You need a new contractor
A few weeks ago I told a client of 6 years, that I could no longer update their website. I explained to her that I didn’t have to time to give them the top quality service I like to give to my clients. I wasn’t comfortable with giving them answers like, “I’ll post the updates soon…” or “I’ll try to have the changes up by the end of the week.” (even though they were comfortable with it).
The bottom line was I had outgrown the client (or the client had not grown with me).
While I try to resist the urge to talk in metaphors and analogies, they always seem to convey my ideas very well. Here goes…
My design career is like a tree, and this client of 6 years represented a low lying branch that wasn’t getting sunlight so I had to clip it off. It was doing nothing but sucking up my resources without providing any value to me.
Yeah, that’s right, this isn’t just about the client, it’s just as much about the designer too.
My client is computer and internet illiterate (I’ve mentioned her before) and asked me if my not working with her meant that she didn’t need to pay for website hosting anymore.
Heh. She’s a riot.
She has asked me what website hosting was in the past, so I repeated the same story as before:
“No [Terry], website hosting is like paying rent on your apartment, it has nothing to do with design updates done on your site… you still owe me for hosting each year… there’s a server that ‘houses’ all the files for your website, and your domain name, well, that’s sort of like a PO Box that forwards to your ‘address’…”
She asked me if there was cheaper hosting, and I told her I could guarantee there was cheaper hosting than mine (I’m a Dreamhost reseller), and that she was free to use whomever she wanted. All I needed to do was burn all her website files onto a CD-ROM for her.
I explained to her that I provided a service, that if she ever needed a new email address or her site was down, anything, i was there to handle things.
She dropped the subject.
In the end, I dropped her as a client because I had ended up being a contractor. I was spackling walls, replacing beams, replacing tiles in the bathroom.
I’m not a contractor.
I’m an architect.
I’m a designer.