If so, you’re in luck!  I have *just* the gal for you.

My SEO post, part 2, will have to wait another week, because I’m counting on the therapeutic effect of writing this out to lower my blood pressure a bit.

So, I’m helping someone with their website.  Cute little niche site that hasn’t managed to break into the search engines yet, so isn’t getting much traffic.  Owner asks me, in addition to helping optimize her site, can I do a little programming thing as well.  I tell her, I’m not really a ‘techy’ but I’ll see what I can do.

Long story short…there’s not a chance in hell I’ll be able to pull this off.  After spending hours trying to do it, I concede, and hire a programmer to figure it out for me.  We agree on a price, I pay her, and she gets to work.

Next day, she emails me to say it’s more complicated than she originally thought, and can’t do it.  She says it might still be possible, but it would be more work, and there was a piece of the work that I would have to do before she could do her part. 

So, I do my part, and email her back saying, ‘I’ve done my piece.  Can you do yours?’ [this is highly paraphrased].  The next day I get an email saying the job is done.  BUT…it took longer than she anticipated and now I owe her more money.

I wasn’t aware that as a service provider, we are allowed to do work and then bill whatever we wanted after the fact, without any consultation.  That is great news though…I may start doing SEO for companies that haven’t even contacted me, and then send them the bill!  This opens up a whole new world of possibilites! [sarcasm alert]

Anyways, I emailed her back, saying that I would compromise and pay her half of what she asking, given that I knew she DID do a lot of work.  I mentioned that I was surprised that she would proceed with work before giving me a quote/estimate, and then just expect that I would pay whatever amount she decided.

A little while later…..

I try to go to the website she has worked on, and it’s BROKEN.  It doesn’t work.  Not AS big a deal when it’s your own site.  A BIG BIG deal when it’s a client’s site.

I email her to ask, ‘hey, what’s up with the site being down’, to which she replies,

‘You must have done something to it.  Sorry, I’ve spent enough time on this, good luck’.

Coincidence?  Probably.  But the thought did cross my mind that perhaps the site had a little…’accident’. I promptly wrote back and suggested she at least reverse everything she did.  Luckily, a while later she went in and undid her changes, and I’m only out a little bit of money and a lot of time.

This was actually a good reminder to me though:

1.  As someone providing a service to small businesses, I should *always* make sure to talk about fees up front…no surprises, and no extra work without getting approval from my client, and

2.  Get referrals! I’ve learned this one the hard way, more than once. It’s always better to get a referral from a friend or colleague when hiring anyone to help with your business. If you’re still stuck, there are great small business review sites where you can read reviews before you hire someone. 

Before I sign off, a reminder that there’s only a few days left in the Savvy Mom Mom Entrepreneur contest.  If you think Fussy Baby (and me!) are deserving of this award, would you go cast a quick vote by clicking here?

  • http://www.glowmarketing.ca Sharole Lawrence

    This sounds so unfair! You were being held hostage for sure. I would always get a written agreement in place that clearly states how to handle extra time. Also, when I know there may be an issue with a programmer, I change the access passwords first before confronting them. This way they have no leverage. Also, when having to fire a programmer, I have had the new programmer make a back-up copy of all the files first, just in case.

  • http://www.urbanmoms.ca/moms_the_word/ Jen

    Oh yeah, Holly. I HAVE BEEN THERE. Charged for time/work I did not approve only to end up with a substandard result. Keep the faith, man. Chalk it up to another lesson learned.

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