Web Development “Bait and Switch”

3 ways to avoid getting trapped!

You’ve been dreaming of a web project for years now and you’ve finally raised enough money to put your dreams into action. Unfortunately, there’s a big chance your dream will never reach the web. Why? You’re going to be taken advantage of, and you’re going to lose your money.

Too often, ordinary people with money and an idea end up losing their dream due to a “bait and switch” game that has become very popular in North America.

Here’s how it works:

An IT consultant or sales professional sets up shop in North America.

A prospect will call and the salesman will recite all the right keywords: Scalable, chromed, agile, and of course, responsive. Most of these terms are foreign to the prospect, so he feels so blessed to have come across such a knowledgeable and trustworthy person….He’s sold.

The prospect has already gotten a proposal from another company. Communication was great. There were many questions to answer, but the process was pretty painless. Our trusty salesman, however, draws up a proposal in record time. There were very little questions. He seemed to understand everything. Minor details were not that necessary. Everything was easy.

The prospect’s first proposal came in as follows:

  • 12 weeks of work
  • 37k
  • Agile method with delivery every week.
  • Progressive payment plan with payments due every 2 weeks. (no payments in advance required)

Our trusted salesman presented the following proposal:

  • 11 weeks of work
  • 12k
  • Delivery at the end of the 11 week period
  • 100% payment due in advance

I’m guessing I don’t have to tell you which proposal our prospect chose!

Once the agreement is signed and the money is wired, the trusted salesperson does what he always does…he outsources the project to India.

What follows next is a horrific roller coaster ride that tests the will of the client. The deadline is missed. There’s nothing to see. Communication is next to impossible. The only way to communicate is by email and replies are received in the middle of the night, if ever. The salesman tries to get the project back on track, but his hands are tied. He’s not in charge.

The project finally gets delivered, 12 weeks late. What should have been a celebration turns out to be more salt on the wound. Nothing is as expected, nothing works.

The client has had enough. There’s no use trying to fix this with the Indian company. He goes back to the company that quoted 37k. They don’t outsource to India, it’s against their policy. They can start the project, in 30 days.

Sadly, this scenario plays out constantly and I speak to people in this situation every week. Most of the time, there’s nothing to salvage and we have to start from scratch.

I’ve compiled a list of 3 simple ways that you can protect yourself from an offshore nightmare:

  1. Immediately tell the salesperson that you’ll only work with a company that does their work “in-house”.
  2. Demand that all proposals and contracts contain the words, “Company will not outsource or subcontract any of the work to a third party”
  3. Reviews are a clear indication of a company’s successful track record. Companies with happy customers will often have the reviews to back it up. Contact them! Use Linkedin and reach out to them and confirm that the Company delivered. Whenever a company takes care of me, I’m happy to respond to questions about them.

I hope this article helps make you aware of the dangers involved in dealing with the web development industry. More importantly, I hope this article helps you in picking the right web development company that will successfully deliver your project.

Tony Capozzi Co-Founder of SimplyPHP
Aug 2018