Why I ruined a collaboration
A few months ago I someone contacted me, who mentioned as a referral (didn’t mentioned who referred him).
The project they wanted was an e-commerce store that sells refurbished phones. The request was something very basic, only an MVP. Because they need to invest money in marketing and we can keep the costs low.
The requirements were clear, they offered the websites of competitors. Told us that much of the website to be a clone of flip.ro. Excepting the colors and try to not be identical, to change a few elements.
I don’t like these requests. When someone decides to create a copycat of another business without nothing original. But thought they might try to take a part of the market and invest later in branding.
They requested a website in Shopify. I could not help them at that moment, our expertise at Cmevo Digital stands in WooCommerce. That means I proposed as alternative. We talked about benefits and disadvantages, and continued the discussion with WooCommerce.
Before I move forward with this story I have to add an extra information, with a small detail. The owner of the business presented himself as a backend developer. He mentioned is very busy and if had the time, he would build the website himself.
Was strange for me that a developer was not curious enough to research Wordpress by himself. I tried to think that he’s a true entrepreneur who understands the value of time. And he’s doing money from his stuff and hires for the rest.
He started to insist that will pay everything needed to build this business. Understanding the value of software and if anything else is requests extra he’ll pay for. Sounds too good to be true, right?!
I don’t know what you’re thinking until this stage of the story, but for me something was strange. He wants a website to start with. Not as expensive as the business they want to clone. In the same time they want something professional, very nice design. After all summaries, if extra requests they pay extra.
Let’s move forward with the story. We sent an offer explaining each future for the MVP, what contains and what doesn’t. He said is all good, to send the contract.
I sent the contract and waited almost two weeks. Then he came back as nothing happen. Here I had the first bad felling that I must decline the offer, but I said that’s not the first client who’s hard to reach. One of my colleagues had a call explaining again the same info as in the offer, to be sure that we catch everything.
And here’s the first issue. He started to complain that we discussed to create a clone website of his competitor. With acquisition funnel, e-commerce website and everything else. This was not true, even in the offer sent I was mentioning that. He recall that he agreed to pay as as much as need to build the website. But is incorrect, he requested a simple project. Explaining that we will add later extra features. That’s why I sent a 2k€ offers, which he agreed, probably didn’t read it. After this friction he started to be noisy. Asking why is so expensive, because we only install a WP theme. Which is not true, because the client needs an account, he can buy phones, but can sell as well, any many more. For the buying system we proposed a simple form, where the client can complete the details. We asked if he wants something complex, but much expensive, and the answer was no.
We offered a custom tailored solution, based on his needs, trying to keep the costs low as much as possible. Now our guy doesn’t want an MVP, he want a clone of flip.ro for 2k. So those guys invested ten thousands of euro, or even more. But they’re stupid? Because we found a dude, and he can do it cheaper.
I told him that we already agreed on details. He already accepted 2 weeks ago all the details, described in the offer, written in text. And he denied, telling that he understood something else. And the fact that I’m trying to scam him. How is possible to ask for 2k, only to install Wordpress and a theme, something that he can do in 10 minutes.
That was the moment when I thanked for the time, and informed that all discussions finished.
I never sent contracts pre signed, until we agree all the terms. Negotiate all the terms or agree with ours.
This guy was thinking to scam us, doing a project valued at more, for only 2k. The bad news for him, we didn’t signed yet.
And yeah, after telling that we cannot continue. He threaten me that will leave bad reviews everywhere on the internet to my agency. I’m curious why, because we negotiated, didn’t started the collaboration yet. We only set the terms and conditions.
Why this story? I recently remembered about this project. And checked their domain, only an Wordpress theme installed. So it seems they did almost nothing after I finished the collaboration.
So this is my lesson: break bad deals, as soon as possible. Clients don’t need to agree with your price, and is fine if you cannot negotiate a middle point.