Joe Killian at the Greensboro News-Record published an article in today’s paper shedding light on $47,000 that Guilford County, NC may never see again because of a bad website deal. There was no bidding process for the project and it is unclear whether any references were checked for the hired firm.
Regardless of the size of your business, organization or campaign, you should protect yourself and your investments. There are several things you should do when looking for a vendor to help you build your business, whether you want to generate more leads, sell products online, market yourself or your company, or provide services.
- Request a professional and fair contract
A contract doesn’t have to be a lengthy, confusing document full of legal jargon and mumbo-jumbo. It can and should be clear, concise and fair to both parties. Make sure you understand terms of payment, the timeline for services rendered and how the project will be evaluated. Most importantly, be sure it is written so that payment is rendered as milestones are completed and that you understand the terms of your deposit, if there is one.
- Get a couple of quotes
You don’t have to spend days looking for vendors and spend hours talking to them each about your project. Draw up a specifications sheet and submit a request for proposal to a few pre-screened firms you’d like to hear from. Another option is to have an open RFP (request for proposal) period that is either advertised by you or is submitted to an RFP site which opens it up to many vendors. If you do this, you might consider still requesting proposals from a few pre-screened or local firms. Additionally, if you or any of your employees are part of any social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, ask in a post if anyone knows of any great vendors. You can post the link to your RFP in the post or ask that people contact you directly with names.
- Check vendor references
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, ask your preferred vendor(s) to provide a few names that you can call or email to ask them about their experience with the vendor. A few questions to consider are:
- Are you happy with the services rendered?
- Did they meet their budget?
- Were they responsive with inquiries?
- Were they professional in their behavior and product or services?
- Do you maintain a relationship with them after project completion?If you take just a little time to evaluate your vendors, you will save yourself a lot of time and you will not lose $47,000 (or even $1,000) on a bad website deal.
Click here to read the full article in the News-Record (archived / unavailable).
Update 1/21/11: Alston seeking investigation into Yow, farm arrangement (archived / unavailable)
Alston, who has been negatively linked with the firm in question, is now grasping for straws and trying to create a new scandal to take himself out of the spotlight.
Update 1/22/11: Website developer denies deal with Skip Alston (archived / unavailable)