Re: Asking The Billing Rate?

Subject: Re: Asking The Billing Rate?
From: topsidefarm -at- mva -dot- net
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 2005 06:32:28 -0600

> > Tony Markos: According to the Contractor's Handbook
> > website: An opportunity for the agency to demonstrate
> > to me that they are moral and ethical. How does that
> > sound?
> By extension, not disclosing it is immoral and unethical? I see
> nothing unethical about not disclosing the information,
> <snip>
> John Posada
> Senior Technical Writer

Yes, it can be. A number of years ago, I was set up on a contract where
this came into play. I willingly took the job at $35/hour, because that
was what was pitched to me. And that's what I gave the customer, $35/hour
performance, no more, no less. I don't play superstar on contract jobs,
and I don't believe in providing what is not being paid for. This is
business, not charity.

Well, after a few weeks, I was approached by the customer about why
certain things were not being done. My simple reply was that what he was
asking for was well beyond the scope of my contract: I wasn't being paid
to do what he wanted. Next thing I know, this guy is screaming, ranting,
and raving at me "What do you mean you're not being paid for it? What the
@#$%^&&* am I paying $80 an hour for?"

Well, once I got him calmed down, we had a long discussion about what he
was paying and what his expectations were, versus what I was being paid
and what my expectations were. As I sat there in his office, he called the
agency and terminated the contract. He hired me directly to continue the
work (at a higher rate with higher performance by me), while the company
looked for someone who had more the skills they were looking for. We
parted on good terms when I found another job more in line with my skill

Now, had I known up front what the customer was paying, I would have
followed one of two different paths. First, I might seen it as an
opportunity to stretch my boundries and have taken the position. I would
have put in a lot of extra hours outside of work to learn what I had to in
order to do an acceptable job. I had done this previously where a $60/hour
position ended up working out to less than $30/hour when all of my outside
study and the cost of training classes were factored in. It was rough, but
that contract was definitely worth it.

On the other hand, in this particular case, I probably would have turned
the position down as being way beyond the scope of my abilities. Given
what the customer had been led to expect, the amount of outside effort
would not have been worth it. I had made decisions like that before and
was not affraid to admit when I was in over my head. Either way, the
customer would have been better served.

So yes, John, failure to disclose can be immoral and unethical, when it
results in people being deceived.

Jason A. Czekalski

PS. I should mention that the agency involved in this incident is no
longer in business. More and more customers got tired of their
ethically-challenged mindset.


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