Re: My wife the job hunting instructional designer

Subject: Re: My wife the job hunting instructional designer
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 09:02:02 -0700

The real issue has to do with how the size of the job was estimated.
If you believe that the estimate is accurate, the rate is okay,
and that the deal is worded so that changes from the initial plan
call for more money, then a lump-sum deal (with at least one-third
up front, one-third on delivery of a draft, and one-third on
completion) is as good a way of structuring a deal as any -- better
than most. I often work this way.

As for training, well, companies generally consider training as
an investment in productivity. As such, people on short-term
contracts do not represent a very good investment opportunity.
Trying to get the client to pay for training is essentially a
way of getting more money out of a contract when you can't get
the client to cough up any more in the way of an hourly rate,
or when the training has nothing to do with your own skill set
(for instance, if you shepherd some of the client's employees
through an outside training program, you're there to help train
the employees, not to be trained yourself, and the client should
pay for both your time and the training).

From the client's view, they are hedging against someone who
might turn out to be slow due to gaps in her skills. The flip
side is that if she is really fast, she'll earn an astronomical
hourly rate. So the questions to ask are:

1. Do you have any confidence in the time estimate?
2. Does the hourly rate allow the time to balloon somewhat without
causing you to want to hang yourself?
3. Does the deal include wording that insists that:
a. Reviews be turned in promptly (with "promptly" specified),
b. Significant additions or changes in direction require that
the altered portions be renegotiated (with the answer --
additional work to be paid at so much an hour and the
schedule slipped -- specified)?

I normally word the deal so that corrections will be made at no
charge for 30 days after acceptance. This is mostly to allow me
to invoice the client on delivery (they'll sign off the invoice
even if they haven't reviewed the "final" copy under these
circumstances, and I get paid sooner). Cheap, sneaky clients
might be able to take advantage of such things. My solution is
to put up with them once, then always be "too busy" to work
with them in the future.

-- Robert

Robert Plamondon, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139

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