Distinguishing Between the Experts and the Scammers Isn’t Easy

How can you tell the good from the bad, the experts from the scammers, and the capable from the inexperienced?

I am engaging in a website redo and it has been a rough path to walk down.  The first possible provider was introduced by a marketing firm with which I am affiliated. Although this provider was good at the early pre-contract conversations, he got agitated when, in late November, I decided to the potential issues as people’s minds switch between work and personal things that need to get done before the end of the year. In our final conversation, he questioned my ability to make a decision to move ahead. I had made a decision, no actually two of them: work with him, start in Jan. 2014. I pulled the plug with him, decision number three. In hindsight it was fortunate I did not choose him as only a few months later I heard his company was being investigated by his domicile state authorities for questionable business practices brought by clients. If I had run into problems with him, I would have had to get on a plane and go east.

The second designer was a referral by someone who had not used this designer but liked him as a person. This gentleman seemed to be nice and receptive to our questions and concerns. Eight months after signing the contract, which did have and I asked that he remove, no refunds or guarantees (WHAT???!), we had two pdf documents on a website that all providers, including the one we hired, told us would take 5-12 weeks to complete and be up and running.  We just settled our dispute, through satisfying mediation, a few days ago.

We have hired another firm. We received our first mock up in two weeks. So far, so good.

But my question is this: How do you know the capable ones, the experts, the good, from those who are not?

I remember many years ago, in conversation with my hygienist, telling her I was frustrated with the work I had done by dentists. Crowns, for example seemed to fail within five years. This hygienist who was respected because of her own high standard of dental competency, told me who she thought the best dentist in the area was. She said he was the dentist’s dentist. The hard cases went to him. He took care to do it right. He referred so he could stick to what he did best. He interviewed his referral partners and knew their work to be at the standard he expected. A little apprehensive, I decided to visit this dentist. Although he was taken aback by my initial questions, over time we established a great respect for each other. As I expected and as he confirmed, a good crown, well placed and well-constructed, can last decades.

Back to the question.  I don’t know who to trust so I have created a checklist to help me decipher between the two.  It includes: types of guarantees and refunds they have; what they read or write for me to gain an understanding if they are leaders, thinkers, or doers; whether they create the same thing again and again; how they approach their industry; their references; how they deal with me as a person; what their entire contract says. I also ask them what values core to them they use in their business and how these core values are manifested with their clients. If any of these trigger concerns to me I will seek clarification which can lead to them being dismissed from consideration or being given my signature on a contract to work together.

How can you tell the good from the bad, the experts from the scammers, and the capable from the inexperienced?

Leave a comment I would love to know how you distinguish between the capable and the scammers.


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