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Fair pay, saying no to work on spec

“Say no to Spec” is a video by an advertising agency in Toronto, Zulu Alpha Kilo, addressing the issue of fair pay for fair work. And paying for work in general rather than getting a taster first.

The video shows a gentleman – some kind of businessman – going to different shops and service providers asking if he can get something for free to see if he likes it. If he does, he’ll give them his business. To a picture framers, a coffee shop, a small restaurant and a personal trainer at a gym.

As a web design company, we are often asked to produce a visual taster – referred to as ‘work on spec’, e.g. for free – so that a client can get an idea if we’re the right fit.

Work on spec as comedy

This is of course parody. Who would go into a shop asking to test a coffee in order to give them your business?

But guess what? Some people do approach designers and ask them to produce something for nothing in order to see if they want to work with them.

That isn’t a partnership, it’s taking advantage.

Most companies in our position will point potential clients to a portfolio and testimonials.

Look at work we’ve done, look at what people say about us and what we’ve done for them.

When someone isn’t willing to contemplate that, it’s clear that they either:

  1. Aren’t a good fit to work with us
  2. Want something for nothing
  3. Have a dis-respect for other professionals

Or all three.

The message of the video is “Say no to work on spec”.

Don’t do something for nothing.

Website discovery sessions - no work on spec

Discovery sessions rather than spec work

We offer discovery sessions to see if we’re a good fit.

It’s a small taster that’s more than the first meeting (which is always free) and less than a specification meeting where we’d start a project.

This is where you pay for the equivalent of a workshop or seminar to find out what you need and to get more detailed recommendations at the end of it.

We’ll ask you lots of questions about your business, about your current website.  We’ll look at objectives and motivations, branding and demographics, analytics and errors. There’s plenty of ground to cover.

We can then produce an easy to follow report, or follow up with a full website audit if that’s needed before progressing to quote for the site.

A full website audit would cover

  • external factors
  • site analytics
  • on-site user experience
  • and a technical audit.

We’ve worked on audits for a few large cultural organisations which have proved valuable in confirming their way forward.

Let us know if you’d like to have a discovery session.

A discovery session starts from £500+vat for a half day.  

That includes a full discussion of where your business is now and where you want to go and look at some of the ways that it can be applied online.

It also includes a report back to you on our recommendations.

We can also work with you over a few sessions and with different sets of people within your organisation.

Ultimately it’s a relatively small price to pay to find out what you can be doing online.

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