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I often come across local websites that are sub-par. With just a day or two of work, I could easily provide them with a better solution. However, when I approach the website owners with an offer to re-work their websites, most of the time, they refuse due to not caring about their website.

Based on that, I'm thinking of presenting a fully-rebuilt website to the owners. That way, the owners would be assured that I'm not trying to scam them, and the result could be up and running in a matter of hours.

I have enough time to start doing this, but I have no idea of how local owners would take it. Any light on this?

  • It's not a bad idea but maybe the local owners don't have a proper budget at that time for a new website, so how do you know that before? It's like a gamble. You can't also develop 10 websites and sell 1 or 2, it will be a disaster in terms of work hours compared to the income. But maybe you can try and see what happens. – Mario May 28 '15 at 16:40
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    Never, ever, EVER submit spec work. Ever!! nospec.com/faq – Maguijo Jun 3 '15 at 0:29
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Sending them unsolicited work is not only going to irritate your desired client, but could have legal implications. Honestly it sounds like a very aggressive, bullying kind of tactic, and what if they take your rebuilt site and rip it off or publish it without paying you because you used their name/logo/information/etc without their permission?

If you are really desperate for work, try freelancing sites such as Elance, Upwork, etc. You can even try Craigslist.

If the problem is just that you feel OCD about seeing cruddy websites, politely suggest a Wordpress theme they could use and leave it to them to decide whether to pursue that.

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As Mario states in his comment, there is a lot of risk of no payment, with lots of work. I wouldn't take this gamble.

What I would do though is show off your abilities, and offer your portfolio to the potential clients. It's easy to make a portfolio in a few days or a couple weeks, essentially screen shots of what you can create for them. Once it's made, you update it when you have new designs or new techniques available; otherwise, it's what you show to every potential client.

For web sites, I'd recommend 5-10 different designs, and get them screen shotted. Then, print them out on high-quality, high-gloss paper that looks amazing - you will spend money on this. Even better, posterboard! But, be aware it may get awkward to carry around. Then, go in with this, and your laptop. Have your portfolio on your computer (or the Internet, if you know there will be free Wifi), and let the customer look at what you have available. Give them the 60-second sell; most bosses/managers make their decisions rather quickly, so show your best works early in the meeting.

If they say no, it's perfectly acceptable to ask why, but do not probe repeatedly if they don't tell you why. After that, thank them for their valuable time, and politely ask if you can come around again in 3 months, 6 months, or a year, to get an update on how their business is doing. If they say yes, then you can start talking more about what you can do for them, and how inexpensive it would be, compared to the monetary returns they would be getting. What I mean is, if you are going to charge $1,500 for a website, you need to show how the customer is going to make $10,000 back.

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Before wasting your time redoing websites unasked, it would be much better to send them a properly-worded, personal email soliciting work. This email should offer them something - a bit of information that helps them, like "Having a responsive website increases foot traffic to a store by XX%" and explain that in a short teaser article with a link to your website, where you will impress them with a white paper going into more detail and your portfolio.

Or if these are local businesses in your neighborhood, you could go in and talk to them in person.

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