[consulting] General consultant's vent

Domenic Santangelo domenic at workhabit.com
Thu Aug 6 05:38:44 UTC 2009

On Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 7:49 PM, Ayen Designs <info at ayendesigns.com> wrote:

> My fault for being too kind I suppose.

You know, I don't think that clients need "kindness" per se. Generally, our
clients come to us with a problem that needs solving, and we can solve it
for them. But sometimes brutal honesty is what they need to get them on
track. I don't mean to say we should be rude or condescending or BOFH-ish --
just that true communication is, in the long run, more beneficial to them
and to their businesses. *Yes*, we should treat our clients (and everyone,
right?) with kindness; but I think you can be honest and kind at the same
time. To me, it's a question of what will benefit the client the most in the
long run. (caveat: The OP might have meant "polite" or something along those
lines, so don't take this as personal criticism :)

Tangentially, I've been pondering how we as consultants bill clients. Take
this horrible car analogy: I go in and say I want my car to do something it
doesn't do properly now (I want the brakes to stop squeaking, I want the AC
to blow cold air, whatever). The mechanic tells me it will take x hours at
shop rate to diagnose the problem, and that he'll call me with an estimate
-- usually with the caveat that if it's something really stupid simple,
he'll just do it real fast. I agree, he calls me later and gives me a quick
rundown, I say yea or nay.

To abstract:
1) Client wants something done by a professional
2) Professional promises a quote in X hours for $Y per hour
3) Professional provides quote
4) Client approve or denies, and work either ensues or doesn't.

Why is this so different from what we do? The OP mentioned not billing for
time investigating. I've seen it done that way in a bunch of shops, where
they just chalk it up to the "cost of sale". Maybe I'm just stupid and
nobody else works like this, but I know that I've spent a _lot_ of time
estimating something out (sometimes as much as 20% of the estimate!) and not
billing for it. That doesn't seem right to me. How do you guys handle the
OP's situation from a billing standpoint?

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.drupal.org/pipermail/consulting/attachments/20090805/feec4dcd/attachment.htm>

More information about the consulting mailing list