with Aliza Sherman
If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.
To learn more about Aliza, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! and her website, www.mediaegg.com.
What do you do when you are just one of several consultants your client is using on a project and one of the other consultants is clearly a scam artist?
This is a situation I was confronted with recently. I was brought on to help oversee some of the Web initiatives and asked to sit in on a meeting with a Web development company. In short order, I recognized all the signs of a scam.
Having run my own Web development firm in the mid-90s, I watched other Web companies do one or more of the following things to their clients:
1. Use lots of technical jargon to confuse and intimidate.
2. Set up the bare bones minimum site then charge an arm and a leg for each and every add-on even though those things should have been in the first iteration if they had done a proper strategy.
3. Inflate all prices arbitrarily based on what the market or client would bear without any rhyme or reason - just to get as much money as possible in the short term.
4. Keep a client’s site “hostage” by not providing workable admin tools so the client can update on their own and over-charging for every small update the client needs.
As I sat through the meeting with this client, I was frustrated as I listened to the Web developers tossing jargon around and speaking to one another using technical terms.
Then I was floored to see that even after an initial “strategy” meeting with the client, they created a Web application that was so bare bones, it was embarrassing. It didn’t even have the most common features that are offered by a multitude of other companies and that are pretty much standard these days.
In the end, I wasn’t surprised that to bring the tool “up to the client’s expectations,” they were going to charge an exorbitant amount of money for features that should have been in the application in the first place.
Now I’m faced with having to tell the client that they are being ripped off. I don’t offer these services myself so I don’t think it will appear as if I’m trying to get the business, but I’m trying to figure out how to craft what I’ll say. What I want to say is:
“Get out now while you can. Just cut your losses and run. There are so many other companies out there that are actually reputable and won’t rip you off. But right now, you are being SCAMMED with a Capital S.”
Can I get away with saying that?
Have you ever had a client bring on a disreputable consultant to work with you on a project? How would you handle a situation like this?
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