they lack the knowledge and expertise required. In order to be able to do a 2 minute job for any customer, a website designer first has to spend years learning the trade. To spend years learning how to provide a service and then not charge the customer for that service defeats the whole object of those years of studying.
(2) Experience - In my own case, I like to think my websites are quite good! But this was not always the case, my early attempts were terrible, but now I have ten years of experience. In my book, 10 years of exeprience is valuable. Any customer asking me to do anything for them is getting the benefit of my massive experience. There is a value to that which needs to be paid for.
(3) Marketing - In order for a website designer to be able to carry out a request for a customer, the website designer first needs to actually have a customer! Using my self as an example I have spent thousands of pounds in advertising. The whole reason I do that is to make money in the long run. Again it defeats the whole object if I spend a fortune on advertising and then don't charge for every service I provide.
(4) Office, Phone, Internet, Computer, Electricity! - When a customer asks a website designer to do a quick 2-minute job, the website designer first needs to pay for certain things - a computer, internet broadband, phone line, electricity, website editing software, an office from which to work from, a desk and a chair!.. the list is endless and the total cost can be thousands of pounds. Once you are aware of the costs involved, perhaps being asked to pay as much as £100 for a 2-minute job would now seem like a bargain!
(5) Storage & Backup - I can't speak for all website design companies, but in my case, once a 2 minute job is carried out, a further 10 minutes is spent backing up the new work to various places - external drives, discs, cloud storage etc. Not only is it time consuming to do this, but it also costs money to use cloud storage. If a website goes down or is lost, the first person to go bananas will be the owner of that website, the very same person who did not want to pay for the job that takes only 2 minutes.
In Summary ...
In summary I hope this was an informative blog. I am now going to email a customer who wanted some work done at a moment's notice. It's taking them a long time to pay me although I don't know why, in this age of online banking it should only take them 2 minutes!
I would like to say a big thank you to the vast majority of my clients who are only too happy and willing to compensate me for every second of my time.