Re: Another day in the Life of an Independent Contractor...

Subject: Re: Another day in the Life of an Independent Contractor...
From: joanne grey <j_grey -at- writeangles -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 06 Dec 2002 09:22:57 -0800


Charles E. Vermette asks:

* is what I'm describing normal client interaction (or am I just being
ornery?)

To some degree, yes, it is. But some clients seem to be more interested in the process than in getting the work done. Sometimes it is due to poor planning at the beginning, other time it seems (to me, anyway) like a way to avoid blame later on. It could also be that you're dealing with someone who is unsure of themselves and wants to verify every tiny thing. Or it could be driven by something of which you are completely unaware.

> At what point do *you* separate normal client interaction from
billable time?

If the client requires that I be onsite for a meeting, or even a phone meeting, I bill. If the client didn't require it, I wouldn't be there, right? The client knows that I bill for meeting time.

Can you just firmly send your schedule to the Project Manager each time you are asked for a meeting, and maybe ask if anything has changed? I mean, explain that you have your schedule and are working from it. Once your schedule is set, it shouldn't change that much, right? You might include an update to let him/her know where you are with things. Sometimes, this is enough.

* What do *you* do if/when you feel a client is wasting your time? How do
you tactfully say "I don't think another meeting/discussion is
necessary?"

Sometimes I say exactly that. I've (oh, so tactfully) asked a client which they needed most: the work finished or another meeting. I've gently reminded the client that the meetings are costing them a fortune and we're on a budget, and that the time/money would be better spent. I've used legitimate excuses and missed meetings.

I'd also point out that this is rare. Most meetings can be productive at some level or another, even if it's just a nugget of information mentioned in casual conversation.

Just my opinion.
-j


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References:
Another day in the Life of an Independent Contractor...: From: Charles E Vermette

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