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Re: Catch-22 Software Cost

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I have selectively charged the client for software, charged a portion of
costs and absorbed the cost, depending upon anticipated repetition of
similar projects. I have taken a similar approach to equipment, even where
it was not an expendable item (like strain gages). I have also worked for
firms in the past where a "use" fee was charged for the more expensive
investments, which included both software and equipment.

In the end, my personal decision was based strictly upon financial
considerations; i.e., would I lose money or make a profit. My own interest
in doing the work has determined how small a profit I am willing to accept.
There have been projects which I have declined as I did not expect to be
sufficiently profitable due to necessary up-front monetary expenditures. On
the other hand, I have taken a loss where the interest level was high.
Extreme cases have included pro bono work, although this was unrelated to
"professional interest" and was based entirely on client need.

Unfortunately, this tends to be a large problem inversely proportional to
the size of the firm. The larger firms can target a market area, make the
investment and pursue new work. Yes, it is frustrating. There are areas of
work I would like to pursue but the necessary financial (and time)
investment has been prohibitive for an individual with a family and

James Cohen, PE
James Cohen Consulting, PC

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