You Will Find Programming Business, But What Kind Are You Finding?

In my custom software business, I receive a number of inquiries from people looking to have programming work done. They usually come in from my developer website’s contact page. Most of the pages on my site make me highly visible in my local search market of Cleveland, Ohio USA.

Sounds like I’m getting all the project business I could want, right? Not quite. Whenever an inquiry comes in from my website, the first thing I do is email the sender a link to my terms of service website, which is in the same domain as my main website. I do this, because there are so many people who want coding work done for bargain basement prices, they want their payment terms that make them happy, etc. The purpose of my terms of service is to immediately drive away these kinds of people. Aside from being cheap about the money, dealing with them could lead to arguments and potential liability exposure. I’ve learned this the hard way. They are simply not worth it.

Naturally, this will make it much harder for me to locate the right project customers who pay professional labor rates, accept my terms of service and are just great to work for in general. But is it worth it? I believe it is. Below is a thought that frequently entered my mind back in the old days when I worked for people I wasn’t supposed to work for:

“A minimum wage job would be really nice compared to this.”

When flipping burgers or sweeping a floor looks more appealing than the software project you are working on, it simply means you should have never taken it on in the first place. If you are going to work for nothing, then you might as well do nothing.

Last year I created a C# Sharp Chart of Accounts Application for a long time programming customer I had known for almost 20 years. Obviously, the risk here was somewhere between slim to non-existent – actually closer to non-existent. He paid what we agreed to after accepting my terms of service and signing my paperwork. He insisted on paying extra for the additional work he wanted – that wasn’t even an issue. All in all, the project went very well.

As challenging as it is to locate high quality project customers, it really is worth it once you do find them. These people are the absolute pinnacle to work for. They fully expect to pay professional labor rates – in fact, they insist on it. They are the exact opposite of the folks who avoid me after seeing my terms of service web page. The difficulty of locating the right project customers is comparatively easy versus working for undesirable people who will continuously disrespect you, squander your valuable time and cost you tons of money. Don’t be fooled by people who seem very pleasant as long as they can make you bend to their cheapskate way of doing business. You will be opening a Pandora’s box of more trouble than you ever imagined.