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

Subject: RE: Another day in the Life of an Independent Contractor...
From: Bryan Zako <bryan -dot- zako -at- interfacing -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 06 Dec 2002 09:57:08 -0500

Charles writes:

* is what I'm describing normal client interaction (or am I just being
ornery?) At what point do *you* separate normal client interaction from
billable time?

-- if you are doing something with the client (or for the client) you bill
them. The approach someone once suggested to me was to think of a $200/hour
lawyer. Call your lawyer to ask how the case is going and, if he were to
tell you "fine" and you both hang up, that call will cost you $50 (15
minutes of his time). This is extreme, but I would log the call, log EVERY
meeting and email I must respond to or initiate, and then bill them. They
are taking up your time (which could otherwise be spent on another contract,
sleeping late, drumming up other business, etc.).

* 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
--there is no wasted time. You bill them for the time you spend with them,
talking to them, chatting with them, listening to their bad jokes. Do you
run a business or are you their friend? I don't charge friends. I charge

It sounds like the contract conditions were left vague and open to
interpretation. That is too bad and not much you can do about it now. I
always make it clear that ANYTHING I do for the client is billable. That way
I have the flexibility to charge or not to charge... however it is my
discretion. The client is approaching you to do business and understands
there will be payment for services rendered. All the support activities
(attending meetings, emailing, etc.) is part of the services rendered.

Bill. Bill. Bill.

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