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Beware the "Hustler Client"

By patrick ·
Don't fall prey to potential clients who want you to build a "super-dooper web site for a few bucks up front" and the rest of the payment as the business grows!

Since the DOT-COM crash, there's been a glut of web programmers and this has made the competition for work pretty tough. I've noticed that more and more potential clients are asking me to build their web sites and get paid when the business succeeds. I had one so-called client who wanted a huge e-commerce site with real-time credit card processing, database transactions, Flash intros and animations, super high quality graphics (to be loaded in 3 seconds!) all for $500.00 and a piece of the pie "when the sales came through"!

Beware of these "clients"! They're asking youto become an unwitting partner in their scheme, which isn't all bad except you don't have a say in how the business is run. At the end of the day you end up working for peanuts and your "client" either takes all the cash (if there ever is any) or the business folds and you still get nothing.

I fell prey to this twice. (once bitten, twice fooled...) and it cost me dearly - for a total of $168,000.00!!! (You're read that correctly.) In both cases, I supplied all the development, hosting, server set-up and maintentance and took it in the shorts both times. (One outfit was a public company and paid me with free-trade stock - started out at $1.00 per share and when I sold it was down to $.00005 per share!!! And no, the SEC wouldn't help! So beware these "SCAMMERS". Don't be fooled by their "we're gonna make a million" pep talks. You'll end up regretting it - and going broke!

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Got burned another way!

by tiger1951 In reply to Beware the "Hustler Clien ...

YIKES! $168,000 - That's a real hickey! As a side bar to this discussion, I got scammed in another way and want to make others aware. Be sure with whom you are working!

Made a web site for a established local business and even had a signed contract. Put in over 100 hours of work, got the site up for a preview and was working on the domain and hosting, when I discovered that the person who signed the contract did not have the authority to sign it. The was an upper management individual and a friend, I thought!

When it came time for payment, he "had to turn in a check request" and was turned down by his new upper management. According to them, this manager was never authorized for the creation of a web site and was "over budget" in advertising expense!

Sure made me rethink the way I handle the signature process on contracts. Oh sure, I could have hired an attorney and gone to court. But I could have ended up with same zippo dollars and a fee for an attorney. I chose to just go on down the road and change my contracting procedures. The big lesson here is: Make sure the person that signs your contract has the authority to do so!

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