Christian Web Designers Beware!

SPEAK YOUR MIND

A few months ago, I received a call from a person claiming to be searching for some “Christian web designers” to work on some of his agency’s client projects – one of them being a talent-based reality show. I should point out that although Studio 544 does not specifically advertise services as “Christian”, I thought it sounded like an interesting proposition so I listened to the gentleman’s sales pitch and so the adventure began!

Over the period of the next few weeks, information was shared and contract negotiations discussed. The gentleman informed me on several occasions that he had enough work to keep me busy on a full-time basis and at one point he mentioned the possibility of doing up to 4 sites per day once I got familiar with his system. Yes, you read that correctly. 4 SITES PER DAY!!

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Needless to say, I thought this sounded a bit enthusiastic on his part but I went along with it knowing that if I could even produce 2-4 small sites per week, it would be a nice revenue stream for my company. After days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months, a contract was finally ironed about between us. I say “contract” in the loosest terms as much of the wording was irrelevant to the actual work being contracted.

And this is when the craziness started! Without going into too much detail, I just want to point out that as a freelance designer, you need to be careful about the types of companies and projects that you deal with. What I find most reprehensible is how people will use the concept of “Christian” to not only take advantage of people but use it as a marketing gimmick to make themselves look like something they are really not. While I cannot confirm that this individual has used this same technique to scam other freelance web designers, the odds are pretty good that Studio 544 was not his first victim.

Does it sound too good to be true?

Having been in the web design business for over 20 years, I have learned how to research the companies and people who contact me to work on their projects before any contracts are signed. In this case, one of the main factors that I looked at was the other company’s BBB rating. Apparently an “A+” rating can sometimes just mean that nobody has bothered to report the company for unethical business practices.

Needless to say, that was the case with this particular company and the contract that took so long to iron out, was never honored by the other company. When it came time to getting paid for work done, a list of medical ailments longer than Noah’s Ark was used as excuses why payment had not been made.

Protect yourself by following some of these tips when dealing with an unknown client:

    • How long have they been in business?
    • Are they responsive to your questions or do they tend to offer a lot of excuses?
    • What is their BBB rating?
    • Google their business to see if there are any complaints or scammer comments related to their business or organization
    • Ask for references of people or clients they have worked with

In conclusion, I always like to point to the old adage that “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

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Are you marketing yourself as a Christian Web Designer?

Freelance web designers beware! Do your due diligence and if you get a strange call from a stranger looking for a “Christian web designer” that sounds too good to be true, say a prayer and run the other way!
Studio 544 has been in business since 1998 and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. The president, Mark Lewandowski has over 20 years of marketing and copywriting experience to go along with his web expertise. Many of Studio 544’s clients have worked with other web design companies and web designers who have promised things they could not deliver.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Lewandowski is a freelance web designer at Studio 544 in Hutchinson, MN specializing in setting up websites for small businesses, individuals and nonprofit organizations.