Pay me what you owe me
For the majority of my software contracting life I have had clients who pay me by the day. So if I work, I get paid. If for some reason I only work for half a day I only bill you for half. If I don’t bother to get out of bed, I don’t charge you. That is all fine and (especially when I’m working on site) blatantly obvious.
If I’m working remotely and not expecting to have to get out of bed then it can become a bit more fudgey and may involve a few internal trade-offs of say a Wednesday evening coding on the sofa in return for a Tuesday hangover. It all evens out, especially as I can prove pretty much when I was and wasn’t working on things and Git commits are timestamped up to the hilt. I can’t prove when I was or wasn’t thinking about a project but am working on a robust system to do so :)
Sometimes my clients get it into their heads that the job is “fixed price”. I’d like to make it very clear to everyone that I do not do fixed price jobs. Ever.
The closest I come to a fixed price job is when I will say something like, “Ok so you’ve got enough budget to hire me for three weeks, we’ll reduce the scope of the project so it’s achievable within that timeframe and budget plus a bit of slack in it too hopefully.” This happened recently, only for my client to turn round and describe the project as “under specced” and expect to not have to pay me for significant extra work. That was stupid and I’m very cross that I let them get away with it.
While we are at it, piddly little changes add up. They take time. They are annoying. Piddly little changes are not necessarily quick and simple to implement depending on how everything was structured and the assumptions made in the first place. Piddly little changes may in themselves not be a good idea and are often a great way to delay the release of a project. They are far better stacked up and done in a solid run/sprint than tinkered about with in down-time while I’m supposed to be doing something else and don’t have my full mind on the job. They are also billable, hereon at double my standard rate pro-rata’d out unless turned into a standard planned day’s work.
If a client then turns round and asks for more (be that for any reason whatsoever) they should expect to pay me for my time.