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  1. #76
    SitePoint Wizard mcsolas's Avatar
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    Just a general response to the first post
    -
    Ive learned to really try and not discuss this type of code reuse with my clients.

    For this very reason - if they know its getting easier for you - naturally they are going to want to pay less.

  2. #77
    FBI secret agent digitman's Avatar
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    For anyone else interested, I've told him that if he doesn't pay me by tomorrow this'll be going in a dispute. He seemed shocked and didn't want me to do that, so I think its unlikely that he'll want to do it himself.

    He told me to not push it, he's busy and once he tests on the new domain name he'll pay, etc etc etc. He even said that since I missed 2 or 3 deadlines, why can't he miss his deadlines of when he's going to release the funds.

    All in all, I told him he has until tomorrow to do any more testing he needs. If it takes longer than tomorrow i'm going to put this in dispute. There's enough evidence to support my case that I completed this in time, so we'll see what happens.

  3. #78
    SitePoint Zealot kosh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidjmedlock
    I believe that RentACoder stipulates that all work is done as "work for hire" (may be wrong about that) meaning that he owns the code once its paid for.
    Hmm. Since this is a scenario where he hasn't fully paid up yet, it may be that the client doesn't own all the code yet. I've had that happen before. My contract stipulates transfer of ownership upon full payment. Without that, their ownership doesn't transfer, and I take back the code. In this case, the guy has paid for some previous projects, so he owns all that old code. But I think the new code would be open to debate regarding ownership.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidjmedlock
    That being said, he also owns the data and your destruction of the data could lead you into a whole horrible heap of legal issues.
    Well, here I agree. Technically, the developer didn't add all that data into the database himself. It's going to be hard to claim it as his own, and therefore, hard to justify deleting it.

    Having said that, remember the client I mentioned about 5 posts before this? The client that took 9 months to pay, and only did so because they wanted me to do more work? Well, I did more work for them, and they said, "thanks, but we're going with someone else now, and we don't think you did enough, so we're not paying the new bill." Yeah, they cut me off before the finish line, and brought in someone cheaper to do the last few hours of work. Nasty.

    My protection is twofold. First, and something that I don't think the OP has considered, is that you can always send bills to collections. Let the collection agency do the dirty work for you. If you have it in your contract that unpaid bills accrue interest, the collection agency will love you. They'll bill for the max they can get, and they'll play hardball.

    My second bit of protection is this:

    http://navphp.sourceforge.net/

    This is a file explorer that you can install for Web-based file management. Very handy if, perhaps, a client refuses to pay and changes all the passwords -- which is what happened in my case. So I used navphp, and I reverted every file I had touched back to the state it was in before I was hired (yes, I saved backups of everything). Then I wrote them a nice email, stating that since they hadn't paid, they had no rights to my code, and therefore everything had reverted back.

    I do not know if you'll also label that as unethical, but I'm happy I did it, regardless of the label it has. I only reverted the files I had worked on, I deleted nothing unless it was 100% newly created by me, etc. I left the database alone. They still had a working site, but it didn't contain any of the new features. I felt that was very ethical -- they didn't pay, and I kept my code. Of course, they came back saying they wanted to work it out and would be happy to pay. However, I just wanted to lose them as a customer at that point, so I made no deals. I wrote off the unpaid money as a lesson learned. I felt comfortable that if the client decided to sue me over it, that it would be clear to the judge that they had not held up their side of the contract, thus voiding any ownership transfer, and validating my decision to take the code back. Perhaps other people wouldn't feel so secure. But it seemed like a reasonable solution to me.

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  4. #79
    FBI secret agent digitman's Avatar
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    Thanks for that Kosh.

    I'll see if I can also use this script, but I had to upload all code to RentACoder so even if I lose the dispute and I revert the files, he would be able to download the code again from RentACoder. That is why I was going for the database wipe, since thats the only thing that'd really teach him a lesson.

    But, I'll see if I can still use it. The client probably won't know how to replace the files if I revert them anyway.

    Thanks again Kosh. You're the man.

  5. #80
    SitePoint Enthusiast Labrocca's Avatar
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    Be happy you have a steady client you can work with. If you work is less because of shared code then the price should be less. That doesn't seem difficult from a business stand point. If you want to get full price...rewrite all the code. If you take shortcuts and your client knows...expect him to want a discount. Most likely this is the reason he is using you repeatedly.

    I have a designer that reuses lots of his CSS and html for designs I contract him to do. I pay him a fair rate but what used to take him 4-6 hours now takes 1-2 and I pay him accordingly. He has no complaints because I still give him steady work and quick payment.

  6. #81
    FBI secret agent digitman's Avatar
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    I have put this in a dispute. Lets see what happens. I hope I can prove to RentACoder that he emplicitly extended the deadline on the project by showing them his emails in which he asked me to make feature tweaks/fix a few bugs after the deadline on RAC had passed. If not and I lose all the money, I'll consider this a lesson for myself and move on.

    Labrocca, if he was quick at payment and offered me an hourly price, I would be very happy to give him a discount. However he was a manager of some corporation before he started on the internet, and he has this idea that workers are to be exploited as much as possible, paying them the bare minimum and doing your best to pay that as late as possible. Your programmer is very lucky for having a client like you, trust me when I say that.

  7. #82
    SitePoint Addict Robert_2006's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by digitman
    However he was a manager of some corporation before he started on the internet, and he has this idea that workers are to be exploited as much as possible, paying them the bare minimum and doing your best to pay that as late as possible.
    This is standard corporation tactics. Very few people care about their workers these days.

    I'm not sure just what work you did on the site but perhaps if you don't get paid for it you should release it someplace as a free script or at a smal fee. This way his site is no longer original piece of work but a generic mass produced script.

    I'm sorry for your trouble.

  8. #83
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    i think it would b nice if u reduce ur price.

    reason:
    1. since u can reuse 50%, u save ur time and start another money-earning business.
    2. customer sastifaction -- something like customer loyalty program which might in turn bring more sales in long run.
    3. If you insist not reducing the price, u may make him angry and lost the job. lose-lose condition. try to make it win-win situation, negotiate with him, both party willing to give away a little bit

  9. #84
    SitePoint Wizard davidjmedlock's Avatar
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    Digitman, I'm glad I could be of help. Emotion often runs very high, but we have to remember that this is business and we have to keep our emotions under control sometimes so that we don't do things that could be damaging down the road.

    Also, it's a good thing you put it into dispute with RAC before he did. Hopefully you can prove that you've consistently gone above and beyond what was required and RAC will see that and release the funds. If so, take the money and RUN LIKE H E L L!!! Get as far away from this client as possible. If for some reason you lose the dispute and don't get the money, cut your losses and move on to the next project.

    One of the most difficult lessons we have to learn is when to throw in the towel. We always hope that we can get the money back, that we can make the client happy, etc. But sometimes, it just doesn't work out and we waste too much time and lose too much sleep and get too stressed out about things that are relatively small and unimportant. The money, at this point, is probably not worth the stress.

    Best wishes! Keep us posted.

  10. #85
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    You have a flaw in what you did. You gave the person the script without them paying. Being a repeat customer it might not be so bad, but it looks in your case it possibly could be. If you can, throw the script on a subdomain and have him test it from there. That way, there is only 1 spot (not multiple domains) that has the latest and greatest updates, but then you still have the code while they do not. I have never used rent-a-coder, but if you do file a dispute, what happens? They can't really take all the code back because if he has it on a domain already he has it.

  11. #86
    FBI secret agent digitman's Avatar
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    You are correct in that they can't take all the code back. But if you can give them a URL on which the client is using my code, they close his account on RentACoder and he can no longer use it to outsource.

    I know I wouldn't really care about whether or not he gets his account banned if he's using my work for free. But still, RAC is the best protection I have against this. Now I at least have a chance that they look through my code and see that I really did the work and didn't get paid.

    Not going to bore you guys with the details anymore until something major happens on the dispute. Thanks again David and everyone else for the support!

  12. #87
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Forgive me if I am repeating what has been already said, but I didn't read all the responses to this thread.

    Some people are making comparisons to software companies like Adobe and Microsoft that sell software to millions of customers. Now obviously, once these companies start to "break even" on a product, they are not going to lower their price (at least, not in most cases).

    However, that analogy is flawed. Those companies were not commissioned to create a custom piece of software; rather, they created it with the intent to sell it to many different customers.

    On the other hand, in this scenario, the developer was hired to create something from scratch. In theory, this means that the initial development of the software was paid for the first time it was "sold".

    Now obviously, the initial poster does not want to give up the income that this portable piece of software has given him up to now. However, the client is not stupid, and realizes he is basically paying for the same thing over and over.

    That doesn't mean you can't still make some money - you probably just won't make as much.

    When the project was commissioned, the client basically paid for two things: a) the actual "work" that was put into developing the software, and b) the "value" that the software brings to the client.

    Now, you have to focus on selling the value portion of that equation. However, because there is not as much development time involved, you can't logically expect the client to keep paying the full price over and over.

    What I would do in your situation is establish some sort of fixed "setup fee" for each project that uses this initial codebase. This would cover the basic setup as well as the value portion mentioned above. I would also make it clear to the client that any customization would be extra - billed in whatever manner you bill at now (whether hourly, by the job, etc).

    I don't blame you for trying to make the most money possible, and if this client wasn't as smart, you could continue to do so. But in the case where the client does know what is going on, you are better off reducing your price to keep the client. This sounds like a fairly lucrative client for you to have, and personally, I wouldn't want to risk losing him over something like this. After all, it's not as if a new arrangement would cause you to lose money.
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  13. #88
    SitePoint Member eruditus's Avatar
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    Kosh,
    The only sane one, congrats!!

  14. #89
    SitePoint Evangelist old_expat's Avatar
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    Yes, whilst I am re-using some of the code, I spent extra time initially making it so that it could be re-used, you weren't charged for this extra time, on the basis that I would recover the cost of this time, from future work. So you gain in quicker turnaround times for future projects, and I recover the cost of the extra initial time.
    And how much do you recover from subsequent projects if your customer goes looking for a coder who will co-operate with him, reward his loyalty with reasonable rates and not try to play him for the last $?

  15. #90
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    It's depend on how u justify long term business and short term business.

    getting high payback from a short term biz may harm ur long time business.
    getting too low money from short term biz may make your biz cant continue ur biz long.

    My advice, u can reduce a bit, but not necessary until 50% discount. so both parties give away some fraction, and both happy.

  16. #91
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    Thanks for reminding me why my only client now is me. When I did take on clients I wouldn't budge on price, the good clients stayed, the bad ones moved on and continued down their trail of "problems with the last developer".
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  17. #92
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    digitman,

    It seems that you and your client are taking positions, and getting confused about the interests behind them.

    Answer the following two questions and you will have the answer to your problem, which I'd like to call an opportunity =D

    1. What are your interests behind the price of your product?
    2. What are your clients interests behind the price of your product?

    If you focus on the positions your taking, you will clash until the day you die. Get to the root of it and communicate to him to find out what he is really interested in. Then you will know your answer.

    Beyond all this from my standpoint, time and effort has little to do with the price you would pay. The fact that time and effort are considered for the price is troublesome to me.

    As long as you provide more value for less than your competition, he will not go anywhere.

  18. #93
    SitePoint Member msiedle's Avatar
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    Personally I charge everything based on the time I put into any new client site. If I can port across some older 'proven' code that suits a new job I'm doing, then doing that saves me heaps of hours/days/weeks, then I can pass those cost/time savings over to my customer ...ends up a win-win situation as far as I'm concerned. They (the client) get a lot of code for their money in a short time span, and I get a good reputation for productivity.

    I guess I see this more from your client's point of view ...sorry :-( He's paid for you to develop that code once, I think he has a right to feel that he can cut costs on any future development that could use that same code

    M

  19. #94
    SitePoint Zealot covantage's Avatar
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    Will your $/hr rate be close to what you expect to make. If yes, then go ahead and accept the project.
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  20. #95
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    Be interestig to hear what has happened with this one..I've just read through all four pages. I know its slightly different, but I work for an electrical contracting company and we have developed in conjunction with a customer a machine that is used for traingin Cuttign Horses. Bear with me here...sounds way off topic. Obviously being electricians (Im not myself, Im just the monkey on the front desk) we charge by the hour. That first unit we charged him for every hour we put into the job...labour and R&D both. Units since then have been charged for labour, and for any additional features which we have developed. He paid huge for the first one, because there was so much R&D but now that we reuse what we learnt and developed from that project, he only pays a fraction of the cost. Hourly billing is the way to go. We can account for every cent we charge a customer because it is shown in the log what we did, so whenever one of our major clients disputes an account at the end of the month (which is rare) we just show them the log book and tell thim..this is how many hours Ryan spent here, and this is what he did...this is Kens...etc etc.

  21. #96
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    Dont cut the price as we are reusing the code. It is our smartness to write a code which can be reusable.

  22. #97
    SitePoint Enthusiast kozuch82's Avatar
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    Sure regular clients want their advantage - they give you more business than they need to.

  23. #98
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by searchmax
    Dont cut the price as we are reusing the code. It is our smartness to write a code which can be reusable.
    Maybe, but the bank doesn't allow deposits of 'smartness'.
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  24. #99
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    It can't be done.

    We can not pay the developer some % less next month as he worked on the similar project last month already. We can not cut any overheads - no % concessions from elecricity department as we worked on the same projects

    Ofcourse we can do a project for a little less cost. This is something a freedom of the developer. We may or may not do.

    When the same code is being used, we refine it more, and the client gets a more proven, error reduced code. Code reusing is almost knowledge reusing, its experience, and its an asset to a company to grow higher.

  25. #100
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    I hope I can prove to RentACoder that he emplicitly extended the deadline on the project by showing them his emails in which he asked me to make feature tweaks/fix a few bugs after the deadline on RAC had passed.
    Yes. On RaC, if you continue asking fixes after the deadline you implicitely extend the deadline.

    Now, if his specs were clear enough and the feature he requests were not in the original project, you should be safe...

    Unless his project was so vague that he can say anything is included.. in this case, things are more complex ..


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