[consulting] General consultant's vent
dave.terry at mediacurrent.com
Thu Aug 6 19:04:19 UTC 2009
+ 1 on enjoying the discussion thus far. I think Domenic hit the nail on
his head with his legal analogy. The legal industry, while mostly despised
J, has really figured it out - if you go to visit a lawyer there is an
expectation that the first 15 minutes to an hour is free while the details
of the case are discussed, discovery, etc. but anything beyond that is
billable time. In the tech sector, the buyer usually does not understand
the value or benefits of the services that are being provided. However, if
you walk into a law firm there is an understanding that there are varying
levels of expertise (i.e. a senior partner bills more than a newly minted
law school grad), and more importantly the client gets "it.". Conversely,
Drupal/tech customers can't comprehend the subjective nature of our rates
and why 3 developers may charge 3 different prices - its partially their
fault, but we need to do a better job of how we position and market
ourselves to avoid these constant fee fights. There is a reason why the
Lullabots or Acquias of the Drupalsphere charge on the high side - not only
have they earned the street cred, but really done a wonderful job at
positioning themselves in the public market. In Acquia's case it certainly
helps that Dries is the co-founder. Understandably though, they are viewed
as the "senior partners" in the firm. There will always be a sliding scale
of economics at work, but don't lose sight of the fact that marketing is a
big part of your consultancy.
From: consulting-bounces at drupal.org [mailto:consulting-bounces at drupal.org]
On Behalf Of Domenic Santangelo
Sent: Thursday, August 06, 2009 12:48 PM
To: A list for Drupal consultants and Drupal service/hosting providers
Subject: Re: [consulting] General consultant's vent
On Thu, Aug 6, 2009 at 6:34 AM, Brian Vuyk <brian at brianvuyk.com> wrote:
I agree with you in principal. If the client doesn't approach us with fully
drawn up specification and design documents, they should expect to pay
consulting time to get their project refined and firmed up. Historically,
probably 10-15% or more of my hours were tied up in this aspect of business.
However, as long as so many developers are willing to do this for free, it
can't easily be stopped. Small shops, like mine, can't give up a competitive
edge like that, and charging a client several days labour that another shop
would give for free just doesn't work.
I recently needed a legal document drawn up, so I called an attorney that
came highly recommended from friends in this area. He drew up the (one page)
document, sent it over, I looked through it and said, "great, let's do it"
and he asked for a large retainer. I can't use this doc unless I pay it.
That too got me to thinking about Drupal work -- okay, fine, let's estimate
and wireframe for free, and build that cost into contracts we DO land.
I don't really have an answer here, but I think examples from other more
established industries might show good patterns that we can follow. I dunno.
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