I was at a party last night and word got to a gentleman, let’s call him Chris, that I’m a web developer. So he engaged me and started telling me about an water equipment rental business he’s starting, and how he’s interested in a website. He’s hoping for it to manage his events and be able to handle e-commerce. Sounds pretty simple, and I was imagining how I could help use the site to go the extra step and be his primary database for rentals and purchases, or at least tie into it. Also, I asked if he’d want a custom design.
It was at this point that I wanted to figure where this guy was really at in his desire for a website, and threw out a very low, ballpark estimate of what he could expect. Chris reeled in horror, and much more than I was expecting. He was looking for a figure in the hundreds, not thousands! Much to my chagrin, Chris then proceeded to tear apart the web industry and explain vehemently how he’s not asking for much and those prices are ridiculous, etc… Ugh. This is why I prefer to just program and not deal with sales.
Here’s my question for you guys, how do you explain to someone who knows nothing of web development that their expectations are just unrealistic? And how do you deal with these events? Do you realize this guy’s just looking for a free site, offer some cheap advice, and move on? I’m always caught flat-footed in these moments.
What I ended up doing was telling him to use something like Wix to just build the site himself and look further into having the site made for him if and when his business takes off. I then said he could email me questions, and I’d give free advice… He offered to pay for my consulting, but I didn’t want Chris having expectations tied to my consulting because he “paid me”.