Hammer it Home

This is going to come across as a bit of a rant, but it’s a rant with purpose, it’s a rant that I feel every single person in the web design field can contribute to abolish.

Let’s get one thing straight, we might be creative, artistic, any other word that fits your persona but we are in a service industry. However we dress it up, we are a service industry. I feel like we, as designers must be doing a bad job of branding ourselves as our clients don’t seem to agree.

I’ll put my rant into context, our freezer broke down a couple of months back, we called a specialist who came round to our house, pulled out our freezer and took a look at the back and promptly told us it was unrepairable, charged us £45 call out fee and promptly went on his way 5 minutes later. This is how I expected this to work, I was calling this guy out from doing other paid jobs, to come and look at my freezer and use his skills, that I don’t have, to tell me whether I need to buy a new one or not.

I have had two incidents crop up in the past month, both have been from clients who think they can just not pay their invoice. Can I have a refund on the time I spent on your project please, then you can have a refund.

The first has just decided it’s “ok” to ask for a deposit refund because “they” don’t want the website anymore. The second, a logo design where the client said they had a “great idea” of what they wanted, that turned out when they saw it in the flesh, they didn’t like. I had banked on completing it in the allotted time but then couldn’t allocate anymore time to them due to the other clients that week,  so they went elsewhere, but decided that because I didn’t complete the final design, it means I shouldn’t be paid for the time I did spend on their project.

Why is this? How has this crept into our industry and why, when it’s accepted in other service industries, is it so hard for our clients to accept our time is just as valuable? In-fact, we aren’t as bad as solicitors, who I’ve been in regular contact with about one of the above projects this week (I will post about this at a later date), who charge not only by the hour for their time, but also per email/letter read and for time spent on the telephone.

How can we hammer this point home? It’s our time, and time spent working on projects that they ask us to do, is time that we can’t spend on another project and our invoices should always reflect this. It’s that simple, but what are we doing wrong as an industry that means our clients are thinking differently?

Let’s, please, change this.