In honor of some of the best YouTube videos about Vendor/Client relationships, I wrote up a fictional (though realistic) dialogue between a Client and Designer. I’m sure we’ve all experienced some of these things before.
Client: I saw one of your designs and like your stuff. I think you are very talented. I want you to design something for me.
Designer: OK, what do you need?
C: I’m trying to start a business and I need a website. It should be pretty simple.
D: OK, I’d like you to fill out this Client Profile for me.
C: Wow, this is four pages long. Don’t you think it would just be easier for me to tell you?
D: No, I need to have something in writing so that I can refer back to it later. What is your budget by the way?
C: Oh, this is just a start-up company, we don’t really have a lot of money right now…
D: I see…
C: My idea for this website is so simple, anyway. I’m sure it wouldn’t take you long. You’re so talented.
D: Mmm hmmm…
C: Well, let me talk to my people and see what they say.
D: OK. And fill out this Client Profile form as well.
2 days later…
C: So, I talked to my people, and we’ve decided that we can pool our resources and offer you $250 to make our website.
D: Wow, that’s rather generous of you… Have you filled out my Client Profile form?
C: Yes, here you go. Some of the questions I didn’t think were very relevant. For example, “What colors do you have in mind for branding?” Actually, we don’t really know. That’s where you come in. I’m sure you’re great with colors. You can create a super logo for us! As well as some nice flyers!
D: So you want a logo and flyers too eh?
C: Yes, and if possible, could you put an ad in the newspaper for us. We are planning to open our doors in two weeks.
D: So, you want all of this done in two weeks? I think it will take a bit longer than “two weeks”….
C: But at least you can get the website done in time for the store opening?
D: It depends on what you want in your website…
C: We decided that we wanted a home page, blog, forum, poll, image gallery, links page, social networking, pop-up ads, and quizzes to direct customers to the materials that are just right for them!
D: That seems like a lot for $250…
C: Yes, but think of it as getting your name out there! You’d be doing us a great service, and there’s a high chance of future work. Also, we decided it would be OK to put a small link to your website on our homepage. That way, when people see our site, they’ll know you designed it. Think of it as free advertising! You’ll get your name out there, and more people will buy from you!
C: So, you have everything you need now right?
D: Do you have any competitor’s sites that I could look at?
C: Oh, we didn’t have time yet. You can do that as you start the design, right?
D: Do you have any photos that you’d like me to include?
C: Can’t you just Google some images for us?
D: What about images of your store location? Or your day-to-day business activities.
C: We’ve been so busy preparing to open this business, we haven’t had much time… Maybe you can come down to the store and snap some shots?
D: Are you serious? All this for $250?
C: Yes! You’re trying to establish yourself as a business right? Think of this as a first step in the right direction. It takes hard work and dedication to become a reputable provider of services. We’re doing you a favor asking you to design for us.
D: Mom and Dad! Come on! At least let me write up a contract then.
C: No, I don’t really think we need one. You trust us right? And we trust you.
D: It would include a payment schedule and a monetary breakdown of services.
C: Why don’t we just pay you half now, and half at the end?
D: (mumbles) I just really want you to see how your $250 would have to be “stretched” over this large project. Your logo will be worth about $5.
What about you?
Have you ever experienced anything like this? What kinds of client/designer relationship/communication frustrations have you encountered?