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Author Topic: Strange customer...  (Read 16263 times)
cranioscopical
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« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2007, 01:24:51 PM »

Just to update, the customer has not contacted me since I refused the passport details, which was 2 days ago.

Looks like everything has turned sour.  Angry

There are a lot of legitimate reasons for failing to reply in a prompt manner.

OTOH, if it transpires that the failure to reply was deliberate, don't you think that implies that you're better off not dealing with the other party?
Better to find out now than later.

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Chris
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« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2007, 01:34:46 PM »

Better to find out now than later.

Even more reasons to have contracts in place before you start work.   Since he did the work he would still be out his time, unless he can some how get compensated for his work through some other means.

Keep us informed on what happens...
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2007, 07:04:47 PM »

If you don't get a reply or paid for the work is there any potential in selling what you have done - that would make him sit up tellme
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Ralf Maximus
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« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2007, 08:45:10 PM »

Oh!  Then send him a link to buy the thing online when you have the site ready.

Price: $5000
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John2k
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« Reply #29 on: October 12, 2007, 08:05:59 AM »

I just emailed him again, and requested that he contacts me for payment details. The appliciation is now complete, so my end of the bargain is over as far as work is concerned.

I could try and market the program myself I suppose, but more likely it will never see the light of day.

Hopefully I'll get a reply today, i'll let you all know.  smiley

John.

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mouser
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« Reply #30 on: October 12, 2007, 08:11:33 AM »

my experience has been that you can detect scams on first contact.

in the case of your customer, i suspect everything is fine and on the up-and-up, and you're just experiencing the normal uncertainties and delays of business as usual.
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Veign
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« Reply #31 on: October 12, 2007, 10:16:28 AM »

Adding to mouser:  A phone call goes a long way.  Call and talk with him on the phone.  *Alot* of things can be cleared up with a simple phone call.
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John2k
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« Reply #32 on: October 13, 2007, 08:30:54 AM »

Hello all,

I eventuallty got an email back, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting...
He never mentioned the passport situation, he just asked if I could make some minor alterations to the program.
When I say minor, he wants me to attach to various processes and perform some Lotus API programming. Hardly minor considering what the projects worth...

If I hadn't committed myself without proper terms in place, all this wouldn't be happening, it's turning out to be a nightmare.

I'll keep you posted, if and when a contract appears!

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Veign
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« Reply #33 on: October 13, 2007, 10:58:28 AM »

Ask for some sort of 'good faith' payment before making additional changes outside the scope of the original spec.
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Ralf Maximus
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« Reply #34 on: October 13, 2007, 01:26:25 PM »

All you need to do is assemble a quotation for the additional work and send it to him.  Estimate the number of hours it'll take you (+ 25% since these things ALWAYS take longer than anyone thinks) then send it to him for approval.  Keep it polite.  Tell him if he wants the work done, all he has to do is approve the quote via email and you'll jump on it, with delivery by date x.

It'll accomplish a couple of things: (1) indicate that the party is over, no more "minor mods" for free, (2) shows in a professional manner that you disagree with his definition of "minor" without making a big deal of it, and (3) serves as a defacto contract that you can wave around later for payment.  If he agrees, and you deliver, you're owed the money.  Period.

Of course this won't replace a real contact if/when that comes, but it'll cover this small bit of extra work.
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mouser
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« Reply #35 on: October 13, 2007, 01:50:18 PM »

get paid for the work you've done so far before you add stuff.  or use an escrow service.
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John2k
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« Reply #36 on: October 15, 2007, 09:41:31 AM »

I took everyones advice and emailed him for payment for work done so far.
He's still being difficult about making significant changes, but I made it clear that I will not do anymore until a payment is made.

Anymore hassle will definitley result in me walking away from it (which I should have done earlier).

I'll post back and let you know what he says.

Thanks.
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Ralf Maximus
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« Reply #37 on: October 15, 2007, 09:45:52 AM »

Thanks for the update!  Hope all turns out well.
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tinjaw
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« Reply #38 on: October 15, 2007, 10:48:49 AM »

I've been lurking on this thread. Good advice. An good luck to you John2K. It sounds like you have gotten things straightened out. You might want to think about writing up an article about your experience and presenting it to some of the popular developer websites. They are always looking for that type of postmortem article.
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Veign
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« Reply #39 on: October 15, 2007, 12:17:28 PM »

That's a good idea TinJaw.  An article that has two versions: the way I did it and the way I should have done it.  Let others learn from what you experienced.

All projects I do with new customers require a proposal.  The proposal has several parts:
1) Quote: Simple itemized list of cost and the terms of payment (for me its 50% down / 50% upon completion)
2) Scope Of Work: Details of what will be delivered, whats required (like a server supporting PHP and MySQL - never make assumptions with a contract), what the client has to provide and what the time frame on the project is (with a clause about client induced delays)
3) Terms of Service: This is a the legal stuff about ownership, payments, project completion and review and all the standard legal stuff.

This fully outlines what they will receive, for what price and what is in place to protect both parties.

Also the Quote includes a statement that reads "by accepting this quote you accept the Terms of Service by default".  This is further protection as the TOS is what protects me and my services.

Once I have a 'good' project behind me with a client I can be a little more lenient with the proposal process for simple projects.  I still do a proposal for all complex, time consuming projects where the Scope of Work needs to be better defined than an email or phone call can do.

After you do a few proposal you will have a template of cookie cutter phrases and terms so writing them becomes easier and easier.

Good luck and spend a little time developing your contracts.

Also, having a professional proposal makes you look more professional in the clients eyes as its usually the first thing you develop/prepare for them.  They will judge you by the professional aspect of your proposal.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2007, 07:17:12 PM by Veign » Logged

mouser
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« Reply #40 on: October 15, 2007, 02:02:50 PM »

I think veign makes some great points.
This is one of those cases where the extra work up front both serves to protect you *and* will convey to the other person that you are a professional and know what you are doing.  You may increase your price based on preparing a proposal or quote, but it's bound to be worth the time.
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John2k
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« Reply #41 on: October 15, 2007, 03:24:46 PM »

Excellent advice! Thank you.

I'll certainly consider writing an article when this sad(or hopefully good) story ends.

I have been a developer for quite some years now, but unfortunately I've never had the (dis)pleasure of customer interaction with regards to setting time frames, contractual obligations, or even liaising about design aspects.
The 'managers' dealt with that stuff.

I suppose there is more to a programmer than writing code!

I'm glad to have posted, you've all been a great help, with really good advice.
I'll certainly keep you all posted on how this pans out.

Thanks.
John.
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steeladept
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« Reply #42 on: October 21, 2007, 12:20:47 PM »

One other thing to note that I learned in my MBA law class that you will want to consider (and Veign, you may wish to add) putting in all contracts:

1) Phrases specifying explicitly what is NOT included (in addition to what is as you already have mentioned) that may be expected by new contract negotiators.
2) A covering phrase stating anything that is not explicitly included in this contract is hereby explicitly excluded.

Without these statements, many contracts end up in the courts and get thrown out as a "No meeting of the minds" type contract where the judge works more as a mediator to renegotiate the contract or make it null and void.

That said, it does not invalidate anything else already mentioned, it only adds to it.
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mouser
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« Reply #43 on: October 21, 2007, 01:02:57 PM »

really great, simple point steeladept.
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Veign
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« Reply #44 on: October 21, 2007, 02:31:41 PM »

steeladept,
Item #1 I already include.  Mine usually contains things like hosting and domain name

Item #2 - Where would something like this go?  In the TOS or at the bottom of the Scope of Work section?  This is something I would like to add and thanx for the advice.
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John2k
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« Reply #45 on: October 23, 2007, 09:50:59 AM »

Hi,

I got an email today and everything it seems, will turn out fine. The customer is in the process of making an intermediary payment and is sending me a contract as I type. As soon as I get the contract through, I'll post back and see what you all think of it.

In the meantime, are there any template contracts I can view so I can get a good idea of what to do next time?

Thanks,
John.
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mouser
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« Reply #46 on: October 23, 2007, 09:54:12 AM »

Forgive me for quoting myself, but as i get older i need to prove that indeed what i'm losing in terms of speed i'm gaining in terms of wisdom:

Quote from: mouser
my experience has been that you can detect scams on first contact. in the case of your customer, i suspect everything is fine and on the up-and-up, and you're just experiencing the normal uncertainties and delays of business as usual.

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Ralf Maximus
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« Reply #47 on: October 23, 2007, 10:01:18 AM »

I got an email today and everything it seems, will turn out fine. The customer is in the process of making an intermediary payment and is sending me a contract as I type.

Yayy!  Congratulations!  Isn't it grand to actually get paid for your work?
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John2k
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« Reply #48 on: October 23, 2007, 10:52:00 AM »

Forgive me for quoting myself, but as i get older i need to prove that indeed what i'm losing in terms of speed i'm gaining in terms of wisdom:

Quote from: mouser
my experience has been that you can detect scams on first contact. in the case of your customer, i suspect everything is fine and on the up-and-up, and you're just experiencing the normal uncertainties and delays of business as usual.



I never once doubted you... Honest  cheesy



Yayy!  Congratulations!  Isn't it grand to actually get paid for your work?

It feels good to finally put this ordeal behind me, the coding was the easy part as it turned out!
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #49 on: October 23, 2007, 11:03:17 AM »

Good news - don't break out the champagne though until you have the cash in your sweaty hand Wink
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