I came across another interesting discussion on SitePoint Forums. The thread is about whether or not you should tell the client if you’re using an open-source CMS. The interesting part however is about providing separate quotations based on the use of different CMS’s.
This is post 11/30 for #30daysofcreativity.
In my opinion
My strong opinion is that it’s stupid. It’s just not the way to provide great quality web services. Why? Bare with me and I’ll explain my chain of thought.
By providing the choice between different quotations based on different CMS’s, you are skipping a very important part of the process. While you may make your client happy since he’s able to choose between an expensive or a more affordable system, the client isn’t equipped to make that choice.
If you have any expertise at all, why not use it? If you have enough expertise to be able to offer different platforms, you should also have the necessary knowledge to be able to tell which one suits the situation best.
Now, you might say that the client loves to have choices so that he can pick the option that best suits his budget. This is why I never provide quotations before I get a number to work with. Providing several quotations, you focus more on what you know best than on your clients’s needs. It’s bad practice.
Would you give the client options of when the project will be delivered, with no clue whatsoever about his deadline? I hope not. This is likely one of the reasons as to why many clients feel they can push you around.
By letting your client make all the important decisions—not providing enough valuable input—you aren’t sharing the expertise they hired you for. You have become a coding or designing machine who follows the orders of your master, the client.
I strongly suggest you work smarter. Before you draw any conclusions regarding how you will build the website, first make sure you know all the details about the project. Find out exactly what the requirements and the budget are. Do that and you might still be able to surprise your client positively by coming in below his budget.
You are the professional. It’s your job to—based on every little detail about the project, the client, and the client’s company—provide him with a solution that suits his needs.
Instead of merely working for the client and doing more work by providing several quotations for different systems; work with the client to find an optimal solution you both feel comfortable with.
Doing this, you show that you actually give a damn and that will earn you a lot more respect, trust and kindness. Also always remember to have self-respect: stand up for what you believe in. The client is not the expert, you are, so act like it.
The simple conclusion of all this is; to work smarter you should brainstorm, research, gather requirements and discuss with your client. Make sure you know exactly what you’re building before you figure out how to build it. Sounds more logical, doesn’t it?