Not able to talk to developers? Industry practice?
I have a guy offering me to build a site for me, but he doesn't want me to talk to his developers. He says he is afraid of people-poaching and wants to be the sole point of contact. Is that the industry best practice?
I tend to think that's the practice in pretty much every business, you deal with a single individual empowered to have contact with clients, but not individuals who may do the actual work. Unless of course you're dealing with a company that has only one employee; its owner.
I have a guy offering me to build a site for me, but he doesn't want me to talk to his developers.
It would appear that you are dealing with a salesman who is outsourcing the job.
Find some one you can actually talk to who is knowledgeable about the development requirements of the particular type of site that you want or need.
It's pretty easy to spot a salesman or graphics designer posing as a web developer... when you ask for a feature they won't hesitate to say, "Sure thing! And what else do you want to put on that page?"
The developer will normally listen to ALL of your requirements and then say, OK, BUT we might need to re-organize a bit so that everything works smoothly." (...or something to that effect.)
One of my specialties is re-working poorly "designed" development schemes. Shop around and have your requirement list in hand so you don't have to contract somebody else to fix a sick project.
This could be the case in two scenarios, as the person you are talking to is a one man company who outsource works to freelancers or the other could be that he is the sales person as well as the developer.
Generally in any company the sales person do not play any major role in the production and the clients directly talk with the production heads or the project leaders. The sales person only come into role when the next invoice gets due or a routine check with the client to know if he is happy with what the production team is doing.
If this person is not making to talk to his developer so he might have the fear of losing a client, but checking his credibility is important for you, you can ask him to give you the contact details of his past clients so that you can know more about his worth and the quality he can deliver.