Why I require a paid consultation as a web designer.
A paid consult may be unconventional in the world of web design, but I have some very good reasons for why it works.
There are three main reasons I have paid consultations with clients:
It’s like a trial.
In an hour, both parties can sense whether it’s the right fit.
It weeds out the wishy washy clients and allows them to go pull out someone else’s kishkes. We cover a lot of ground in our hour conversation; everything from your goals to your existing content to your vision. I explain how I work and we go through the nitty-gritty. I offer helpful insight and guidance that you can use whether or not you work with me. Should a client feel like, after an hour with me, they would prefer someone else’s work style/aesthetic/input- I totally understand and respect that. A consult fee is a lot cheaper than going into a project with a non-refundable deposit and realizing halfway through you no longer want to work with someone. This seems to be common for web designers- they don’t charge a consult fee but instead charge a non-refundable deposit equal to 25% of the total project. Depending on the project, you can lose several thousand dollars!
It allows me to give you the most accurate and fair quote.
A good quote can’t be provided with a generic “I want a website for my jewelry business. I’m selling 20 things, maybe more. And I want a newsletter.” That is super vague. As I ask you detailed questions about your site (How many products specifically? Do you already have a logo? Graphics? Product photos? How many pages do you want? Do you have copy?) a clearer picture is formed and I can estimate my time better. Since everything is ironed out before I start designing, there are no surprises for you (an extra 30 products is more money) or for me (“Can you add 30 more products??”).
I am an expert in my field and my time is valuable.
Similar to booking a consult with a doctor or lawyer, you schedule a time to speak with them, you pay and then you speak with them. You don’t call the lawyer five times before deciding to schedule a consult- that’s ridiculous and unacceptable. And yet, that’s precisely what people expect of web designers. Our work isn’t disposable and if you want something for nothing then I’d recommend asking a high school student to help you out. Asking a professional web designer to work for free is insulting to the craft and their passion. Would you work for free?
A quick recap of my credentials: I worked at Squarespace for several years, taught workshops on the platform, and helped thousands of customers build their sites and e-commerce stores. I have also been writing engaging copy and blog posts for years. When you work with me, I’m the full package. I know Squarespace like the back of my hand, can whip up a product description in a matter of seconds and breeze through the technicalities of setting up a site. All while educating you in the process! This kind of person comes at a price, and I firmly believe you get what you pay for. I take all my client’s goals very seriously and the feedback I’ve received as a result of my approachability and work ethic has been fabulous.
I’m tired of having to justify why I charge a consult fee, but ultimately those that see my value understand. I don’t offer my time for free because it takes away from paying clients. Most people who want my time for no money ask a million questions, leave the call unsure and then come back asking me to do more work for free. They usually aren’t serious about investing the time and money into a website which translates to wasting my valuable time. The clients that pay me without balking, meet their deadlines and are actively involved in the design process are the ones that deserve my attention. They make my world go round :)
As a one woman show, I do basically everything. My clients are in a similar boat. They are individuals with small businesses and put the pedal to the metal on a regular basis. We know what it's like to envision something, work hard and make it happen. Like it or not, your web designer is your partner in making your vision come true. Likewise, clients are my partner. I treat them like my equal because we are!
In short, a paid consult provides you, the client, insight into me as a human being and designer, the opportunity to garner expert advice and product knowledge you wouldn't otherwise have, and a no strings attached obligation. Interested?