I just got off the phone with a prospect calling to find out how much it would cost for a web site. I asked him to describe his business and then offered options for his web site. We ended up with a simple static site with content and pictures, plus a contact form for his site. Typically, we won’t do those types of sites because they are too basic.

In any event, I gave him a ballpark price. He then told me, “You are crazy!” I paused and said, “excuse me, did you call me crazy?” I added, “I assume you didn’t mean that?” He said, “you are crazy.”

He then went into how he found prices listed on web sites for $200 for a site. I said, sure – a template site. Or contract the work out to a freelance person in India. You can get those prices. But these are our prices and I know many companies that charge a lot more than us.

He said again, you are crazy. I said, I am not crazy, I have been in the industry for a long time and I know. He replied, “I am in the industry also and you are crazy.” I thought to myself, if he is in the industry, why not just build it yourself? But I did not say that, it wouldn’t be nice. He then started yelling at me. At that point, I just hung up the phone – I don’t need that.

Website Comments

  1. will

    I don’t like giving pricing over the phone simply because they never tell you 100% of what they really want.

    If he calls back, tell him good luck with that $200 site. I’m sure it’ll go over well.

  2. knupNET

    Some people don’t realize the difference between a REAL website and a simple template website. With all of these “Free website builders” and “cheap templates”, etc… The average customer assumes all websites cost that much. Frustrating. They need to understand how much your time is worth 🙂

    “I’m in the industry too”… sure you are! ha…

  3. Chris Garrett

    I just tell those sorts of folks that I charge more for good reason but good luck anyway. One good reason to charge more is to filter out such abusive customers 🙂

  4. handsome rob

    Here’s a great outsourcing folly..

    A few months ago one of my clients got 2 emails from a competitor sent to 2 different addresses (listed on 2 different sites in a similar industry) asking for a link.

    Both were the same, obviously a form email, and the English was pretty weak. The funny part was that whoever they farmed this out to made a type in the URL of the site they were asking for links to.

    Guess who bought that domain 🙂

  5. Mike Maddaloni

    Unfortunately this happens to a lot of us in the industry. Part of what we do is helping our clients, and a cold-caller prospect doesn’t realize that.

    When I get a call like that, I ask if they are talking to other people. One time, someone said they were talking with Geek Squad! Needless to say, I courteously ended the conversation.


  6. Brian

    It always seems to me that clients are shocked by the price unless they are a large business, or in an industry used to dealing with expensive services (financial services, mortgage brokers etc.).

    I never give a quote over the phone, but I’ve taken to asking clients their ballpark budget before they even start talking about site features.

    Many times it has saved me a lot of time and effort when they quote some very low budget ($800-$1000), then start listing a large list of features. I am usually able to interrupt them, and explain to them that their budget is an order of magnitude too low for the site they have in mind.

    Some clients get upset when I ask this right off the bat, assuming that I am going to quote them at the upper end of their budget because I already know what they are willing to pay. That in itself is a great filter for clients – I don’t want to deal with clients that won’t trust me.

    Hanging up on that guy was the right move. The gentleman acted incredibly unprofessional towards you, and would have been no benefit to your business.

    As a sidenote, the other day I had a client approach me, and start describing a site he wanted. He summarized it that it was meant to be an industry-specific Facebook. He wanted all the features of Facebook clone, including the developer API! His budget was under $10k…

  7. Hawaii SEO

    FUNNY – You’re a Mad Man! ;^)

    I’m sure he thinks the cost is crazy because he has little or no confidence in his online marketing skills. I’m also sure he sees this expense as a commodity. (You want $20 for a gallon of Milk? You’re Crazy!) I don’t think the prospect understands the difference.


    thats very funny

    WOW u hung up on him

    u should of made him nuts or something

  9. Lea de Groot

    My experience has been that anyone acting as potential client who says they were, or are, in the industry is not, and are just trying to make themselves sound less gullible.
    Its like telling a used car salesman you are a mechanic in the hopes that he won’t try and trick you with a lemon.
    and, yes, basically it means they don’t trust you and should be a signal that you aren’t in the ‘sell’ part of the buying cycle.

    I always ask a potential client for a ballpark budget and when they wriggle I try to explain that I can do an infinite amount of work for them, I can build the taj mahal… but most people don’t want a taj mahal (the neighbours talk) – so I have to work out what they want and what they can afford 🙂

  10. Kim Krause Berg

    What a shame to hear about that, but I appreciated hearing your story, as I’m sure others in the industry (for real), are. I doubt he did any research on your business, services or reputation before contacting you. Could have saved you both a lot of aggravation.

  11. mike

    You are crazy.
    Crazy to have listened to the guy for so long.
    I would have taken his $200, and set him up at microsoft-build-a-free-website-live, and told him for support he can call 1-800-jump-in-my-crazy-lake.
    Then I would have charged him $75/ hr for the consultation. Minimum 5 hours. And I would throw in a free coffee at 7-11 – redeemable on July 11th.
    Once I’ve spent way too much time on the phone with a prospective client who I realize is going to be a p.i.t.g.*, I make sure he knows that it’s gonna cost him $1000 just to breathe near me. I figure, that’s good for my rep. – Jaguars and Porsches are real expensive, and their good. So if I’m real expensive, by association I must be good, too.

    Good and crazy.
    Keep up the great work, RB!!!

    *Industry parlance for Pain in the Gluteous

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