Tips for Clients Who Contract Work-At-Home Professionals

If you are a work-at-home professional, you’ll want to read Tips For Work-At-Home Professionals. If you are a client, continue reading the article below for some useful advice when conducting business online.

  1. Do your research. Would you buy the first house you see? Would you lease the first vehicle you come across? Some people spend more time deciding on which brand of sugar to purchase than they do which individual or company they desire to entrust their online presence to! Just because someone has good pricing, good terms, and a nice portfolio doesn’t necessarily mean they are reputable. Find out what their policies are regarding references. Ask around about them — social media is a powerful tool. Search Twitter using keywords that match their business name. Look through their portfolio and see if you can contact a random client by locating their website to inquire about their experience. Whether it was wonderful or horrible, most people are more than happy to divulge that information, especially if the company happens to offer referral bonuses!
  2. Be reasonable and perhaps even somewhat flexible. More and more people are doing business with individuals who work at home. Why? Because generally they are more accessible, less expensive, and willing to go the extra mile for their clientele. I have no problem catering to a 2am client with a crisis if I happen to still be awake. This being said, one must also take into consideration that in addition to being businesspeople, we also have lives — lives which, from time to time may interfere with our accessibility and perhaps even our work schedule. We all know that most benefits require us to make small sacrifices… one of the sacrifices you may have to make in order to reap the mountain of benefits you experience from contracting work-at-home business owners’ services is that you may experience delays. You should expect any delays to be communicated to you as quickly as possible. If you are asked to extend the target deadline and it is at all feasible for you to do so, you should be willing to grant an extension for appropriate circumstances. You may even be able to talk them into including a little something extra for the inconvenience :) I’ve been personally known to extend hosting for up to an entire year for patient clients who understand that life happens!
  3. Be receptive! We all have our preferences, and that’s great. There is nothing wrong with knowing exactly what you want. However, I’ve seen clients totally butcher amazing work and turning it into something the designer cringes at the thought of attaching their name to! Respect the experience and expertise of the people you trust to make your blog or website look good and give serious consideration to their insight and feedback. Let them take your ideas and translate them visually… and aesthetically. Just because you may like something doesn’t mean it looks nice and when it comes to online presence, it is important that the visual translation of your ideas ends up being something attractive and appealing. Something to basic won’t hold anyone’s attention very long, but something too busy will wear them out before they make it halfway through your site. Let the professional you choose assist you in deciding on what works — and what doesn’t! In the end, it’s always up to you, but being receptive of their input will benefit you greatly.
  4. Communicate clearly and thoroughly. Explain what you want in detail and avoid supplying one-word answers or answering questions with a simple yes or no. Most of the time, when you contract services you will receive a survey of some sort or at least a simple questionnaire. This is meant to relate more information about your project and provide a more insightful glimpse into where you want to go with it. For example, answering ‘What is your favorite color?’ by saying, ‘Blue,’ or ‘Have you ever had a website or blog before?’ by saying, ‘Yes,’ doesn’t tell someone much about you. Explain what shade or shades of blue you enjoy and give a little more of an idea of the type of website or blog you’ve operated or been associated with in the past. Things like this may not seem like much to you, but they communicate critical information to us!
  5. Read the terms of service or terms of use as well as any other posted policies thoroughly. If you are unable to find terms of service on a business website, request a copy prior to contracting services. Many terms stipulate that by requesting and/or approving a quote, submitting payment, or engaging in any sort of business directly with the company, you are bound to adherence to their terms regardless of whether you have read them or not… therefore, make sure you have read and fully understand them. If you have any questions, ask beforehand. If you believe the terms are unfair or will not protect your interest in the event something goes wrong, ask if their terms are negotiable. If not, keep looking until you find someone with more reasonable terms. When you feel uncomfortable, it’s always better to shop around. However, if the company has a solid reputation and a satisfaction guarantee, you are probably safe with more strict terms because any type of guarantee on services requires that they protect themselves from being taken advantage of.

Recommended reading: check out The Four C’s of Successful Working Relationships!

One Response Comment

  • I already paid someone to design a site for me. She passed the deadline, with no communication, and then when I went to her asking for a draft, she told me that her personal life had become very stressful and that she needed more time.

    OK, I get that. I said, “That’s fine, can we just cancel with a partial refund?” The terms of the refund were laid out to me (by her, very nicely by email) and I moved on to find another designer without even a shred of complaint.

    A day later, this designer sends me an email saying that I should have read the TOS closer, and that she is in fact not going to give me a refund. So, day one, refund. Day two, no refund.

    Because she clearly communicated to me that she would happily honor a refund, I took that as truth.

    Here I am, with no money and no site design.

    I do agree with #1, because if I would have just asked a few of my friends about this person, I would have been told that she is notorious for not completing her duties. Lesson learned, and money lost.

    If one of your clients emailed you asking for a refund, would you tell them yes, and then the next day say “Oh, nevermind what I said, see my TOS” or would you honor your word? I mean, who really made the mistake here?

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