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RE: I Got Th' "Eagle Done Flew" Blues!

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Sorry, Bill.

I guess I misunderstood your dilemma. When I read:

"For example, my first invoice was for the "original" contract. 
Subsequently, I did some revisions at the request of the 
Contractor--revisions that I thought were unnecessary, and I indicated 
this to all involved, but when they insisted upon the work, I did it and 
billed them accordingly.

After that, I billed for the corrections to the structural deficiency.

I also billed for a field inspection (which uncovered the fact that the 
structural deficiency repairs were not being done correctly)."

I got the impression that you kept working, doing what was asked of you
while under the impression you would get paid even though your original
agreement might not have included all the tasks you were asked to do. What I
read was that you did the work and sent a bill. In my world, just sending a
bill doesn't mean the client is obligated to pay. That's why I send out an
additional services agreement, collect a signature, do the work and, only
then, write the invoice.

I admit I'm at a little bit of a disadvantage. I haven't seen your agreement
nor have I heard the other side of the story. So maybe I have the facts
wrong. I was just responding to your plea when you wanted to "entertain some
suggestions". I'm sorry I didn't tell you what you wanted to hear. I was
just trying to give you the benefit of my 18 years of private practice,
doing a lot of the things you do and have had the same experience you just
had. Amazingly, after I adopted the "additional services agreement"
approach, I have had very few billing disputes.

Bill, you are very welcome to continue doing things as you are doing them
now, just don't attack those who respond to your pleas for free advice.

With respect to your comment on the worth of our time, I consider time I
actually get paid more valuable than time I invoice and clients I have more
valuable than the clients I need to find to replace those I've pissed off.

Regards,

T. William (Bill) Allen, S.E. (CA #2607)	
ALLEN DESIGNS	
Consulting Structural Engineers	
http://www.AllenDesigns.com	
V (949) 248-8588	 .	 F (949) 209-2509	

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Polhemus [mailto:bill(--nospam--at)polhemus.cc] 
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2005 8:33 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: Re: I Got Th' "Eagle Done Flew" Blues!

Bill Allen, S.E. wrote:

>Bill -
>
>In your proposal, was the scope of work clearly defined?
>  
>
I believe it was, yes.

>When the actual work exceeded the basic scope of work did you write a
>proposal for additional services including a fixed fee for those services?
>  
>
Well, the actual work didn't really exceed the scope; it's just that 
when it came time to pay the owner balked.

>If not, this might be the source of the problem, not your client, not the
>owner nor your CFO.
>  
>
I forgive you because you live in this silly world of legalisms that the 
lawyers have concocted for us. But in the end, right is right.

I did the work, as Rajendran put it, it "added value" to the project. 
The fee was quite reasonable.

But when the work is done, and they have a "fait accompli," all of a 
sudden it "wasn't THAT much work." That's why I used the allusion to the 
"Pied Piper" story.

>There is nothing wrong with fixed fee agreements as long as the scope of
>work is clear and the client is aware (via verbiage in your proposal) that
>you will write a proposal for additional services when asked to do work
>beyond the basic scope of work and will require a signature before
>proceeding with the additional services. This way, there's no
>misunderstanding and that should raise your expectations of getting paid.
>  
>
I suppose there IS "nothing wrong" with fixed-fee--after all, I use it 
all the time. But it's a pain in the b*tt to have to go over the same 
territory again and again, before, during and AFTER the fact.

>I don't know if adopting the position of getting paid hourly will be a
>successful strategy move. I've met few clients who are willing to write a
>blank check to me even though I deserve it. There are a few folks that can
>charge by the hour, but those are generally involved with investigations of
>existing structures and expert witness testimony.
>  
>
I think there are some projects that really lend themselves to hourly 
billing. This was one such.

>I say forget the $600, apologize to your client for the misunderstanding
and
>the angst you caused between he and his client.
>
Er, excuse me? I got the first clause, but the rest was garbled in 
translation. I could have SWORN you told me to "apologize" to the client 
for his not paying me as originally agreed.

Sorry, must be bad bits on my end.

>Tell him that you will be more clear in the future regarding scope of
services and fees for those
>services to avoid such misunderstandings in the future.
>
Hm. Do you suggest translation of all contracts into Latin, perhaps?

>After that, review
>and modify your proposal so this kind of thing doesn't happen again.
>  
>

I appreciate the fact that you, too, apparently think our efforst aren't 
really worth much.

-- 
Bill Polhemus, P.E.
Polhemus Engineering Company
http://www.polhemus.cc/


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