Re: Contracting moral dilemma

Subject: Re: Contracting moral dilemma
From: Fabien Vais <phantoms -at- ACCENT -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 1997 08:12:22 -0500

>Dan Azlin wrote:
>It is rare indeed to hear someone offer to give money back just because the
>job turned out to be easier than you thought it would be.

I am really shocked to see that I was the only person who suggested to David
to reduce the estimated amount of money needed to complete the job. And by
the way, I never said to *give back* any money. David had only received an
initial deposit for the job. I only said that he should (or at least I
would) adjust the estimate and tell the client that after careful
examination of the material, the job would not take as long as expected
(nothing to do with the difficulty or complexity...) and that because fewer
hours would be spent on it, the estimated number of hours (and total
"estimated" amount of money) would be reduced appropriately.

I don't know of any client who wouldn't appreciate this sign of honesty and
professionalism. It seems that some of you people are of the opinion that if
the client was *foolish* enough to accept the high estimate in the first
place, well too bad for them. An estimate is a gamble...! Anyway, next time,
it could be in their favor. So run to the bank before they change their
mind! Well I disagree. An estimate is just that - an estimate of the work to
be done and the money required to accomplish the job. It can (and should) be
adjusted if you feel this is justified.

Having said this, I obviously try very hard never to "increase" an estimate,
and I have occasionally absorbed a little unexpected extra time spent on a
contract. However, if I feel that I need to spend two weeks more than
expected on it (or as in David's case, if I realize that I need to spend two
weeks LESS than expected), I will certainly see no reason not to adjust the
original estimate, and inform the client one way or the other.

Perhaps I'm being naive, but I've always preferred honesty. And it has paid
off several times.

Fabien Vais

>--------------------
>At 08:03 2-5-97 -0800, David Castro (aka The Tech Writer) wrote:
>>I have successfully bid on a fixed-price contract. I signed the contract
>>yesterday, and will receive the first payment today. I started working
>>on the files last night, and realized that there really is a lot less
>>text than I was thinking when I bid the contract (a non-professional
>>actually used sufficient white space!).
>>
>>My potential dilemma is: what if I spend a lot less hours on the project
>>than I calculated for my bid? It is a fixed bid, but I still based it on
>>how many hours I thought it would take. If I go over the amount of time I
>>estimated, I certainly wouldn't expect to be paid more...but should I
>>return whatever portion that I didn't work for?
>>
>>Another contract will follow this one. Should I just adjust the other
>>contract to offset any unworked-for income on this one?
>>
>>-David Castro
>> techwrtr -at- crl -dot- com
>> http://www.crl.com/~techwrtr/

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