Consulting Clients Don't Always Pay
Here's a story about an IT consultant that got himself in a jam and his client wouldn't pay…
I'm certain this is going to be one of those “the devil is in the details of the contract,” but I need some advice.
My client hired me to do some analysis work and listed 10 scenarios they wanted analyzed. The Statement of Work listed the scenarios and specified that I would be paid for 10 days of consulting at a fixed daily rate.
I needed to use an analysis package hosted on the client's private network. The assumptions built into the model were riddled with errors. Because of the remote hosting and the errors, each analysis run took many hours and kept producing unreliable results. I met with the client daily to go over the previous day's effort and the poor results produced.
In the end, we were only able to produce one effective analysis after two weeks of effort. The client now does not want to pay the invoice because the 10 scenarios were not completed. My view is that the client was paying for my labor as an operator of their package. The client's view is that they were paying for valid deliverables.
The Statement of Work dictates, among other things: We will abide by the direction given to us by the client, if during the 10 days of services, they want to change the activities performed. With that in mind:
- We were told what to do every day.
- We were told not to modify the business rules in the system.
- The business rules in the system did not reflect reality.
- We were told to run the analysis anyway.
- When we ran the analysis in a manner that was recognized as valid, the numbers returned were valid within the scope of the application. The client didn't like the numbers because they deemed them as unrealistic.
In the end I did get my client to pay by doing the following:
- call again
- call again (repeat N times)
- tell people who speak to client
- appeal to shame
- call more
- imply legal action
- stir the shame pot again
- call more
- Insist on a date for when check will be mailed.