You Gotta Know When To Fold ‘Em…Receiving Final Payment

website development receiving final payment

Never launch a website until you receive final payment.  Some exceptions apply, but we’ll get to that later.  Simply put, a client’s lack of planning does not constitute an emergency for you.

Most projects will encounter some sort of delay.  That’s fine, because in your proposal, you allowed enough time for testing, bugs, reiterations, vacation time, sick days, weekends, Sharknados…anything you can think of.  Because you have been doing this long enough to know that something always comes up.  As long as you stick to your delivery date, the less the client knows about “delays” the better.  Deliver on time, and no one’s the wiser.

But what happens when the client causes the delay, yet somehow still expected to deliver on time? Assuming you have established a deadline prior to start, you must let the client know that delays on their end will inevitably result in a delay of final delivery.  When you book a project, you put your team together and create a schedule based on a number of variables.  Skill level, budget and availability of resources.  So if a project becomes idle, so do your workers and no good comes of that.  You now put those idle workers on another project, only to have the client want to start up again, and of course that means, right now, today.

You shift gears, have your workers stop their new project, and get them back together to finish up, doing your best to make up for the client’s delay.  After all, you want to make sure the client is happy.  You want to make the deadline.

As the deadline fast approaches, it’s clear the client does not have all the material together so they ask you to launch the site anyway and they’ll give you all the final content after site launch.  Um, OK?

You’re now launching an incomplete site, because you want to help the client make their deadline, but you’re not going to get paid because the site is…wait for it, wait for it, INCOMPLETE.  How many issues do you think will come up by the time you launch the site and the time you get final content?  If you guessed one zillion, you’d be correct.

Trying to get your final payment now becomes an exercise in patience, self-control, and inner reflection “how could I be so stupid?”. With little regard to your efforts, the client will start to grind you down.  Requesting small changes, resize an image or two (“just a quick 5 minutes” they say).  All until they are satisfied.  Now they might start having issues with their new email, or newsletter…all points that really fall outside the contract, but that doesn’t seem to matter.  You can say NO all you want…but you want your final payment, so you acquiesce, foolishly thinking OK, NOW, now they’ll pay?! But on it goes.

The exception to this rule is client legacy.  If you’ve done work for them before, and they’ve always paid on time, then of course you trust them.  And don’t forget to break your payments up so in the event you are left hanging, it won’t be for more than 25%.

Be firm, make sure to add “will not launch until final payment is received” into your contract. If a prospective client has issue with that, you should probably walk away.  If they ask to launch the site, then pay later, run.

Lose The Fat. Convert To WordPress

convert website wordpress

Lose the fat.  All that extra weight making you feel sluggish and tired?  Can’t keep up with the others?  Tired of being picked last?  Then get back into shape.  Convert that old, over inflated website of yours into WordPress and get yourself back into the game.  Lose all the redundant code, cut the fat and streamline your online presence.  You’ll look and feel much better.  Convert to WordPress today.

Say Bloody Mary 3 Times Into A Mirror, An MLS WordPress Plugin Will Appear

mls plugin myth wordpress

MLS WordPress Plugin ~ Hopefully you will read this article before you agree to develop a website for a real estate client using a WordPress solution.  At first glance there appears to be 100′s of awesome WP plugins to help when developing an MLS (multiple listing service) website.  It’s only after you spend about 20 hours of research you realize you’ve been chasing a dragon.  There is no such thing as a plugin that will retreive MLS data and import it to your site.

I stumbled across this (after all my research)

“I receive calls and emails daily for a WordPress Real Estate plugin that will magically import data from a MLS database into a WordPress real estate website. That plugin does not exist and never will.”

There’s no simpler way to put it.  MLS data is very heavily guarded.  They can’t have their info splattered everywhere, in any format.  They need to control it and more to the point; you have to pay for it.

So let’s start there.  Your client needs to be part of the MLS club.  They need to have an account number.  With that, we can get access to the coveted data.

What seems to work is WP-Property in conjunction with WP-Importer.  You can import/collect the data from a RETS server http://www.realtor.org/retsorg.nsf/pages/developerstart then from there you lay it out as you wish onto your site.  The downside is, it’s not live.  You’ll need to set up a little cron job to fetch the data as often as you need.  But we’re selling homes, not hotcakes.  So I think refreshing the data every hour would be fine.

One headache… or trust me, there’s more than one.  The data comes back incomplete and in some cases, lumped together.  For example, everything comes back as single family dwelling, so you have to manually set the listings to categories that you have assigned.  Condo, high rise, townhome etc.  You also have to set the, “sold” feature.  It’s work, but if the client wants the design to be exactly the way they want it to be within budget, there are sacrifices.  Unfortunately, this isn’t good news after you have signed on.

If you need absolute real time listings site where you don’t have to touch a thing, it’s best to leverage off of something like www.mlxchange.com. Use the client’s existing company and create an out of the box ready to use template.

Know your song well before you start singing.  Do some in-depth research on the limitations of WordPress and MLS/IDX/RETS.  Understand the pro’s and con’s.  Most importantly, be involved as best you can with the design phase and the supporting documentation.  But then again, no matter how involved you are, unless you know the beast that is MLS, agreeing to wireframes and outlines on a project, means nothing.