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The Cost Of Changing Your Mind

September 12, 2014
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Scenario: Your web project is nearly complete, but you’ve changed your mind about something. A piece of functionality that you wanted and that has been demonstrated to you as working, is no longer required. You’ve told the developer of the change, and they say that the quoted price remains the same. You don’t understand why.

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This happens a lot. The reason for last-minute changes is that nobody ever really knows exactly if something will work brilliantly from a visual perspective until they’ve put it all together. You can wireframe it, storyboard it, and mock it up a million different ways, but when the final functionality is in place, it might not quite work as well as you expected it to.

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An experienced web developer will understand that.

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A good web developer will always factor in extra time for minor changes. Within reason, of course. A little colour change here or rearranging items in a sidebar there, should all be covered by the initial quote. If you want change after change after change though, you should still expect to be charged for it. It isn’t something that we at RetroStar Studios usually do – depending on the amount of work involved, of course – but we can’t blame other web developers for doing it.

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Aside from changes, if you’re asking the developer to remove something that has been custom coded for your site, then you could find that you have to pay for it anyway. Also, if you’re asking the developer to majorly change something that has already been created to your original specification, you could find that they want to charge you extra.

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Real Life Situation

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One client a friend of RetroStar Studios worked with a year or so ago wanted some custom code written to grab a number of different Twitter feeds, and merge them together in a single stream of updates in the sidebar of their site – much like you see on some of the bigger news sites, where all of their reporters’ tweets are shown in one place. Having some experience in this area, the developer quoted them for a few hours of custom coding for this, on top of the overall site build cost. When the site was delivered, the client decided against the Twitter stream idea altogether and asked the developer to remove it. They then held up payment of the invoice when they realised that the custom coding charge was still in place. As it turned out, the developer had to just write it off before they would pay him a http://www.buyecigs.info/748-e-v2-cigs-coupon-code-st-paul-a dime for their now-active website, which was now making them the money that they had intended it to make.

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They couldn’t understand why they had to pay for something that they hadn’t essentially taken delivery of. In some ways, that’s understandable. If you go to a grocery store and pick up eggs and milk but then decide against buying the eggs and put them back on the shelf, the clerk doesn’t still charge you for the eggs, after all.

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But here are the subtle differences:-

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  1. The eggs you put back on the shelf can be sold to another customer for the same price, as they weren’t created solely based on your specification in order to be sold to you. They’re eggs. They’re there. You buy them or you don’t. It generally makes no difference to anyone but you. (OK, the chance of the eggs going bad and needing to be thrown out goes up ever so slightly for every customer that doesn’t buy them, but that’s negligible and covered in the store’s expected wastage calculation anyway.)
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  3. Because of the first point, you putting the eggs back on the shelf hasn’t cost the store anything at all. The store doesn’t need to spend extra hours modifying the eggs in order to make them acceptable to another shopper, or so that they work in another shopper’s frying pan configuration for example. The eggs will probably just be bought by someone that wants to buy eggs, and at the same price you were going to pay.
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be Clear That You Are Not Offering Them Anything Other Than The Consultancy Job Though, In Order To Prevent Against A Conflict Of Interest.

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The fact is that in cases where you change your mind after seeing the final or near-final work, the developer has already spent the time coding the piece that you want to remove. Nobody is to blame here, as changes do happen and are required (as we’ve said) but the developer could have spent that custom coding time earning the same money working on another project for another client. They wouldn’t have spent the time doing the work if you hadn’t asked them to, in short. If you’re working with a freelancer, those few hours of “lost” work could be the difference between them making a profit this month, and them being loaded with stress as they try to scrape together the extra dollars to keep a roof over their head. It sounds melodramatic but in such a competitive marketplace, it’s not necessarily a million miles from the truth.

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We aren’t saying that you should feel sympathy here. The plight of your web professional or agency of choice isn’t your problem unless it gets in the way of them completing the agreed work. Sorry workers, but business is business after all. It should however be the standard rule that if you ask somebody to do some work and they do it, they get paid the amount you agreed to pay them for it. It isn’t their fault that you changed your mind. There’s even a small case to be made for them charging you for spending extra time removing the functionality that you changed your mind about!

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Look at it this way. If a secretary was tasked with doing four hours’ of filing and after she’d finished the job, you suddenly decided that you wanted things to be filed a different way or you wanted the files to be thrown out entirely, you wouldn’t DEDUCT four hours of pay from her wage that month, would you? Why would it be acceptable to treat your web professional any differently?

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The simple rule is this: If you web developer spends time on something for you, it is not – and never really should be – considered to be FREE.

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On The Flipside…

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You COULD be being screwed over. We realise that bad, greedy, inexperienced, or otherwise unscrupulous developers take advantage and try to charge through the nose for the smallest of changes. If you’re not sure about what you’re being charged for and you have nowhere else to turn, sometimes it’s worth paying a freelancer with a good reputation to take a look at your project for an hour. Ask them whether or not the price you’re being quoted for your changes is fair in relation to the overall project cost. Ask them if you should have to pay for something if you no longer want it.

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It could be that the $30 you pay for an hour’s consultancy could save you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars on the project. Be clear that you are not offering them anything other than the consultancy job though, in order to prevent against a conflict of interest. If it turns out that you’re being ripped off and you would like the consulting freelancer to pick up the work instead, you can deal with that later. You don’t want to get into a situation where the freelancer is telling you that you’re being ripped off, as he or she knows that they’ll be able to pick up the work when once you – possibly unfairly – fire your current developer.

 

A Little Colour Change Here Or Rearranging Items In A Sidebar There, Should All Be Covered By The Initial Quote.

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Heck, you can even ask us! Drop us an email and we’ll gladly try to give you some advice if we can.


View the original here, together with videos and pictures: http://retrostarstudios.com/the-cost-of-changing-your-mind/

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