We love working for Seattle clients on development or design projects. It is an easy hop down the highway, preferably made at off-peak times since Washington State does not believe in building roads or non-Boondoggle mass transit projects (Hear that “Big Dig” we’re coming for you!).
Seattle is a funny area for Web Design & Development. Take us as an example. We are a company. We have an office. We have all local designers and developers. You will probably talk to the same people year after year because we have had less than 5% turn-over since we started back in 2000.
We tend to get a lot of work from a certain breed of company. This breed basically has very nice offices, slick salespeople and puts a lot of time into fancy proposals and “the process”.
What they do not do, is the actual work apparently .. but you wouldn’t know that from talking to them. They in turn, sub out your projects to people like us. Want to confused this breed of salesperson? Just ask them who specifically will be working on their project and watch them either
1) Tell you the name of someone who will probably NOT be working on your project.
2) Make up a name.
3) Tell you that will be decided later.
The last time we competed against a firm like this, after seeing this firm in the waiting room, I challenged the client to ask them this question. Apparently they did and they fumbled it bad. Sorry folks, no points for second place. Honestly rules.
In our area there also seems to be a large number of single individuals “faking” being a larger firm than they really are. Now I know this is common in other industries, especially whenever the ambiguous word “consultant” is invoked, however with Web Firms it seem to be more prevalent. Selecting a vendor is an important decision. It can make or break a project or even a business if you are building your business around a new application, portal or website.
A lot of people in our industry have full-time jobs doing something else, but still act like a 9-5 firm. This is a huge disservice to their clients.
Here are some examples and patterns to watch out for:
- Any firm that uses the words: Studios, We, Our, Staff, Employees, etc.. – yet doesn’t have a page devoted to Staff Bios or Resume. (To be fair – here’s our Seattle Web Developers bio page and I need to add recent hires.)
- Any firm or individual that lists portfolio pieces or clients by name, but does not link to the website or describe in detail what they did. This usually indicates that they were either employed at that Company or we not 100% responsible for the project.
- Any firm that does not list a mailing or office address.
- Any firm that seems to have a half dozen email address yet they are answered by the same person.
- Any firm that cannot tell you “who” will be working on your project – this means they take all jobs and then scramble to find people to do the work. These are called unnecessary middlemen in the real world.
- Any website that uses a non-professional email like AOL, Yahoo, Gmail, etc.
- Any firm that talks about their multiple locations or offices, yet doesn’t list addresses. These are probably apartments.
- Any firm with a poor looking website; a website or portfolio that consists mainly of web templates or that can sell you pretty much the same solution no matter what you tell them you want. When all you know how to use is a hammer, everything is a nail.
Well, I am out of time for now. What do you think?