Friday, December 4, 2009

Do you use this line in your contracts?

sleazy weasels
Don't waste your time, I am going to make you read this to find the line.

This is the point as well. Who reads contracts? Raise your hand!

Now who writes their contracts?

How many of you ask your client if you can steal money from them on every project?

Yes you read that correctly.

In subcontracting some work we received contracts which include a line that says something along the lines of:

This project may run over our estimates, we will provide additional billing upon client approval.

So this is a license to steal. Why you ask? Because what incentive do you have to finish the project? What stops you from saying, in the middle of it all, we need 100 more hours and if you say no, well it's not finished so we will leave you in a mess.
And I have seen this many times happen through the years, used to be SAP projects or .Net applications, SEO companies, website designers, roofers/construction and movers.

I bet every single Microsoft Business Partner uses this line as projects from any of them came in under budget or under time. Especially those laughable attempts at rewriting Domino applications in .NET.

This is probably the best way to admit you have no idea what you are doing.

Now, I admit things happen, problems arise and delays occur but didn't you take any of that into consideration when you wrote the estimate? Even if you are double charging someone(like the armies $400 hammers) why would you include this line?

Our contracts never say this. We due exempt us and clients from acts of God, after all I live in a hurricane zone, but that doesn't change costs, just sometimes delays in completion.

If I quote a project, that is the price, don't ask me to discount it, unless you are paying upfront in full, in cash. I am not a sales person. I am a business man. Business needs can never be discounted, otherwise they are no longer needs are they?

So if you get proposals which include this line, just toss it and the vendor and find someone open and honest and upfront. You will save a ton of money in the end.

Or spend double having someone clean up the 1st vendor's cheap price or over time heavy project that is still not completed.


  1. there is an intriguing post about that here (google translated, italian original here: ) it basically propose to split the amount due in two, a fixed half based on the estimated and a variable part based on your daily rate.
    so, if you're fast and finish the project in less days than estimated, your client is going to spend less but you earn more per day, if instead you go late, your client is going to pay a bit more but you're going to earn less per day.

  2. Giuseppe,
    Thank you for the link, I commented there.
    The problem is I do not want to overrun projects and lose money or be made to look like a fool in front of clients.
    It happens, software and hardware are troublesome. But usually it's fine.
    His way I think works better for repeat customers who trust you already. Just my thoughts.