Re: Frozen Contracts

Subject: Re: Frozen Contracts
From: Sarah Lee Bihlmayer <tecscrib -at- SIRIUS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 1995 10:20:11 -0700

On Nov. 23, Peter Kent wrote:

>Sarah Lee Bihlmayer wrote:

>> 2. When the contract is drafted, I make sure it specifies exact start andend
>>dates and minimum billable hours per month, and includes verbiage such as,
>>"significant changes in the project's duration or minimum billable hours from
>>that specified herein will render this contract null and void,and
>>renegotiation may be required for continuance of the work."<<

> That clause is a good idea--do you get much resistance from clients, though?

Peter, I do get some resistance at times...but when this happens, I
politely and respectfully make it clear that a) I am operating a business
and must have some way to predict my cash flow, and b) when projects go
through changes there has to be some mechanism for making adjustments. The
clause, I tell them, allows for such adjustments. It does not mean that I
will abandon the project if there are changes, only that the work may need
to be performed it in a different manner that may require discussion. And
I also explain that in many cases this is not even needed...because I do
whatever it takes to make my deadlines, and it always wastes time to
renegotiate. In other words, the clause is really just there to remind
them of the importance of proper planning--and of the nature of the
business relationship.

If they continue to balk, I suggest altering the minimum billable hours per
month or the contract duration...while cautioning them that if they need
more than those minimum number of hours, I cannot guarantee my availability
for the increased time without renegotiation.

And yes, there are indeed clients who will not cotton to any of this at
all...who are usually the ones I most want to avoid because they expect me
to function like a permanent staff member instead of a supplier of needed
technical services. The approach is a very good way of filtering out just
the kind of client that can get a contractor in trouble with the IRS, in
other words!

Happy turkey to all,

Sarah Lee Bihlmayer

"God is in the details." --Frank Lloyd Wright
Sarah Lee Bihlmayer
Print and Online Documentation Specialist
Technical Writing * Technical/Developmental/Copy/Production Editing
Technical Illustration * Electronic Prepress * Graphic Design
POB 27901-312, San Francisco CA 94127 * 415-207-4046 * tecscrib -at- sirius -dot- com

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