PDA

View Full Version : Careful about unethical web designers over-charging for theme work


tankman1989
04-17-2012, 11:10 PM
It's sad that the old saying "If you want something done right, do it yourself" is still alive and kicking. I would have hoped that with so much specialization in today's world that finding people to do specialized work would have gotten easier rather than harder (or just as hard).

I started a thread about a month ago about the results I got from posting an ad looking for a web designer. I made the mistake of saying where most of the responses originated and was called a racist for it, it makes me wonder what the demographics are of this site.

Well, to make sure that I didn't falsely accuse the designer/developer I have been doing a lot of research into themes and templates that are available - largely looking for one that I might use for my sites.

In my search I found an exact replica of the "original template" that the designer supposedly worked up for me, it was just a jpg of what the site layout would look like. The charge was 5 hours at $15/hr, which is about 2 weeks wage in their country of origin. I claimed that they were scamming or not a professional developer if it took them that long and was called a racist for that as well, lol.

Well, today I found a theme that is 95% identical (he changed the site title to fit my business with the banner I sent him) - that has been available and free for over a year. Not only was this scammer lying to me he was committing copyright infringement by claiming it was his original work.

I'm not going to open the same can of worms as the last time but I will say that any business who is looking for a web developer to beware of hiring outside the US in the normal "out sourcing" countries - IDK about countries like Great Britain, Australia, NZ, etc I imagine those won't have the same results as i've talked to developers from them and they seemed more price appropriate (maybe being more specific and "explicit in project expectations would clear up issues). Some of these scammers are using US based VoIP numbers to make it look like they are US based so if you want to verify that they are local I would ask for a mailing address - mail something which they can verify by calling you back as soon as they receive it - to verify that they are US based. So if you are in NYC and mail to Arkansas (where my guy "was) they should get the mail in 2-3 days and call you as soon as they get it and verify the contents. If you don't do something like this IDK what you can expect from a business relationship with them.

Good luck and be careful unless you are dealing face to face.

compnet
04-17-2012, 11:19 PM
I claimed that they were scamming or not a professional developer if it took them that long and was called a racist for that as well, lol.

You were called racist for calling an entire country that is 1/6th the world's population lazy based on your interaction with a few people.. Don't know why I'm posting, you still won't get it.

And most people here won't need some mail scheme to avoid getting scammed, they have common sense.

Cornerstone Technologies
04-17-2012, 11:21 PM
Its best to find someone local, if you are going to source someone that is going to do this for you. In our area (Pennsylvania) you will have a hard time finding someone that can do what is requested for under $1000. I labored over hiring out for someone that can do this as well, and I got quotes from $200 (complete **** by the way) to $10K. The truth of the matter, many of the people I talked to that I leaned towards were just re-jiggering a Wordpress theme. I just spend the time looking for a theme that was comparable with what I wanted to do.

I would keep looking at wordpress, as it is unbelievably easy to work with.

16k_zx81
04-17-2012, 11:41 PM
Tank, whethre you like it or not you're in a global marketplace. What that means is that essentially cheap labour prices are readily available through an open market.

As is the case with any market, business owners want to (need to) cut labour costs so that they can compete. On an otherwise even playing field, the guy who's paying 100% for local labour is going to lose out to the guy who's paying 30% or 50% of that by outsourcing offshore.

While I share your lament that this means that 'first world' countries miss out on the jobs, I cant share your criticism that quality work is somehow the exclusive domain of countries with wealth.

Ive done a lot of outsourcing, and while the addage 'you get what you pay for' is generally true within a given population, its soon proved false when comparing first with third world labour. The quality and professionalism is there as long as you are prepared to pay a reasonable OFFSHORE rate for the work.

The principles of hiring are the same - look for references and experience. Verify this before the hire, and generally speaking, that will provide a level of protection.

To generalise that workers 'offshore' are somehow en-masse producing lesser quality work is simply wrong in my experience.

There is also a significant issue here of management. Where most of us are used to managing staff face-to-face, there's a different skillset involved in managing staff online, via email, and in the context of conversations where other parties do not have English as a first language. This is not prohibitive, but requires developing a totally different approach to get the same result that would be possible using 'local' skilled staff.

--

An aside, on the subject of 'racism', personally I think most of us are here to discuss professional and technical issues.

For those who want to slam others because of their personal beliefs, its certainly not conducive to technical and professional exchange of ideas.

There are plenty of forums where political discussions are available to be entered into. This isnt the place for it.
.

Techless
04-18-2012, 12:02 AM
Everyone you do business with has the potential to be a scammer. Use your head and don't send payment until you see a working version of the final product.

callthatgirl
04-18-2012, 12:42 AM
The charge was 5 hours at $15/hr,

:confused:

You kinda got what you paid for. Most website designers I know charge $40-$75.

NorthernSpares
04-18-2012, 12:52 AM
The charge was 5 hours at $15/hr,

:confused:

You kinda got what you paid for. Most website designers I know charge $40-$75.

Agree... I don't know if you have come across the saying "You pay peanuts, you get monkeys" It holds true. In your part of the world I am sure there is someone who would be happy to take the work from you for the appropriate compensation however if your not willing to pay the going rate, expect the worst*

*Disclamer.

I know people who are prepared to work for peanuts however there are good reasons for this. Students wanting to build portfolio's. People who are on the Breadline with skills (Sadly too many) and people who you have built good, proper and honest relationships with who would be only too happy to help a bud for a couple of quid. YMMV However.

tankman1989
04-18-2012, 08:05 PM
The charge was 5 hours at $15/hr,

:confused:

You kinda got what you paid for. Most website designers I know charge $40-$75.

I would agree with you if they were from the US. I found the guy who was advertising as a "local" Web developer who I later found out was located in India. I didn't want to be accused of being a racist for not giving him a chance so I agreed to allow him to work up a proposal and when we talked about pay I was blown a way by what he demanded. I still found that $15/hr there was better than $65 if he was going to be doing about 5 sites and I was paying out of pocket, I figured I'd give him a chance. He comes back with a screen shot of a popular free theme with my company banner pasted across the banner section and said that work had taken him 5 hours. I told him he either wasn't a professional if that took him that long for just an image with no coding or he was a scammer.

I just recently emailed him from another email domain and he is still running his scam, IDK if anyone actually falls for it but if he makes $40, that is what he makes in a week at his job, so scamming people is well worth it for him. virtually NO risk and HIGH payoff, all reasons to commit a crime. This is why I warned people about these scams.

anglian
04-18-2012, 08:46 PM
So anyone charging less than the average for your local market but more than they can earn in their local market is a scammer.

I have outsourced work to people all over the world, I look at the results and the amount I pay for the work, If I oay someone $300 for a weeks work where the average salary in their location is $1/week then good for them. As long as the work is up to scratch I am OK with that.

It is a shame that they tried to sell you a template for $75, but in all fairness WTF do you expect for $75? Even outsourcing to poorer countries this is still cheap and I would expect nothing more than a ripped template for that amount of money.

altrenda
04-18-2012, 08:47 PM
I don't know why you care about the going wages in your contractors country.

You asked for a service, got quoted a price, it's either worth it to you or it isn't. Are you trying to take advantage of him because he lives in a lower income country?

I don't tell my clients my costs or expenses; they either agree to my rates or go somewhere else if they don't like my prices.

If you can't do it yourself on Wordpress or Squarespace, maybe it's worth what he's charging to modify that existing theme.

red12049
04-19-2012, 01:03 AM
I would agree with you if they were from the US. I found the guy who was advertising as a "local" Web developer who I later found out was located in India. I didn't want to be accused of being a racist for not giving him a chance so I agreed to allow him to work up a proposal and when we talked about pay I was blown a way by what he demanded. I still found that $15/hr there was better than $65 if he was going to be doing about 5 sites and I was paying out of pocket, I figured I'd give him a chance. He comes back with a screen shot of a popular free theme with my company banner pasted across the banner section and said that work had taken him 5 hours. I told him he either wasn't a professional if that took him that long for just an image with no coding or he was a scammer.

I just recently emailed him from another email domain and he is still running his scam, IDK if anyone actually falls for it but if he makes $40, that is what he makes in a week at his job, so scamming people is well worth it for him. virtually NO risk and HIGH payoff, all reasons to commit a crime. This is why I warned people about these scams.

So... You can't do it, but you somehow have the knowledge to know that it shouldn't have taken as long as the sub contractor claimed? And you somehow have personal knowledge of what he earns per week? Not to mention the question of what difference does it make what he earns from his full time employer? Perhaps your customers should start wondering the same things about you....

You have to be one of the more ignorant a$$e$ I've run across on the Interwebs...

Rick

Comerwebs
04-19-2012, 01:07 AM
My website design rates are $65/hour. Though most of my work is a straight price now a days.

Rob_NNCC
04-19-2012, 04:28 AM
Tankman, I feel you have no right messing with web design. From the last thread on this, you obviously lacked even passing knowledge with industry standard professional web design software. Many sights/designs look the same. Making a site from scratch can take a long time. My wife makes the templates for our websites, and while I never charge what it takes her, she can take 15+ hours for the design as she is very methodical and particular on the look and feel of the site.

In short, I feel you know 'enough to be dangerous' in web design. I also find your views to be offensive and sadly a sign of the times in 'first world countries'. The feel that you are entitled to more money and a better/easier way of life just because you live in the US of A. It is true in the UK as well. Just look how Top Gear dicked around and ruined all those people's lunches while feeling no remorse in the India special.

tankman1989
04-19-2012, 06:22 AM
Do people only read 1/2 of what is written or even that much? I'm not going to address all the finger pointing but all I can say is that I fairly evaluated the guys performance and have enough knowledge about web design from studying, reading and doing it (my site isn't an example of current knowledge) to know that cutting and pasting from a demo theme doesn't take 5 hours! If you can't get past that much you probably rode the short bus to school. The point is that the guy, and others with the same pattern, are claiming they did work they didn't, claiming original works that aren't theirs and lying about where they are located. Don't try to turn the issue around and avoid the simple facts of the matter that this guy and others are out right low life thieves trying to run a scam across the Internet. It can't be any more simple. Anyone who refuses to acknowledge this argument has motive to hinder the argument. Period. I don't make false accusations and try to warn peers for no reason. What is my motive or benefit? I really love hearing you people use illogical straw man arguments to shift the focus of the post.

Any whoever asked why is it my business to pay based on local wages? You have to be kidding me, 1/2 of the threads on pricing in this forum talk about pricing based upon local competition and it is the strategy of about the top 80% of large businesses who outsource!

16k_zx81
04-19-2012, 06:58 AM
Do people only read 1/2 of what is written or even that much? I'm not going to address all the finger pointing but all I can say is that I fairly evaluated the guys performance and have enough knowledge about web design from studying, reading and doing it (my site isn't an example of current knowledge) to know that cutting and pasting from a demo theme doesn't take 5 hours!

You have provided a picture of what occurred and people have responded to it.

If it was the case that most people understood the situation clearly, and a couple got it wrong, you could say there were some who did not adequately read and comprehend.

However, thats not what has occurred, there's a consistent response to what you have written across those who have responded. In other words, most people have formed the same conclusion based on what you have said.

Rather than assuming everyone else is suffering from an intelligence deficit (your reference 'short bus'), the more reasonable explanation is that you have not communicated your points inadequately.

If you had articulated what you had meant to say, it would not be the case that others could have so consistently have got it 'wrong'

Or everyone who responded is a bit thick, and just couldn't understand your point.

- Doesnt seem very likely does it?

tankman1989
04-19-2012, 08:08 AM
You have provided a picture of what occurred and people have responded to it.

If it was the case that most people understood the situation clearly, and a couple got it wrong, you could say there were some who did not adequately read and comprehend.

However, thats not what has occurred, there's a consistent response to what you have written across those who have responded. In other words, most people have formed the same conclusion based on what you have said.

Rather than assuming everyone else is suffering from an intelligence deficit (your reference 'short bus'), the more reasonable explanation is that you have communicated your points inadequately.

If you had articulated what you had meant to say, it would not be the case that others could have so consistently have got it 'wrong'

Or everyone who responded is a bit thick, and just couldn't understand your point.

- Doesnt seem very likely does it?
(not arguing with you here. just re-read the post and it could sound argumentative.. this is also more addressed to others not you)

I didn't think everyone had that opinion, I should have worded that less broadly. I should have qualified my opening sentence in the last post with "some people", my mistake. That happens when responding to people who seem to draw attention away from the topic at hand. the crappiest thing about this was I was totally willing to pay the guy the rate requested but when he was charging for work not done/unoriginal that it the issue and no matter how many people respond after reading other's misguided responses that will not change.

If you have a picture of a blue background posted and state that it is a blue background, if the next three people respond "no it's red" that doesn't make them right or any other people who agree with them. It's like 95% of people say "I could care less" when expressing their total apathy towards a subject yet that 95% is wrong in their expression. Just because a flock of people say one thing doesn't make it so. Is the first lemming off the cliff doing the right/smart thing?

Ralara
04-19-2012, 11:47 AM
Does tappatalk have an ignore function? :-)

tf76
04-19-2012, 12:04 PM
I charge per project. First get the scope of work required then write up a contract. Trust is a big issue when it comes to web design jobs.

anglian
04-19-2012, 12:26 PM
I charge per project. First get the scope of work required then write up a contract. Trust is a big issue when it comes to web design jobs.
Agreed, especially if outsourcing to someone you have never worked with before, very detailed requirements are essential so both parties know what is expected. It is also useful to use an escrow account.

tankman1989
04-19-2012, 09:10 PM
I charge per project. First get the scope of work required then write up a contract. Trust is a big issue when it comes to web design jobs.

Thanks for the reply. Do you do web design? If you do I'll pay you to just give me an estimate of work time so that I have a "professional" opinion of expected work time for the project. It really isn't that big of a project IMO.

red12049
04-20-2012, 12:30 AM
Thanks for the reply. Do you do web design? If you do I'll pay you to just give me an estimate of work time so that I have a "professional" opinion of expected work time for the project. It really isn't that big of a project IMO.

Bolding mine)

My less educated customers frequently tell me this. They're usually wrong.

Rick

tankman1989
04-20-2012, 12:54 AM
Bolding mine)

My less educated customers frequently tell me this. They're usually wrong.

Rick

Yeah and people who try to run scams say the opposite and are also wrong. I've talked to a developer and their estimate as only 10% higher than what I expected it to be but it is also on a different CMS platform.

anglian
04-20-2012, 06:36 AM
Bolding mine)

My less educated customers frequently tell me this. They're usually wrong.

Rick Oh yes. Especially when it was a web site designed by the bosses nephew who has now gone to university and has lost interest, then it can take an hour just to figure out where everything is.

16k_zx81
04-20-2012, 06:51 AM
Oh yes. Especially when it was a web site designed by the bosses nephew who has now gone to university and has lost interest, then it can take an hour just to figure out where everything is.

... then another hour to correct all the spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors.

Bryce W
04-20-2012, 09:06 AM
As someone who outsources a lot and I believe I do so relatively successfully, there are a few issues here.
If this designer copied and pasted an existing design, swapped the header and said it took 5 hours, then thats an outright scam in any country, it doesnt mean third world labor is more likely to scam you, it can really happen in any country.

Having said that, you do have to treat overseas labor different than you would a westerner.

A good example is if you want a door installed over there. A westerner would install the door, have 2 hinges on the side and a handle. Its assumed that when you say "Door" you also want the hinges and the handle.

I have found in personal experience, mainly with Indian contractors, that you have to be super specific about what you want. I want a door, of this size, over there, with 2 hinges, opening in this direction, with a handle located there.

I think it may be a cultural thing or perhaps since they are working for so little they do the absolute minimum, Im not sure.

With overseas labor you have to control the project very tightly. Here are my tips:

See a portfolio of their work first, check out the code, see if its original. If its a outsourcing job site, check out their feedback.

If its a larger project, give them a small test task that requires the skill that the big project needs that will take no more than an hour. Observe their skill/speed/responsiveness/quality. If they are crap, you are only out a few bucks rather than finding out months into a big project. I have found that many overseas contractors on the outsourcing sites will snap up any work they can without actually having the time or skill to pull it off. The test tasks filter out these people.

In the project brief, be stupidly specific (as in our door example) and be sure to add in lines like "All work needs to be original". While you would assume that all work would be original anyway, others dont seem to think that way. Thats why you have to really spell out the terms.

With the payment terms, work something out that limits the financial damage if they are bad. Ideally pay after you see work. If you have to pay something up front, try and keep it to a smaller percentage.

If its a large project, require daily/weekly updates about the work that is being done (depending on whether they are solely working on your project or not). I dont bother with this on small projects, but on big ones I do. Set up milestones on when things must be complete.

Managing like this is the cost of cheap overseas labor, if you can do it well its great. If you find a great overseas contractor that has proven to be reliable in your past projects, then you can obviously loosen the reigns. If you dont want to do all this then stick to a westerner instead, but you will pay for it.

16k_zx81
04-20-2012, 09:52 AM
I think it may be a cultural thing or perhaps since they are working for so little they do the absolute minimum, Im not sure.

Ive encountered this also with phillipino and indonesian workers. I dont think its cultural. Perhaps the 'narrow margin' is what drives it. That makes better sense, I think.

Agree about being very specific about whats required from the outset. I have actually been 'saved' a couple of times by referring contractors back to the original job description/brief that they signed on for. By making this fairly airtight you get some protection, but also, a lot of people these days seem to want to use Skype for discussing jobs. Personally, I require chat via text (Gtalk), so that if anything is not done to spec, its all there in writing to refer back to. Skype is too nebulous and difficult to get a record from. If all the communication is written theres nowhere for them to go.

This 'minimalist' approach is a real issue and its about articulating the parameters that must be successfully met in order for the job to be considered 'completed successfully'.

Its important to be clear about timeframes too. I have been stung in the past with contractors wanting to spend more time than was initially agreed and then wanting to charge for it, despite the fact that there were no alterations to the specific requirements of the job.

This also may be a 'cultural' or a 'narrow margin' issue, but it was a hell of a surprise to me on the occasions when I struck it, and now am clear at the outset of any contract what the timings are, and that 're-quoting' because the job took longer than the contractor anticipated, will not be entertained. There is definitely a different understanding with offshore workers about the 'acceptability' of this, in my experience.

But yeah, it really is a very different experience from hiring locally. Requires different precautions and different methods of communication in order to get things done.

codegreen
04-20-2012, 02:35 PM
Tankman, based on your description of your experience, it's safe to say that the guy you were dealing with was:

a) incompetent,
b) a scammer, OR
c) both

There's no argument here. The problem is you seem to be tarring and feathering 1/6 of the world's population based on this one bad experience. Scammers know no borders, and you could have just as easily been scammed by an American "web designer" online. If you replace all instances of "Indian" with "American" in your original post, you might see why people responded the way they did.

That said, Bryce made some good points. When outsourcing work to someone in another country, you need to be aware of language and cultural differences. It's not the same as hiring a local person or company.

myPCTechs
04-22-2012, 05:52 AM
You get what you pay for.

Dameize
04-22-2012, 03:42 PM
I know people who charge 1000+ pounds for websites that are based on wordpress themes... most website designers use wordpress themes or joomla themes and modify them for the businesses purposes.

For a 100% from scratch website your talking pages and pages of php and unique graphics you would be looking at hours and hours of work and it would cost you a fortune.

Any website you see just look at the source and I can almost guarantee it will be based on a theme no matter the designer. Ive looked at all the website companies in my area and all base their websites on themes and modify them.