Constant calls from design services

I am used to receiving emails from companies in India etc, offering everything from image clipping services to Wordpress development and they all go straight in the trash, but recently I’ve found myself receiving a lot of phone calls every day looking for web work from people I don’t know. In some cases I don’t think they even really know who they are calling.

They tend to start off by making it sound like they are looking to have a website built, then turn it around after a minute and ask if I am looking for designers etc. Obviously I understand we all need to work, but by the time you have received half a dozen unsolicited calls during a single afternoon it starts to become annoying.

It isn’t practical to avoid answering the phone every time there is an unrecognised number, so I wondered if any of you have some golden techniques for shutting down these calls quickly?

How are they getting your number?

I don’t know for certain. I assumed they were finding my website through general web searches, because it’s not like I am advertising a lot. The last guy who called knew my name and simply asked if I did web design, then after a vague preamble started asking if I was looking for designers. He called from a London number that I Googled afterwards and it appeared to belong to some place dealing in aromatherapy.

During the call he wanted to send me an email, so I said he could do so through the website contact form and he didn’t even know what my website was. He was with some group called Quard International, who appear to be some designers working out of a shabby looking building in Sri Lanka, though if you go to the website it redirects to the website of Express VPN.

This is just one example and I’m receiving loads of these calls from dubious sources that I would never work with. Last Friday I received a call asking if I would be willing to build restaurant sites for some group in London and how they were looking to build a network of designers, yet their website just has a message that says coming soon.

In the past I’ve received calls & emails from local companies marketing services that are of little (read absolutely zero) interest but now I’m being hassled from every quarter it seems. I even had a call from some guy offering billing solutions for websites today and they are taking up time that could be used more productively.

EDIT: I am also sick to death of all the companies offering to handle the Seo for my web clients and offering commissions if I pass them on. The answer is a big fat no.

So the number is on your site?

Each to their own, but I’d never put a contact number on my site. My work number is in my emails (with a strict “calls taken 12-4pm only” comment), so it’s out there, but not to the extent it’s available to be scrapped.

Most likely your number has found it’s way onto a marketing list, in the web developers segment, with your name, email and phone. It’s now being sold to whoever wants it, typically these sellers charge about £250 per 1000 supplied per year. I only know that as I work with some on the email end of things. Hateful fuckers the lot of them, but what they do is entirely legal, so I’m happy to take their money. I only clean email lists for them, I don’t scrap or compile the lists. Although I do scrap directly for clients, only email and only business ones too.

Change your number, and don’t put it on your site.

Most, though not all legitimate clients make first contact by email through the site and leave a phone number with brief details of what they want. I’ve had two this morning and both jobs now confirmed to start in the near future.

Having said that, I had an email from client on the other side of the country a couple weeks ago and I thought it looked suspect, so I ignored it, however he called the next morning and half an hour later the deposit was in my account. If the number wasn’t on the site I probably would have lost the job.

The work requests are snowballing and most clients like to see a local number. Indeed many are calling because they specifically want a local designer. Come to think of it 90% of these calls are on my mobile actually, so either I ignore them and risk losing work or develop a quick method of cutting them short.

I’ve already decided to add a note on the site saying I am not looking for designers, but I very much doubt that would stop these guys.

OK, well, you’re gonna have to l warn to live with the calls then.

In Germany, having a phone number written on the contact (“imprint”) page is required by law…

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Ya, but Germans are fucked up.



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Thanks Steve - we are fucked up - legally

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