Re: A Contractor's Question

Subject: Re: A Contractor's Question
From: Jean Weber <100241 -dot- 2123 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 1997 03:51:39 -0500

Some other people have responded regarding clauses in the contracts they
sign, but while "renegotiating if the client is late" is important and may
cover your ass, it doesn't keep the money coming in. You can also put in a
clause that says if they are late, they pay a penalty (either a set amount,
or an extra X$/hr).

The past few years I've used a combination of "accept every job" and
"specify dates when the client must provide things." I make the specified
dates realistic in terms of my own schedule, then when (as is inevitable)
things slip on the client's end, I tell them they have to go to the back of
the queue, or I explain that their project may be late because I have
someone else's (on time) job to do now (even if it's not true). This never
has made clients more efficient, but only one client ever seemed to think
this was a bad attitude on my part. Also if I tell them I'm likely to be
late (because they were late), and I do get the job done on time (or only
slightly late, much less than I'd told them it would be), then the client
thinks I'm terrific for putting in all that extra effort to meet their
needs. (Mind you, that can backfire if they then come to expect miracles
every time.)

Also I've now got a pretty good idea of which clients are habitually late,
so I simply double-book (or even triple-book) my time and juggle things as
they come in. Sometimes (but rarely) I've been caught out with too much to
do -- then I subcontract to a friend.

Of course all of the above only works if you are working in your own
office, not theirs. For on-site jobs, I've never had the problem of having
to wait for a start date (once they make a decision they always seem to
want me to start tomorrow, if not today), but there is often a long time
from sending in my resume, to getting an interview, to a decision being
made. In the meanwhile if I get another offer, I take it, and tell the slow
one that they lost because they were too slow.

I figure it helps maintain my professional status and the perception that I
am a busy person. I'm not waiting around waiting for YOU to make up your
mind. And when we have an interview, I interview YOU as much as you
interview ME.

Regards, Jean Weber

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