June 20, 2007
ed note: This article was written at the request of several Better Business Bureaus in the Greater Toronto area and is distributed to small businesses through regional BBBs. SiteProNews is happy to reprint it here.]1. Can I see your Portfolio?
They should have a sample of previous work readily available for you to review, often referred to as their portfolio. When reviewing it, remember that this is a sample of their best work so if you feel that they do not have enough experience or you are not impressed by the quality their work then walk away.
2. Do you work from home?
If they work from home this is often a problem. A web developer who works from home will have limited resources. You are safer to choose someone who has an office because they satisfy more clients to pay their bills. You will find that they are much more reliable and accessible, whether by phone, email, or in person.
3. How many full time staff members do you have and what do they do?
They should be able to answer this without hesitation. If each their staff has specialized tasks, they are tend to be more organized, and should be capable of handling many projects at a time. If it is just the one person, you will have nobody else to talk to if your project is delayed.
4. Will any part of my project be outsourced?
If they can not answer this question or seem hesitant to provide any details then this is a problem. It is not uncommon for companies to outsource material, but it’s not good when they are not open about it. If the majority of the work is not going to be done in-house, then you might be better off finding someone else.
5. How long will it take you to complete my website?
If they cannot answer this question, run away! A good web developer will be able to clearly outline how long your website will take to complete and what they will need from you. The average web site with pictures and text should take no more than 2 weeks from start to finish.
6. How much will it cost?
They should be able to give you a rough estimate right away followed by a detailed estimate in writing after they have the information they need from you. Be sure to ask about their preferred payment method. If they say cheque or credit card then you are on the right track.
7. Do I have to pay a deposit?
If they ask for a deposit this is not uncommon. A 50% deposit for projects estimated to take about 2 weeks is fair. For longer projects the payments should be divided into smaller pieces with a deposit of no more than 20%.
8. What is your refund policy?
If they do not have some sort of refund policy then they do not stand behind the quality of their work. Mistakes happen, but it is important that will ensure that they complete your website as planned.
9. Have you done any charitable work?
If they volunteer their services to charities then they are generous and not just focused on the bottom line. This also means that they will be less likely to have unfair pricing.
10. Can you begin my website today?
If say “yes” and have answered the previous questions well then you have found a winner. If they need to call you back or say anything else, they might be too busy or not organized enough to handle your website so keep looking.
Author: Brian J. Kumarasamy works with International Web Development Corporation (IWD), a full service web technology firm located in