This is an ultimate scam company that works on a fine line of legality they have very carefully orchestrated in order to take advantage of contractors and keep resulting profits for themselves.
They lure individuals from other countries and sites like Elance and promise big money for little work. The contract, however, is vague, with PO Box addresses, and of course what appears to be a very lucrative salary and/or bonus structure.
However, after a day or two (or perhaps less) expect to begin to be berated, yelled at and sworn at regularly. If you are working with this client through Elance, expect not to get paid, with various excuses as to how Elance works, and why they don't "typically pay their people" that way.
Every month or so the Director fires programmers and graphic designers, many of which have weeks of pay they have yet to receive. He always finds some lame excuse about the employee not taking care of customers or doing some other terrible thing (like being sick and unable to work) then fires them and tells them he doesn't have to pay them because they haven't done the work "as expected" in the contract. [continued below]....
For most people, attempting to sue or follow up to get money deserved is too costly, so the company pockets the profit.
For clients, this high turnover rate results in constantly late milestones and deadlines. Stephen always has a good excuse for this of course (he is a great salesman even by his standards after all!) and the client, after investing in thousands of dollars with the company, has no choice but to put up with it.
Stephen always has a reason for why everyone seems to never do their job, or why his people are constantly quitting or being "fired", but in the end the truth speaks for itself. If you search for their profile on Elance you'll soon see that many others have provided similar feedback. This is only one of the several sites online that this company likely works, so doing research before spending money, or deciding to waste your time busting your hump for this company is a definite must! Additional advice:
If you are thinking of working for WebsiteDesignz:
If you are considering hiring WebsiteDesignz:
- Make sure you are working through a 3rd party with escrow.
- GET ESCROW FUNDING for everything! No exceptions, you'll thank me later.
- Ask the 3rd party escrow organization if they'll support your contract if WebsiteDesignz decides not to pay you for any part of it (including promised commissions or bonuses). Stephen and RC have spent many months perfecting their contracts so they can get away with screwing contractors out of money, so make sure you know what is enforceable in the contract and what isn't.
- Don't let them get behind in weekly payments. After all, if they can't even pay a few hundred dollars in weekly base salary, how in the world will they pay you the thousands they've promised you in bonuses or commissions later on?
- Don't even consider working for them if you don't appreciate someone swearing and screaming at you every day. I understand how stressful work can be just like the next person, but being sworn at and screamed at over computer speakers is not my idea of an enjoyable workplace.
- Ask to speak to employees who have recently left the company. My guess is they won't let you, because no one leaves WebsiteDesignz happy.
- Ask for a PHYSICAL address for the company, not a PO Box. If you deside to take legal action down the road this information will be important. Also check the city and state information on all documents (some say Kansas City, MO, others reference Deleware, and even others indicate a New Orleans location).
- Be certain that there is a clause for arbitration as an only resolution option. It will cost you nearly $1,000 to file, but it is a lot cheaper and easier to do online than trying to deal with multi-state lawyer issues.
I am quite sure this company has "happy customers". Just be informed before you do business with them. After all, you're the one spending thousands of dollars in programming and development fees! YOU should be asking the questions, not being told what to think.
- Ask to talk to current graphic designers and programmers and ask them how long they have worked there. If you talk to more than 2, there is a good chance it'll be less than 3 months. Stephen will likely give you some story about why that is "not possible" but then if he's not willing, keep that in mind before you make a decision to work with them
- Be sure you get solid deadlines and make sure they keep them. Their staff turnover is so rapid that deadlines are always an issue.
- When a staff member is no longer working on your project ask to speak to them and find out why. You may decide not to do business with them again.
- Ask to speak to the elusive Martin about doing business with Website Designz.
- Keep in mind that Stephen will try to tell you that the person that made this report, or anyone else that has anything negative to say about Website Designz, is a "crazy person" and should be ignored. You have to decide for yourself, but don't just take the word of this site, do your own research and ask questions. You'll soon begin to see the holes in his stories.
Best of luck!