What Does It
Take To Be a
Trustworthy
Digital Agency?

Our Promise

Trust first,
profit second

You have probably heard stories about people being ripped off or disappointed by someone in the web industry. Unfortunately, this is all too common. The web industry is still very young and is facing many challenges as the cyber age unfolds.

There are few "building codes" that say how websites need to be developed. There are no regulators ensuring that suppliers are properly trained and certified. And there is an inherent anonymity to web that allows services to be provided from remote locations. This is why we work so hard to build trust first and foremost. We act in our clients' best interest...even if it means talking ourselves out of some work. Below are some of our differentiators that help us build trust with our clients.

Established Company
According to Inc.com, “96% of businesses fail within the first 10 years.” This failure rate is likely worse in our industry where anyone can wake up in the morning and say they are a web expert. Yardstick began as a sole proprietorship in late 2006; we began building websites in 2007 and we incorporated in October 2010 and have been growing ever since. Thus, we are quite proud to be a part of the top 4% of businesses that surpassed the 10-year anniversary.
No Aggressive Sales Techniques
We use a method called “consultative sales,” which focuses on providing some complimentary research and analyses to educate clients first and foremost. We believe that if we provide some value and teach our clients something, we achieve greater alignment between our clients’ needs and our own recommendations. Only then do we provide a quote or estimate for our services.
Lower Overhead
Our entire team works remotely from locations across Canada. So, we are not carrying a lease or mortgage plus other overhead that some other firms must include in their costs. Thus, we can offer more value that a bricks-and-mortar agency with more of our clients’ investment goes towards the actual work on their site or campaign.
Professional Systems
We use a project management system and file sharing system to keep all of our projects well organized and moving ahead efficiently. We also use some software to collabrate with clients which helps avoid emailing creative feedback or content back-and-forth. Internally, we have eliminated email and use Slack for open and transparent communication amongst team members. This helps minimize information silos and builds trust internally between our team members.
Passionate Team
Our remote work-structure, defined roles and flexible working hours has created a team that absolutely loves their jobs. We also pay all of our team members fair wages and salaries. It goes without saying that a happy team is more productive and efficient than a team that is grinding out low-end products at minimum wage. The end-result is higher-performing websites and campaigns for our happy clients.
Education & Experience
All of our team members are educated and certified (where possible). Kevin McLeod has an MBA in Management of Technology. Brendon McLeod received his website development training through BCIT (much of which while working for eBay). We have a range of additional education and training on our team including Google certifications, technical courses, and various certificates and diplomas.
Project Management
We have a dedicated project manager; this might not be a revelation to you. But, you would be surprised how many agencies do not have a project manager and rely on managing projects via email. Our experience has shown that projects without a PM tend to go over-budget and have challenges fulfilling the promised scope and deadlines.
Training & Support
We provide a great deal of training and support to our clients every week. We would much rather teach our clients how to do something themselves (short of teaching them programming languages). We prefer to be seen as a strategic resource by our clients and not the web company you have to pay to make changes to the words and pictures in a site.
Strong Network
Kevin McLeod is very well connected within the Vancouver business community. The same can be said for various team members who have connections to other industry professionals. We often help our clients find support for business challenges that go well beyond websites and digital marketing.
No Fixed-Term Contracts
With telecom and phone book companies entering our space, we have seen more and more contracts that require clients to commit to a six-month or one-year term. We do not believe in that. We believe our clients should have the freedom to test various services and marketing tactics without risking a long-term investment. Thus, all of our contracts have a 30-day cancellation policy. No risk. No complicated legalese.
Solvency
We keep a reserve of at least three months working capital in our bank account. We also have had no legal issues or claims against us to date that would affect our business or our ability to offer our services.
Real Estimates
Our industry is plagued by agencies and freelancers that under-quote in order to win a project and then bill for changes or “additions.” We try to quote as accurately as possible with a small contingency left in reserve (ideally not used) to account for the different amounts of communication time and hand-holding required by different clients. We believe that an accurate and trustworthy quote is better for us and the client.
To-the-Minute Billing
Unlike other agencies that round to the nearest hour, we use a time tracking system that allow our team to log their time to the minute. We do have a minimum charge of 30 minutes for small requests from our existing clients. But, we do not round our time up to the nearest hour. And we gladly provide our clients with our time logs so they can see exactly what we are seeing.
Documented Best-Practices
We document all of our processes internally so that we follow the same steps every time for every project. Our entire team has access to our knowledgebase that includes our checklists and step-by-step processes as well as our researched development standards. And we use templates within our project managament and time tracking system to ensure all project milestones and tasks are accounted for on every project and campaign we manage.
Criminal Records Check
We require that all new team members who may have access to our clients' or our own business systems have a criminial record check completed (otherwise known as a police information check or PIC). We reimburse all of our team members for completing this vital step in our hiring process.
Role Mastery
Each member of our team occupies a specialist role, which means that each team member has mastered a much deeper set of knowledge. This provides Yardstick with a distinct competitive advantage over small agencies and freelancers where one person is trying to be a designer, developer, copywriter, ad specialist, SEO expert, project manager and sale person all at once. There is truth to the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none.”
Committed to R&D
We spend several hours of our own time each month researching new developments in our industry and developing or adapting our standards. We also research technical challenges that our clients pose to use and document our findings for use on future projects or campaigns. Our industry is always changing...and so are we.
Security
At the top of our list is security. We take this very seriously. In fact, we are so serious about security that we have started a sister-company dedicated to WordPress Security wherein we implement and manage over 100 industry standards.
Giving Back
A big part of building trust is about giving back and spending time on activities that are beneficial to a larger group and not directly related to making money. Our CEO, Kevin McLeod, volunteers his time in multiple capacities to support the Vancouver business community. He is on the Board of Directors for the Better Business Bureau. He is on the Board of Directors for one of Vancouver’s oldest networking groups, VanEx (established in 1920). He has volunteered his time as an advisor/mentor to SFU business students and has been a panellist for an SFU entrepreneurship event. He is also a former volunteer speaker at Small Business BC and judge for the Small Business BC Awards.
No Cancellation Penalties
It is rare. But, life does happen. A client's business prioroities may change. A campaign may not be delivering the results the client anticipated. Or a client may simply want to try something new. Nobody likes cancellation penalities. So, regardless of the reason, all of our contracts have a 30-day cancellation policy with no penalties. If you are not seeing value, we don't deserve your hard earned money. Period.
Established Company
According to Inc.com, “96% of businesses fail within the first 10 years.” This failure rate is likely worse in our industry where anyone can wake up in the morning and say they are a web expert. Yardstick began as a sole proprietorship in late 2006; we began building websites in 2007 and we incorporated in October 2010 and have been growing ever since. Thus, we are quite proud to be a part of the top 4% of businesses that surpassed the 10-year anniversary.
Solvency
We keep a reserve of at least three months working capital in our bank account. We also have had no legal issues or claims against us to date that would affect our business or our ability to offer our services.
No Aggressive Sales Techniques
We use a method called “consultative sales,” which focuses on providing some complimentary research and analyses to educate clients first and foremost. We believe that if we provide some value and teach our clients something, we achieve greater alignment between our clients’ needs and our own recommendations. Only then do we provide a quote or estimate for our services.
Real Estimates
Our industry is plagued by agencies and freelancers that under-quote in order to win a project and then bill for changes or “additions.” We try to quote as accurately as possible with a small contingency left in reserve (ideally not used) to account for the different amounts of communication time and hand-holding required by different clients. We believe that an accurate and trustworthy quote is better for us and the client.
Lower Overhead
Our entire team works remotely from locations across Canada. So, we are not carrying a lease or mortgage plus other overhead that some other firms must include in their costs. Thus, we can offer more value that a bricks-and-mortar agency with more of our clients’ investment goes towards the actual work on their site or campaign.
To-the-Minute Billing
Unlike other agencies that round to the nearest hour, we use a time tracking system that allow our team to log their time to the minute. We do have a minimum charge of 30 minutes for small requests from our existing clients. But, we do not round our time up to the nearest hour. And we gladly provide our clients with our time logs so they can see exactly what we are seeing.
Professional Systems
We use a project management system and file sharing system to keep all of our projects well organized and moving ahead efficiently. We also use some software to collabrate with clients which helps avoid emailing creative feedback or content back-and-forth. Internally, we have eliminated email and use Slack for open and transparent communication amongst team members. This helps minimize information silos and builds trust internally between our team members.
Documented Best-Practices
We document all of our processes internally so that we follow the same steps every time for every project. Our entire team has access to our knowledgebase that includes our checklists and step-by-step processes as well as our researched development standards. And we use templates within our project managament and time tracking system to ensure all project milestones and tasks are accounted for on every project and campaign we manage.
Passionate Team
Our remote work-structure, defined roles and flexible working hours has created a team that absolutely loves their jobs. We also pay all of our team members fair wages and salaries. It goes without saying that a happy team is more productive and efficient than a team that is grinding out low-end products at minimum wage. The end-result is higher-performing websites and campaigns for our happy clients.
Criminal Records Check
We require that all new team members who may have access to our clients' or our own business systems have a criminial record check completed (otherwise known as a police information check or PIC). We reimburse all of our team members for completing this vital step in our hiring process.
Education & Experience
All of our team members are educated and certified (where possible). Kevin McLeod has an MBA in Management of Technology. Brendon McLeod received his website development training through BCIT (much of which while working for eBay). We have a range of additional education and training on our team including Google certifications, technical courses, and various certificates and diplomas.
Role Mastery
Each member of our team occupies a specialist role, which means that each team member has mastered a much deeper set of knowledge. This provides Yardstick with a distinct competitive advantage over small agencies and freelancers where one person is trying to be a designer, developer, copywriter, ad specialist, SEO expert, project manager and sale person all at once. There is truth to the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none.”
Project Management
We have a dedicated project manager; this might not be a revelation to you. But, you would be surprised how many agencies do not have a project manager and rely on managing projects via email. Our experience has shown that projects without a PM tend to go over-budget and have challenges fulfilling the promised scope and deadlines.
Committed to R&D
We spend several hours of our own time each month researching new developments in our industry and developing or adapting our standards. We also research technical challenges that our clients pose to use and document our findings for use on future projects or campaigns. Our industry is always changing...and so are we.
Training & Support
We provide a great deal of training and support to our clients every week. We would much rather teach our clients how to do something themselves (short of teaching them programming languages). We prefer to be seen as a strategic resource by our clients and not the web company you have to pay to make changes to the words and pictures in a site.
Security

We take website security very seriously. In fact, we are so serious about security that we have started a sister-company dedicated to WordPress Security wherein we implement and manage over 100 industry standards including automated backups, same-day updates, firewalls, antivirus, malware scans, encryption, up-time monitoring, speed optimization, file and folder change alert, two-factor authentication, spam protection and much more.

Strong Network
Kevin McLeod is very well connected within the Vancouver business community. The same can be said for various team members who have connections to other industry professionals. We often help our clients find support for business challenges that go well beyond websites and digital marketing.
Giving Back
A big part of building trust is about giving back and spending time on activities that are beneficial to a larger group and not directly related to making money. Our CEO, Kevin McLeod, volunteers his time in multiple capacities to support the Vancouver business community. He is on the Board of Directors for the Better Business Bureau. He is on the Board of Directors for one of Vancouver’s oldest networking groups, VanEx (established in 1920). He has volunteered his time as an advisor/mentor to SFU business students and has been a panellist for an SFU entrepreneurship event. He is also a former volunteer speaker at Small Business BC and judge for the Small Business BC Awards.
No Fixed-Term Contracts
With telecom and phone book companies entering our space, we have seen more and more contracts that require clients to commit to a six-month or one-year term. We do not believe in that. We believe our clients should have the freedom to test various services and marketing tactics without risking a long-term investment. Thus, all of our contracts have a 30-day cancellation policy. No risk. No complicated legalese.
No Cancellation Penalties
It is rare. But, life does happen. A client's business prioroities may change. A campaign may not be delivering the results the client anticipated. Or a client may simply want to try something new. Nobody likes cancellation penalities. So, regardless of the reason, all of our contracts have a 30-day cancellation policy with no penalties. If you are not seeing value, we don't deserve your hard earned money. Period.

Services

Web Design

Web
Design

We combine creativity and usability with the latest best-practices for performance and security to create websites that achieve specific business goals.

Digital Marketing

Digital
Marketing

We develop digital marketing strategies and execute campaigns to increase the number of leads and sales generated by our clients' websites.

Maintenance & Support

Maintenance
& Support

We maximize the security and performance of websites by combining best-in-class applications with over a decade of researched best-practices.

Let Us Earn Your Trust

If you’ve had a bad experience in the past, then please, drop us a line. We’ll show you what it’s like to work with a team that is committed to building Trust.