HowTo – Making Money By Designing Sites on Spec Is It Worth The Time?

Filed under: SEO & Advertising,Web Design

Many designers want to build clients and because the economy is turning down some turn to Spec Work.

If you don’t know this is when the designer completes a design for a potential client…. with emphasis on Potential.

Sometimes this approach can work out but often you will have clients that either turn your work away up front or drag you along for a few weeks and then decide to use someone else.

So, when is spec work a good idea?

The first thing you have to realize is that you are in the position to lose all the time you invest so make the best of it.

Design a site using new techniques.
If you are a Drupal user and have mastered the skills needed to put a theme together for a client then spend your Spec Work time learning WordPress or another CMS application. This way you are learning skills that you can sell in the future.

Make the site using Generic Reusable Code and Images

The layout of the theme or template that you approach your client with should be reusable with little work.  Apply much of your formatting with CSS that way to change logos, backgrounds and other design items you just reference them in the CSS file.

Hardcore design requiring Flash editing and customer specific items should be left to a minimum if they will require long hours of preparation. This of course can be somewhat over looked if you are also learning new techniques as we said before.

Try another Vertical Market

If you normally work with one type of client … say realtors who are not having a great income right now you may want to choose another market like Gymnastic Centers or Nail Salons.

Try to find another market that may need to be served with your skills and then design your presentation in a way that can be adapted to other clients quickly.

What if they Do Buy?
If a Client does like your work that you made on Spec you should be willing to give them an Up Front discount on the initial design. If you also provide hosting and other options then it is fine to charge full price for those services.

You may however want to create a special cPanel configuration that has lower limits and higher restrictions. This type of account could be provided as a Starter Package only for those clients that want to test your work.

What if they Don’t Buy
Well you will have to judge their reaction individually. Is the fact that they don’t want your work because they are just not in need of it?

Does the industry they are in not usually advertise online?

Are they not computer users? Yes there are a few out there.

Even if your customer does not buy your work you still have interaction with someone that you probably would not have had a chance to meet.

Take advantage of it and learn as much as you can.

If you find that they don’t want a site because of personal reasons but not industry reasons try to learn more about the events they attend and the networks they use. This is a great way to find others that may want your services.

Final Note
Spec Work should never be wasted time. If you are not turning a profit then you should at least be learning. And if you find you are wasting time and putting off projects that pay you should rethink your plans.

Never lose money in hopes to gain some. But never waste time. There are always times when you can be thinking of new ideas or learning about other ways to make money or contacts.  This is what the best part of Spec Work is about.