Alarm bells ringing from potential new customer


This post would probably be more at home in the Chill Out section, but it’s kind of work related so please feel free to move it to a more relevant section if needs be.

Has anyone had any strange design requests (web or graphic) or to be more specific been approached by a potential client you were just not sure about.

I’m 18 months into working freelance as a web and graphic designer, so the business side is still relatively new to me. This morning I received a rather badly written message sent to my business Facebook page. The message is short but simply says they want a quote for a site to sell goods, it reads in part: “hi there, i need a price on a web and be make for me. there will be a lots of coding as its a site for selling people good and more. . . “ the message goes on to ask for my phone number.

The person who sent it has given me their first name, however the message was sent from another Facebook page which goes under a pseudonym. I looked at their page, they are local to me (no other mutual friends) and their posts mainly consist of conspiracy theory, anti government propaganda and endless posts declaring their love of weed. Oh yes and that they recently got married . . . To their left hand!!

Alarm bells rang. However I sent a message back telling them that it would be very helpful if they could provide me with a brief outline of their business and website requirements. Their reply was as follows: “thank you for getting back is the a phone no: i can call as its hard to put down on here.”

Admittedly I get quite a few tyre kickers, but this is just strange. I am rather concerned at their desperate need for my phone number. All correspondence I receive can be directly traced back to current clients or friends. I have no idea who this person is. I am more than happy to give out my number and details and correspond with people who I don't know, who may come across me via web / advertising, but there's is something about this that doesn't add up.

How would you proceed? Have you had similar experiences?
You have done the right thing, not to supply your phone number.

I would have ignored that kind of message. Someone who requests for a quote or a service should at least make the extra effort to structure a clear message, whether on Facebook or email.


May I ask why your phone number is not available on your website?
May I ask why your phone number is not available on your website?

Excellent question, two reasons:

Firstly I have two young children and I work from home. I need to bribe the youngest into being quiet to enable me to concentrate on what a potential client is saying. Once my client’s get to know me and my work circumstances it’s generally not a problem. So to receive a call whilst my two year old is in mid-tantrum is an utter nightmare.

Secondly, I hate going in cold, I treat different industries differently, music festival people need handling differently to people who may work in the financial sector, marketing departments or people who run a business from their kitchen table are different again and it helps to gauge what kind of knowledge they may have about web or graphic design before I begin. I like being prepared.

But perhaps the first reason is the best!