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  1. #26
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    Yup...I see your point. But if you choose to do sub-contract work then that's part and parcel of it.
    Winners Respond. Losers React.
    Singapore Web Designer

  2. #27
    SitePoint Zealot evilunix's Avatar
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    Definitely, I agree with you there. In a way it's a small price to pay for not having to put all that work into finding clients yourself! Just replying to the original post and really just wanted to say he should go for it (as long as it isn't going to cause any huge problems). As well as the extra money you will also get extra creative freedom with the project

  3. #28
    Always have a backup plan! failsafe's Avatar
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    Having been in this business for many years my experience has ranged from running an agency that hired both employees and contract workers, through to the provision of long- and short-term freelance services (I currently provide design, coding and writing services for a number of agencies that act as middle-men for their clients). This provides a unique position of being able to view this question from both the perspective of giving work and getting work.

    I whole-heartedly agree that having a contract is, by far, the best practice for providing services. Others on this thread have made the point that as there was no formal contract with this client that, therefore, all and any action is fair game. Legally, that is probably true. Ethically, it is questionable. Respectfully, I submit that it is not good practice to work directly for a client's client, unless that client ceases to do business with the third party or provides express permission to do so.

    Every person has the right to make their own decisions and to set their own ethical standards. It's been my experience, however, that rigid ethical practices pays dividends in the long-run. Client loyalty and reputation are just a couple of examples. The labyrinth of making a living while maintaining personal integrity can, indeed, be daunting and I wish you the wind at your back while attempting to navigate through the maze.
    "We're all mad here." Cheshire Cat—Alice in Wonderland, 1865
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    Graphic Design • Web Development • Writing and Voice Services

  4. #29
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    hi!

  5. #30
    SitePoint Member lost_in_code's Avatar
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    Hello DaDeViL, I do not use this forum all that much, however; this post really hit home for us. We have been in the web biz for 12 years and we have seen allot, this seems to be more and more common place that one would think. I can tell you that in past we have one sub contractor we used that did something similar to what your proposing.

    First off unless the original contractor that highered sub contractor states in writing that they are no longer going to work with this client, what your are considering is always unethical.

    Legality wise this is left up to interpretation between the three parties involved and can end up in court depending on the circumstances. In our case we sued and won a settlement even with-out a written contract. I will state it's essential in every project, that you have a very detailed contract of terms and services. We will not do any work with any subcontractor or client with-out a contract of terms and service, today.

    DaDeViL you can burn 1000's of bridges in a matter of one move like this, that could crush your business long-term if you're not very careful. Ethics is everything in this business and if you want to last long term and make a successfully business, always go with ethics and you will come out ahead. We just recently had a test of ethics in the sum of $80,000, we turned away a project in the name of ethics, we are not hurting for work either. I would think this means something, if not then that is on your business ethics and in time a decision like you are considering will come back to you in the end, it always does.

    Even if the contractor that highered you is worthless and the client can't stand them, ethically you cannot work for this client until that contractor releases them or the client releases them in writing.

    Think about, when you need the same services in the future as you expand you would want to ensure this doesn't happen to you as well.

    That's me 2 1/2 cents on this subject.

  6. #31
    SitePoint Zealot raymo's Avatar
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    Today's Sitepoint Tribune has a piece on this topic and thread;

    Contractors: Swiping Clients Is Suicide!

    Check out this recent comment from the forums -- it had me on the verge of a brain hemorrhage!

    DaDeViL was working as a sub-contractor for Company A, doing Company B's work. Company B approached him directly and asked him if he'd like to work with them directly. A little later, DaDeViL told Company A he'd be working with Company B directly.

    DaDeViL wanted to know why Company A was so outraged at his decision: "I don't see this at all as being fair."

    Is he kidding? Consider that Company A has taken him on and provided him with work. And what does he do? He steals their clients! It's unbelievable!

    Just so I'm clear, let me explain what's happened here. Company A does all the hard work attracting the client. They find the right team. They take all the risk (and there is enormous risk every time you take on a client). Then the contractor grabs the client and says "Thanks! I'll have that one!"

    Talk about biting the hand that feeds -- DaDeViL has done that, and then spat in their faces. Yet he genuinely doesn't seem to realise that he's done anything wrong.

    How can you avoid these kinds of pitfalls? What about getting a mentor? A business mentor can be a great thing. That person can be someone to bounce ideas off, someone to turn to for advice, and someone to provide direction on the finer points of business etiquette. If you're starting out in business, I'd implore you to seek out an experienced and level-headed business person to talk strategy with.

    A seasoned businessperson can help you avoid business suicide, and keep you on the path to quality work as a quality operator. DaDeViL could give this idea some thought!
    I think it is a bit unethical to take clients from the business that gave you the work in the first place, except under certain circumstances, such as:
    • Company A can no longer take care of Company B;
    • Company B comes to you directly, after a significant amount of time
    • You don't have enough work without doing this


    With that said, it was quite inappropriate for the author of the piece to use DaDevil's alias, especially when they use hyperbole. And need I mention the disrespect to him?

    it had me on the verge of a brain hemorrhage!
    ...
    He steals their clients! It's unbelievable!
    ...
    Talk about biting the hand that feeds -- DaDeViL has done that, and then spat in their faces.
    On top of that, the piece doesn't demonstrate much open mindedness, and I think borders on ignorance - consider the exceptions I mentioned above.

    I'm sure I'm not alone asking for a "please explain", and I invite the author to exercise their right of reply.
    ride it like it's stolen

  7. #32
    Twitter - @CarlBeckel busy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raymo View Post
    With that said, it was quite inappropriate for the author of the piece to use DaDevil's alias, especially when they use hyperbole. And need I mention the disrespect to him? On top of that, the piece doesn't demonstrate much open mindedness, and I think borders on ignorance - consider the exceptions I mentioned above.
    I agree. I usually love everything Brendon writes, (even when complaining about avatars blinking too much) but I think your point of view was taken a little out of context DaDevil.

    My opinion is that stealing clients is certainly a big no-no, but there's nothing wrong with discussing the exceptions to this rule and how far no-competes should go.

    My opinion on a standard no-compete is they go as far as the parties involved want them to. I base my decisions on what I need, not what I hear other people do. If someone needs something different that's when we negotiate.

    An example of a less clear situation: Company X has a legitimate reason to want to stop dealing with Company A, but they like the stuff they know you provided, and there is no contract. This is more of a grey area where the ethics are less clear. Talking with Company A about the situation before making a decision to do it would certainly help your case for not being "that guy"

    Of course even if it's ethically defensible you still have to consider how or if you can maintain a relationship with company A, and if it's worth it to not only lose that but possibly have them badmouthing you as well.

    Also, use contracts.

  8. #33
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    I've been a small-time freelance web developer for around 10 years now...most of my clients are individuals needing a small business website, but some of my clients are multi-million dollar organizations, too.

    My point is that for me to hire a lawyer to create a formal (legally binding) contract is not usually a feasible option. I do draw up a SOW (Statement of Work and Expectations/Deliverables) and have it signed by both parties, however.

    In my experience and that of other freelancers I know, having direct contact with company X when you are working for company A is a very common situation and usually facilitates better project-process communication that having to make every move through company A when the primary expectations have already been clarified on that project.

    Also, I do not mind paying company A for finding me a client -- so long as I'm getting compensated what I agreed to at the start. However, how long should company A get money for my work when they are not contributing anything to that project? For as long as you are working on the initial project (contracts not withstanding).

    What happens when company X is not happy with company A and seeks to find a different company to do their work? That is perfectly fine and up to companies A and X to resolve ownership of intellectual properties and related.

    if you then become that new company you may have your reputation damaged by company A, damage your reputation with company A and lose future work from them and referrals, and should not expect company X to stay loyal to you for any duration -- the precedent having been set.

    There are, in business as in all relationships, certain intangibles that do not fit into any rules. These include the nature or type of relationship you have with company A and the subjective relationship you have built with them. If they are not meeting their end of this relationship (or contract if you have one) then you should go to them and communicate this issue. If they just want to make money off your hard work and do no more than broker your services...I say walk...unless this is the clear agreement to begin with. But as suggested above, I would wait until you have completed the current assignment, unless company X terminates with company A directly.

    Okay, enough rambling opinions coming from my corner...good luck.

  9. #34
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    Ethics aside what you have done does not make business sense.

    You should always think of the "life time value" of the customer. In the long term Company A would have provided you far more income the going with company X.

    Relationships are everything in business, if you do the right thing you will never be short of work.

    Cheers,
    Shaun.

  10. #35
    SitePoint Member kcire's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by mukulgupta View Post
    You have a good relationship with Company "A" and it is not wise to go around them. The logic of company "X" is simple, they will get same quality work at probably lesser price and faster.

    I suggest you focus on lifetime value of relatioship with Company "A" and not just about the current deal with Company "X".
    This would be my answer too.

    So DaDeViL please never underestimate the power of trust! And never forget to be thank full to in this case 'Company A' for having hired you in the first place and not someone else...This is also something that you should keep in mind...Or are you a total a-hole? Doing honor to your name...
    Erick Schluter
    Amsterdam . Netherlands
    Linkage, a nice websites portal

  11. #36
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    I just came here via the article about this post in the SitePoint Tribune newsletter. I'm compelled to post as I'm somewhat disgusted by the Tribune's clearly biased and skewed summary of DaDevil's post and stance. I've read DaDevil's posts and see he is not "da devil" the Tribune author has made him out to be.

    God forbid anyone should ask a sincere question on these forums, seeking opinion and advice, lest they be attacked in a one-sided SitePoint newsletter and their member alias abused in this way. I think he's owed an apology, and let's see this isn't repeated as surely we don't want to discourage people asking for advice and opinion on any relevant topic.

    Bel.

  12. #37
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Well this is a fiery topic

    I suppose there a three sides to the story. DaDeViL's, Company A's and an unbiased objective point of view which we'll never know.

    Personally, I just think it was a bad decision. If you sub-contract for Company A, your client is company A. That's it. That's who gives you the work and that's who pays you. They take the risk if company X doesn't pay up.

    We've got a client who owes us quite a bit (true story). Our contractors got paid. We paid them out of our pockets and the debt we're owed doesn't affect them. That's the difference. If you sub-contract, you don't take the risk. We are loyal to our team an expect the same in return. If one of our contractors tried to take away a client regardless of the circumstances they would not be working for us again.
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
    Principal / Internet Development

  13. #38
    SitePoint Zealot raymo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bel View Post
    ..I'm compelled to post as I'm somewhat disgusted by the Tribune's clearly biased and skewed summary of DaDevil's post and stance.
    I expect better from sitepoint. Brendon, please explain?
    ride it like it's stolen

  14. #39
    SitePoint Member kcire's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by bel View Post
    God forbid anyone should ask a sincere question on these forums, seeking opinion and advice, lest they be attacked in a one-sided SitePoint newsletter and their member alias abused in this way. I think he's owed an apology, and let's see this isn't repeated as surely we don't want to discourage people asking for advice and opinion on any relevant topic.
    Bel.
    I think 'DaDevil' got the answers he deserved...What is wrong with that? Maybe because the answers are not what he (or you for that matter) likes or expected...They still are answers to his question.

    But maybe you are right and it al started of wrongly...Maybe it should have been somewhat more friendly. I asked DaDevil if he is a 'total a**hole' thinking like he did...Maybe this was a bit hard.

    So, DaDevil I would like to apologize for my foul language.

    But besides that...My answer will of coure not change.
    Erick Schluter
    Amsterdam . Netherlands
    Linkage, a nice websites portal

  15. #40
    SitePoint Zealot raymo's Avatar
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    kcire, I nearly responded to your a-hole thing but ended up deciding to not dignify it with a response.
    ride it like it's stolen

  16. #41
    SitePoint Member kcire's Avatar
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    I keep forgetting that they way I talk always looks pretty horrible when written down...Usually I keep it descent...But when silly does...
    Erick Schluter
    Amsterdam . Netherlands
    Linkage, a nice websites portal

  17. #42
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    I too am here from the Tribune article.
    My experience is 55 years of successful business back when contracts were based on your GOOD WORD/ETHICS not a legal system.
    Today with the lack of ethics we need the legal system.
    DaDevil ... get a contract or agreement.
    If Company A sues you (for any reason) it will cost you enough in legal fees (as defense) that you will wish you never heard of Company X ... NO MATTER WHAT THE OUTCOME.

    If I were Company A ... DaDevil would be terminated immediately because:
    1. Apparently his common sense is lacking.
    2. His ethical thermometer is clearly broken.
    3. His ability to rationalize why he should knife (in the back) ONE of his employers is running over time.
    It is NONE of his business WHY Company X does not like Company A.
    4. No matter how great and wonderful his work might be "shooting himself in the business foot" IS NOT one of the traits I look for in an employee or associate.

    Company X's business (or contract if there was one) would be terminated immediately because:
    1. I do not deal with unethical people no matter how much they can provide in dollars. If they screw ANYONE eventually they will screw YOU and that is simply not worth the time or effort.

    As for this thread being exposed in the Tribune?
    Bravo!!
    This kind of behavior needs to be exposed/discussed wherever it is found.
    As for the comment about/with the blinking avatar?
    I find it annoying however my 6 year old great grandson found it fascinating for about 30 seconds ... that's how long it captured his attention.
    Can I assume you are 26 going on 12?

  18. #43
    SitePoint Zealot raymo's Avatar
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    Whoa, the knives come out!
    ride it like it's stolen

  19. #44
    Twitter - @CarlBeckel busy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kat7 View Post
    As for the comment about/with the blinking avatar?
    I find it annoying however my 6 year old great grandson found it fascinating for about 30 seconds ... that's how long it captured his attention.
    Can I assume you are 26 going on 12?
    No, I'm 29. Your excellent ethics and character are highlighted by the fact that you like to spout off insults to people you don't know for no reason. Sorry you don't like my avatar, but you'll remember me every time you see it, whether you want to or not.

    I'm glad I could entertain your grandson.

  20. #45
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by busy View Post
    An example of a less clear situation: Company X has a legitimate reason to want to stop dealing with Company A, but they like the stuff they know you provided, and there is no contract. This is more of a grey area where the ethics are less clear. Talking with Company A about the situation before making a decision to do it would certainly help your case for not being "that guy"
    As your Avatar was brought into question , I thought I would go back and look at what your posts were about. I think the above point is an excellent suggestion and would do nothing but improve the relationship between the contractor and Company A.

    As far as I'm concerned it's all about ethics and principles. I think aside from a dislike of blinking avatars Kat7 shares the same point of view.

    BTW: Once I started to really look at the Avatar, I have to say.... nice shades of blue... The green is a bit strong though.
    Andrew Wasson | www.lunadesign.org
    Principal / Internet Development

  21. #46
    SitePoint Zealot raymo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by busy View Post
    Sorry you don't like my avatar, but you'll remember me every time you see it, whether you want to or not.
    Hear hear.

    PS, I like your avatar.
    ride it like it's stolen

  22. #47
    SitePoint Enthusiast Brendon S's Avatar
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    Geeez, I'm a bit late here!

    Hello busy - love your brilliant input here. Your answers are always insightful and just plain useful. But not a big fan of that avatar though (and I think I wrote the bit from the angle of usability, so be gentle with me)!

    The bit I wrote in the Tribune about DaDeViL was, without doubt, the most fiery thing I've ever written. My editor very, very rarely edits (I can only think of 1 other tiny edit) what I write in any way and she toned it down a fair bit.

    I just really passionately and vigorously wanted DaDeViL to understand that what he was doing was a business practice that would almost certainly result in his business failing short, medium and long term.

    DaDeViL received a few bits of advice that danced around the subject. I wanted him to hear loud and clear a strong opinion about what he was doing so he has no doubt.

    And having said that, from what you wrote DaDeViL, I think you genuinely didn't see how your actions might be perceived.

    If I had my time in business again I'd get a mentor as the first thing - someone to bounce ideas off and chat with about issues like DaDeViL encountered.

    Because we all probably need a bit of gentle guidance now and then as we go through the time life that is business, and maybe newsletter writers should do that rather than just get fired up??!

    It's a terrific thread. Great stuff. And keep at it DaDeViL - business is a tough road and perseverance is what's needed. Good luck.

  23. #48
    SitePoint Wizard jimbo_dk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brendon S View Post
    The bit I wrote in the Tribune about DaDeViL was, without doubt, the most fiery thing I've ever written. My editor very, very rarely edits (I can only think of 1 other tiny edit) what I write in any way and she toned it down a fair bit.

    I just really passionately and vigorously wanted DaDeViL to understand that what he was doing was a business practice that would almost certainly result in his business failing short, medium and long term.
    So in essence you're perfectly fine (and even think you did a favour) by making a public display of DaDevil and belittling him with your one-sided opinion. He posted here not thinking to start a flame war, but to get some input into his situation. It is very unprofessional of you to write in the way you did, and you don't even seem to realize that. I don't know what to say.....
    Winners Respond. Losers React.
    Singapore Web Designer

  24. #49
    SitePoint Enthusiast Brendon S's Avatar
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    Howdy jimbo dk

    Yes, more than happy with what I wrote. His thinking/actions were (and like I say, I think he genuinely didn't understand how what he was doing might be perceived) a terribly inappropriate way to conduct business and would, without doubt, set him up for failure later.

    He asked for some input into his situation - just because you don't like the input or the way it was articulated doesn't reduce the value of the advice. I have little doubt the passion with which it was written would have made him sit and say "Wait a sec, this guy's gone off! Maybe I need to revisit this."

    And yes, most opinions are one-sided I'd think.

    Re being unprofessional - nah, don't agree.

    Thanks for the input.

  25. #50
    SitePoint Enthusiast DaDeViL's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Everyone, Thank You for the replies...

    Especially the replies stating the support against the comments Brendon made ON THE TRIBUNE.

    Brendon, please realize that you yourself need to figure out how your words are percieved and the amount of force they really have. I know how big an impact and the amount of respect you have on the users of this forum and web site.

    Mentioning my name specifically on the tribune has now officially left a bad taste on ALL your readers who did not actually read my post...

    What if I set my web site url in my profile details? What if in some other post on the forum, I mentioned my web site? Now you have associated my name with someone who is completely an imbecile and so my company too... and so in your effort to 'help' me - you have made things much worse.

    I understand what your goals in your words on the Tribune were. To drive home the fact that what I (supposedly) propose is completely unacceptable. This I already understand - from the valuable replies already given to me. You could have found another way to do this.

    I wasnt afraid of the answers I would get...that was why I asked the questions in the first place - why would I bother otherwise?

    Everyone else: In an effort to climb out of this hole I've been thrown into, here is the summary of what actually happened with Company A's relationship and mine afterward:

    Company A and I still have a trusting relationship. No one's client was 'stolen'. I continue to do work for Company A and they are happy to provide it. Company X's work is still billed through Company A.

    This WHOLE situation was caused by a misunderstanding of expectations by both me and Company A, and the WHOLE situation was fixed by ME (DaDeviL) accepting the fact that Company A is still working with Company X and I will not be able to work with Company X until Company A is done with them.

    This was ALL done BEFORE I made the original post - through MY own decision and ethics, and not through the help of this forum.

    Even though it was the right decision, I was not happy with it, and I wanted to figure out why... thus I wrote the original post, it was to see WHO was correct, and WHAT the acceptable decision would have been for the industry. And mine proved to be correctly aligned with the industry! Now I am happy with the decision I made because it's what YOU all would have done!

    I also wanted to use the situation and example to figure out - in the industry - what the acceptable amount of time you should wait until you can start competeing with a client, or if it was acceptable at all...

    So Brendon, I still respect you and your opinions, but I would like some kind of mention on the next tribune that will help me get out of this bad light you have so easily put me in for all those users who did not read these posts.

    Everyone else, is this too much to ask, or what is an acceptable way to get this embarrassing situation fixed?


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