What a great question! Thank you! I think screening potential clients is actually just as important (if not moreso) as the web design, internet marketing, SEO work, social media integration, planning, programming, and long-term return-on-investment for the client long after we developers depart. Why is that?Because as anyone who has read Clients From Hell can attest, there is very little (in the field of web design, anyway) that's more time-consuming or denigrating than working with (or trying to work with) someone who is just not a good fit, regardless of how kind or well-intentioned (or confused, sociopathic, micro-managing, or simply uninformed). There is a wealth of articles, videos, and advice blogs solely on the topic of how web developers should screen potential clients so as to stop wasting time explaining what web design is (or should be in most cases), what SEO is and why it matters, what responsive design and what that matters, why a custom site is superior to a DIY freebie template you fill in online, why websites are not single commodities but tools in a process, and so forth. Screening potential clients is invaluable for web developers as well as for lawyers, doctors, and just about any other service professional whose time (and work) matters to them. Lawyers use intake forms, hire staff to screen clients or take information. Doctors have staff screen patients over the phone or in-person. Veterinarians train their staff to do it, electricians do it, plumbers do it, mechanics screen potential clients, even handymen do it. And those that don't do it waste untold hours educating, negotiating, listening to stories, explaining, etc. And yet, when it comes to internet marketing, web design, SEO, it's (still) amazing to me how much detachment and misinformation there is. But to slow my digression here, some of the questions I ask potential clients are: Why are we doing this? What have you already done to this point? For example, have you already tried to build the site yourself, outsource work overseas, outsource a logo, etc?What's a realistic budget range for this project? Where will content come from? Will content and/or images be solely your own or will there be copyright issues? Who is your target audience? How important is SEO to you? Who are your competitors and what are they doing that you like? What are they doing you don't like? How have you tried to compete or work with other local businesses similar to your? Most new or small business owners or startup owners or "wantrepreneurs" (these are individuals who fancy themselves as entrepreneurs but upon inspection it's clear that their business ventures are more "ideas" than actual profit-driven ventures with structures) balk at having a discussion about their project. They want a price and then they want to shop that price around for the lowest, cheapest deal they can get. Quality, ROI, results, don't matter to them because there's no way for them to tell when or if they're successful with anything. I've had potential clients hang up on me in anger when I asked 2-3 questions about their business, had potential clients curse me out when I asked them to complete and submit an intake form, had potential clients tell me they couldn't figure out how to submit the form or that the form wouldn't work (when it had been tested moments earlier and worked fine), they couldn't "do forms" or "do" e-mail, or even respond to phone conversations. I had one potential client ask me why work had to be done on a schedule, only later to admit that she suffered from a severe mental and emotional disorder (that she was not taking prescribed medication for). When I very respectfully suggested that we might not be a good fit for each other at that admission, she began sending me multiple spam e-mails embellished with more expletives than an episode of "Hell's Kitchen." I had a pimp call and ask me to build a site for his business so that clients could select their desired escort, schedule appointments, pick location, receive pages and text messages, pay using bitcoin or PayPal, and even sell branded t-shirts. (He was actually very web savvy and relaxed, until I told him that morally I couldn't do what he wanted). I had an electronics recycling warehouse with thousands of physical items to inventory call and ask for a single price efor a site that would put all items online for sale, and add inventory to eBay and Amazon. After a few minutes talking, she told me that she expected it to cost no more than $500 since that's what other "developers" had quoted her. I had one potential client tell me that he expected me to come to his office, build the site in front of him (and pause whenever he had to take calls of course), teach him everything I was doing while doing it, and do it all within a 2-4 day period, for slightly above minimum wage. The list is endless. So it's vital to stop the negative experiences with tire-kickers, penny-pinchers, daydream entrepreneurs, those that see no intrinsic value in internet marketing or need to be convinced of its reliability, and help those who value and understand what we developers can truly do for them and can benefit the most from our work. At this time, I use an e-mail form to screen potential clients, and while some have complained that it's too long, confusing, or unfair, I've also had others complete it in its entirety and ended up with some great new clients or leads as a result. Whether the form is too long or too short, I encourage all web developers to ask more questions before working with clients, use contracts (or "agreements" or "understandings"), record conversations if it feels right (and you have client permission of course), and build more in the way of process refinement. I've seen developers insist on not using screening forms and then months later go out of business or choose another line of work, seen developers insist on using very short intake forms (or e-mail forms) only to confide later that they have to spend hours upon hours consulting clients they never end up actually working with later. My feeling personally is that you should be able to spend 5-10 minutes completing a form. If a potential client can't (or won't) do that, how would we work together on a quality end result and start a successful internet marketing plan that would build a business?