When it comes to hiring a web design company, caution is advised. Web developers are not above suspicion in bamboozling their clients. Each year, unwary small to large corporations fall prey to these web design fraudsters, who “guarantee” creative and effective solutions. Meanwhile, the web design and development process becomes an unsavory transaction, where fly-by-night companies deploy everything from price gouging, disappearing without providing service, to even committing identity theft.
For a prominent, Raleigh mortgage company, hiring a fallacious web design firm was a $3500 lesson. With testimonials, a plethora of positive reviews and referrals published on other sites, the web development company garnered the publicity of an authenticated agency. However, once the lending company paid for their Web site, the web design company absconded with their money, disappearing without a trace.
Another business thought they had hired the best agency to design their new vitamin Web site. After interviewing a slew of contenders, they awarded their site to a web development company with an impressive portfolio and polished presentation. Five months following the initial consultation, the only task the web design company completed was cashing a $2000 retainer. Completely exhausted from the abominable ordeal, the vitamin company walked away without a refund or a completed Web site.
In another amazing case, identity thieves – posing as web designers, commandeered their clients’ credit card numbers; and then later, used the same information to open new merchant accounts. As for the exorbitantly priced Web site, certain illicit web designers use Web site templates to develop “customized” Web sites, thus overcharging their clients.
Fortunately, not all web designers disappear without providing service. Nick Singh, president of ImagingWebDesign.com has rehabilitated many clients victimized by unethical web design firms. “Ask specific questions before settling on a web designer,” he recommends.
For instance, here are four questions to qualify a web design company:
• How many hours of design work are necessary to create the new Web site?
• Are there any additional costs associated with optimizing the site?
• What aspects of the Web design are outsourced?
• How soon can you expect to see a mock-up, beta or working page of the site?
Mr. Singh offers additional web design advice, “Never pay for the entire site design up front. Obtain a web design agreement that completely outlines the delivery of work. Also, make sure that each payment is reflective of a specific milestone of the web development. For example, the initial payment would cover the cost of the logo and working layout of the home page on a scheduled date.”
In the interim, use the aforementioned tips to obtain a complimentary consultation from a credible web design company.