SitePoint Sponsor

User Tag List

Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru phanie12.geo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 1999
    Location
    pompano beach, fl
    Posts
    665
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Sticky Situation

    What do you do when a client asks you to help them set up software or access logs/referrer logs or play go between with their host becuase the client doesn't know what they're talking about or they ask you to do a conference call with their email provider because they want to redirect all the email with their web address on it and so on.

    Basically, what do you do when you're asked to help, consult or do a little bit of tech support...generally things that are not within your job description ( I am a web designer and online marketer)?

    What I have been doing so far is giving the assistance when needed and not charging for it. As a result, I think some clients think that this is standard or have come to expect it. Now its happening with a big client and its happening often and I think I need to set up some guidlines becuase I spent 2 hours helping this client with technical issues yesterday so that he can have referrer logs so that we can track his stats for search engine optmization. I told him that we will not charge him for the time spent so far but any future tech support or conulting will be charged at our standard hourly rate. Did I do the right thing? Any suggestions on how to better handle this?

  2. #2
    Xbox why have you forsaken me? moospot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Clearwater, FL
    Posts
    3,615
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I would talk about it up front with your clients and discuss "consulting" fees. This is your time you are spending on your client, so I see it as billable hours.

    If you continue to give people freebies, then they will expect it in the future. I'm glad you put your foot down.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Guru phanie12.geo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 1999
    Location
    pompano beach, fl
    Posts
    665
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks Moospot.

    Any suggestions how how to tactfully address the issue upfront as to what constitutes consulting so that they are aware of it and the charges incurred upfront?

    Thanks

  4. #4
    Xbox why have you forsaken me? moospot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Clearwater, FL
    Posts
    3,615
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    LOL! I'm not known for my tact, but maybe I can help

    I would place a clause in your contract (you are using a contract, right?) regarding this issue and then go over it with your clients as you go throught the rest of the contract.

    Be professional and explicit. Explain that any intermediary talk between the client and any other company on behalf of the client is considered consulting and will be billed acordingly. Use your email example for a reference.

    Explain that your time is valuable and that you are working for them and other clients like them for a specific job. How would they feel if all your time was wasted acting as a liaison between another client and some other company?

    If the situation comes up at another time and the client wants you to talk on their behalf, just explain the terms of the contract and tell them they will be charged a consulting fee your time. They can either agree and pay you or leave you alone to do your "real work."
    Last edited by moospot; Jan 10, 2002 at 19:57.

  5. #5
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 1999
    Location
    East Lansing, MI USA
    Posts
    12,937
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I would think referrer logs would fall into your job description as they are integral to promotion and set up by development.

    However the email support thing, acting as a go between, and all of that. Just charge them hourly.

    People like having one person to go to for all their computer needs... might be a business idea in that.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
    Featured Article: Free Comprehensive SEO Guide
    My Guide to Building a Successful Website
    My Blog|My Webmaster Forums

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
    beley's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    LaGrange, Georgia
    Posts
    6,117
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have recently experienced the exact same thing with a client. Actually, they were a client of the company I worked for before going on my own... so I never actually made any money off them.

    They call every week wanting help with FTP'ing to their server, setting up an email, checking their stats, etc.

    They even called a few times when they couldn't get something to work (usually because they hosed their computers) and wanted me to come out to their facility and fix the problems.

    Finally I had to tell them that I would have to charge them and quoted them my hourly rate ($85/hr) and that I charged a 1 hr. minimum.

    The phone calls mysteriously stopped.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Guru phanie12.geo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 1999
    Location
    pompano beach, fl
    Posts
    665
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks to everyone. I will add a clause to my contract regarding this. I also need to find a way to kindly re-state it in conversation when it comes up. Sometimes, I am such a wimp!

  8. #8
    insert witty comment here
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Posts
    282
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Aye having the original contract be as clear as possible in the beginning will help prevent those harmful problems later.
    When it comes to letting a client know that they are asking for things that would require additional payment I usualy try to do it in a way that seems very postivie and as if I took it for granted that they would be paying for it
    " Absolutly I can do that for you, I'd estimate that it involves around 20 hours initialy and then 5 hours per week, our standard hourly rate is $50 but as this would be a regular part of the services you require then we could work out a flat rate per month that would save you some money."

    That would let the client know a.) That there is actual hours invloved - which they cant honestly expect you to do for free and b.) That you value their business and would work out a plan to reduce the overall cost.

    Just some thoughts on it.
    Cheers,
    Myros
    NeuralStudios.com
    Art, design, development and web management services.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Guru hurtdidit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    North Dakota
    Posts
    627
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    LOL, Brandon, that'd do the trick alright!

    "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world.
    Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." --Margaret Mead

  10. #10
    SitePoint Zealot
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    184
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you continue to give people freebies, then they will expect it in the future. I'm glad you put your foot down.
    One thing I have noticed is that no matter how much you give for free, people are generally not happy when it is their time to start paying for services. A very important point to remember is that when you are giving it for free, there is no value attached to it and as far as they are concerned (most people) they don't even know what or how much it is worth.

    For any new jobs it is a very good idea, especially in the creative/programming business to make a specific agreement before you even start any work. Of course, we all give more and help out and some additional help is a part of any job and is expected. However, when you think it has gone too far and the client has no idea and thinks that is the norm, it becomes an issue. Some people do not know where to draw the line but the worst part is that when asked to pay they get mad. Just make a contract or have a talk.

    In this case, you can approach them and say that the initial job was such and such and some other services you have been providing are usually charged additional. Tell them that you are willing to make an agreement with them to provide support on an ongoing basis based on your rates.
    http://ProgrammingBids.com-Get bids on Design, Scripts, Programming..
    http://WebHost Requests.com - request/post quotes on web hosting plans for FREE!
    http://Smallbiz Marketplace.com - small business + office services: request for or bid!
    http://Smallbiz Advice.com - get expert advice or be an advisor and earn money (new!)

  11. #11
    Non-Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    USA - WA and NY
    Posts
    176
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Congrats! Seems like your clients have realized how valuable you are!

    I would send a letter to every client you've ever had wishing them a happy and prosperous new year. AND... include information about your consulting rates.

    =====================
    Do the same thing for the client with whom you have to set new professional standards or boundaries. Then you can ask if they received the letter and go from there.

    Best of success,

  12. #12
    SitePoint Zealot
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    184
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Congrats! Seems like your clients have realized how valuable you are!
    I would disagree. As long as they are not paying, there is no value. Ture value will be realized (by both parties) only if/when they start paying for services, until then it's just gimme.

    I would send a letter to every client you've ever had wishing them a happy and prosperous new year. AND... include information about your consulting rates.
    Now, that is very good idea to send them a new contract - smooth. Do it soon.
    http://ProgrammingBids.com-Get bids on Design, Scripts, Programming..
    http://WebHost Requests.com - request/post quotes on web hosting plans for FREE!
    http://Smallbiz Marketplace.com - small business + office services: request for or bid!
    http://Smallbiz Advice.com - get expert advice or be an advisor and earn money (new!)

  13. #13
    Non-Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    USA - WA and NY
    Posts
    176
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Business owners go through so many levels... So many start by offering so many freebies... or not charging enough, etc.

    There are many parts to what value means including
    ~~having people value your opinion sure does feel good.
    ~~you valuing you by seeing additional $ for your opinion.

    Glad you liked my idea.

    Maria

  14. #14
    SitePoint Guru phanie12.geo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 1999
    Location
    pompano beach, fl
    Posts
    665
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks to all and, Maria, great idea! The letter is in the works!


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •