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  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot
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    A Demanding Client, Please Help!

    Hi Guys,

    I'm having a problem with a client at the moment.

    I building a brand new super-site for a company based on an old and poorly developed one currently in use.

    I've tried, without success, to convince them that there are better ways of performing their tasks than the ways in which the current system forces them to. They are not convinced, but now insist that I implement the old methods and the new ones suggested by me. This, they tell me, will let them try out both ways, but I say it's a waste of my time and an unfair demand.

    A contact has been signed, but the exact specifications of the system have been left vague. Stupid, I know.

    So, contractual and legal obligations aside, do you think I'm being unreasonable by refusing to implement two ways to perform one task by saying exactly this:

    "I'm providing a logical solution, not an open-ended wish list. Would you demand a bottle of both red and white wine for the same price, just in case you didnít like one?! My giving you options and making suggestions is not for the good of my health. Iím not trying to make the job easier for myself. I want to build a great system and do things the right way. Please do not take advantage of that."

    Is this really b1tchy of me? I know it's all so out of context, so itís probably difficult for you people to form an opinion, but Iím hoping your feedback will inspire some logical thinking that will help me come to the right decision.

    Thanks everybody!

  2. #2
    SitePoint Enthusiast valuetech's Avatar
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    It sounds like the facts are on your side. It sounds like you've thought this out. But where you really screwed up was on the contract, as you said.

    Given that, you may end up having to do both systems to make them happy, but you can try to explain your position using rational and logical thinking. I'd say they'll respect you more if you take that approach.
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Zealot cpiwc's Avatar
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    Was the billing done as an hourly or a flat rate? If it's hourly, then just let them know if will take approximately X additional hours to complete the second set of functionality. If it's flat rate, even with a vague system spec, can you work it in that creating a second set of functionality has resulted in larger scope. If so, I'd go back to them and say that and that creating the extra functionality will again take approximately X additional hours at your hourly rate to complete. Get their ok to do so and get working. This may also help them decide if they really want to sets of functionality to accomplish the same task. Sometimes the client doesn't think about it until the money aspect is considered.

    I wouldn't say exactly what you said above. It's probably not the most professional response. It's not unreasonable to not want to do the extra work if you're not going to be paid additionality for it, but if you would be paid additionaliy for it, would there be a problem? Explain to them that the intial timelines (and prices) were based on a single-path system, not a double-path so that changes the scope.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Hmm, ring up your contact at the company and have a calm, reasoned and most importantly, a professional business chat. Explain that you want to provide the best solution possible and that they've hired you for your professional experience, and your suggestion is that they should go with the new methods - if they don't want your opinion, why are they hiring you?

    Of course, it may turn out that there's simply crossed wires and they are happy to pay you extra to do both methods.

    If they still say they want both for no extra money and start waving your vague contract at you, I would personally tell them to shove it - you really do not want to be working with clients like this. You need to work with people who respect you and your time, value your services and not someone who is going to expect you to work double for free, regrdless of how they wish to interpret your contract.

    So if they refuse to budge, send them a letter by registered post cancelling the contract and give them back their deposit minus reasonable expenses and consultancy fees. Let them move onto the next sucker.

    Unlike the previous poster, I would not accept the concept of 'you may have to do both to keep them happy' - not unless they pay you extra to do twice the work of course.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Thanks for your advice.

    I am working for a fixed price, and so more work hurts my pocket. I think I will refuse to do the extra work, but no so that the contract must be cancelled. I think I will get on to them with a toned down version of my message above.

    I'll let you know how I get on.

    Thanks again!

  6. #6
    SitePoint Addict LittleFigment's Avatar
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    eoge even if its a fixed price, its a fixed price for a fixed job. They pay the agreed amount, and get a website not 2 versions of the same website. Even a vague contract should have that interpretation.

    Reply that you understand their need to see both systems in operation, but that would result in 2 websites not the agreed one website which is beyond the original cost. Explain that the extra cost is Äxxx and do they want to proceed? You are not saying no to them but letting them know the implications of their request and leaving the choice to them.
    Be calm, rational and firm or you will get walked over. If they become unreasonable and their request results in you loosing money then use the kill clause in your contract.
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