What would you do...



  • A customer ask you for a solution to a problem. You have knowledge about the customers systems because they are a repeat customer. You present a solution and give them a quote.

    The customer decide to go with another company instead.

    After some time the customer comes back and ask if you can offer some pointers to get the guys from the other company going forward with the implementation.

    What are the options? What would YOU do?



  • I'd invoice the customer and/or the other guys for consultation time at whatever a reasonable consultation rate is for your area.



  • @DustinB3403 said in What would you do...:

    I'd invoice the customer and/or the other guys for consultation time at whatever a reasonable consultation rate is for your area.

    Even if you are basically training your competition?



  • So I better understand the question a bit more, my guess is you spent time designing a solution.

    Engineering time hoping the customer would choose your solution because they've worked with you before.

    Where you messed up, I assume is you spent time on engineering/drafting before paperwork was signed.



  • @Pete-S said in What would you do...:

    Even if you are basically training your competition?

    Why do you care, you also have the choice to fire the customer and never work with them. That is their choice as well. So long as you're paid for your time doing the job.



  • Based on my previous comment on guessing where you messed up. Unless you have something in writing that your designs and proposals are to be held as confidential.

    You don't have a leg to stand on, and while I agree that you can be upset if the customer implements exactly what you proposed with someone else doing the work; you really have nothing to argue about. You'd also have a hell of a time proving it in court to try and be restored.

    So charge the other guys/customer for consultation fees for this new request and be done with it.



  • Your original quote should still be valid... Not your fault they chose a different route that isn't working out.



  • @DustinB3403 said in What would you do...:

    Based on my previous comment on guessing where you messed up. Unless you have something in writing that your designs and proposals are to be held as confidential.

    You don't have a leg to stand on, and while I agree that you can be upset if the customer implements exactly what you proposed with someone else doing the work; you really have nothing to argue about. You'd also have a hell of a time proving it in court to try and be restored.

    So charge the other guys/customer for consultation fees for this new request and be done with it.

    Your guess is correct. Except that the customer only received the overall solution but without specific details.
    Overall I consider that time a part of the selling process so that is not something I worry about.



  • @Pete-S said in What would you do...:

    Except that the customer only received the overall solution but without specific details.

    So perfect, you made a proposal, the client took that proposal with limited details and got idk 30% off of it with some other people.

    Your only options at this point are A) Offer consultation rates B ) Don't deal with the customer.

    I'd choose option A with a signed contract from the customer for an hourly rate consultation fee for this project.



  • @DustinB3403 said in What would you do...:

    @Pete-S said in What would you do...:

    Except that the customer only received the overall solution but without specific details.

    So perfect, you made a proposal, the client took that proposal with limited details and got idk 30% off of it with some other people.

    Your only options at this point are A) Offer consultation rates B ) Don't deal with the customer.

    I'd choose option A with a signed contract from the customer for an hourly rate consultation fee for this project.

    There is also option C. Tell the customer that they have our quote and that we would be glad help them with a full solution (but not the consultation).



  • @Pete-S said in What would you do...:

    There is also option C. Tell the customer that they have our quote and that we would be glad help them with a full solution (but not the consultation).

    That actually isn't an option, because the client has already engaged another entity to do the work. Of which it would likely be very costly to the customer to change vendors.

    This is essentially telling the customer that you don't want to work with them and that you're firing them.



  • If you don't mind me asking, how much was the proposal for?



  • I haven't been in the MSP/break-fix side of things for 8 years now but if I had to assist a competitor on getting their shit in order to finish the job I would have to say: YOU'RE FIRED!

    You had my proposal, you chose another vendor, your problem.



  • @DustinB3403 said in What would you do...:

    @Pete-S said in What would you do...:

    There is also option C. Tell the customer that they have our quote and that we would be glad help them with a full solution (but not the consultation).

    That actually isn't an option, because the client has already engaged another entity to do the work. Of which it would likely be very costly to the customer to change vendors.

    This is essentially telling the customer that you don't want to work with them and that you're firing them.

    I really feel like this is the only solution. The customer already shit on him once... He's not going to consult the competition lol for a reasonable rate anyway, if you want to offer them some outrageous fee, that's fine.



  • @DustinB3403 said in What would you do...:

    If you don't mind me asking, how much was the proposal for?

    About 15K of work, no hardware.



  • What @WLS-ITGuy is saying and @bnrstnr is now suggesting is that the customer has already fired him. When they haven't. They simply picked another vendor who possibly proposed the same solution.

    It may be that the customer wants @Pete-S to consult on the project but not have the entire project because his proposal was way more expensive.

    A lost bid is not a termination.



  • @Pete-S said in What would you do...:

    @DustinB3403 said in What would you do...:

    If you don't mind me asking, how much was the proposal for?

    About 15K of work, no hardware.

    And do you do consultation for anyone else?



  • @DustinB3403 said in What would you do...:

    What @WLS-ITGuy is saying and @bnrstnr is now suggesting is that the customer has already fired him. When they haven't. They simply picked another vendor who possibly proposed the same solution.

    It may be that the customer wants @Pete-S to consult on the project but not have the entire project because his proposal was way more expensive.

    A lost bid is not a termination.

    It more sounds like, to me anyway, that the potential customer took his proposal to some other guys and they said, "yeah, we can do that for less"

    Now that it's go time, the other guys don't even know where to start...

    Definitely need some clarification on the scenario.



  • @DustinB3403 said in What would you do...:

    @Pete-S said in What would you do...:

    @DustinB3403 said in What would you do...:

    If you don't mind me asking, how much was the proposal for?

    About 15K of work, no hardware.

    And do you do consultation for anyone else?

    Yes, a mix of work per hour and solutions for a fixed price. Sometimes with hardware involved.



  • Also worth noting that an hourly consultation rate is often higher for an individual contract than having a person on retainer.

    So your normal hourly rate may be $85 but for this project it might be $150 or more. (obviously made up rates).

    So while, yes you won't be earning $15K, you'd still be getting paid for your time to tell the competition what they need to do, and possible how to do it.



  • @bnrstnr said in What would you do...:

    @DustinB3403 said in What would you do...:

    What @WLS-ITGuy is saying and @bnrstnr is now suggesting is that the customer has already fired him. When they haven't. They simply picked another vendor who possibly proposed the same solution.

    It may be that the customer wants @Pete-S to consult on the project but not have the entire project because his proposal was way more expensive.

    A lost bid is not a termination.

    It more sounds like, to me anyway, that the potential customer took his proposal to some other guys and they said, "yeah, we can do that for less"

    Now that it's go time, the other guys don't even know where to start...

    Definitely need some clarification on the scenario.

    It's possible that this is the case.



  • @DustinB3403 said in What would you do...:

    What @WLS-ITGuy is saying and @bnrstnr is now suggesting is that the customer has already fired him. When they haven't. They simply picked another vendor who possibly proposed the same solution.

    It may be that the customer wants @Pete-S to consult on the project but not have the entire project because his proposal was way more expensive.

    A lost bid is not a termination.

    No, I am saying I would have fired the customer. I gave my bid/proposal, you went with vendor B, I'm not fixing the shit they can't do, even if I am getting paid. That's the price they pay for going with cut rate vendors.



  • @Pete-S said in What would you do...:

    @DustinB3403 said in What would you do...:

    @Pete-S said in What would you do...:

    @DustinB3403 said in What would you do...:

    If you don't mind me asking, how much was the proposal for?

    About 15K of work, no hardware.

    And do you do consultation for anyone else?

    Yes, a mix of work per hour and solutions for a fixed price. Sometimes with hardware involved.

    So why is this any different? You're paid to consult, so get a signed consultation contract and make some money.



  • @WLS-ITGuy said in What would you do...:

    @DustinB3403 said in What would you do...:

    What @WLS-ITGuy is saying and @bnrstnr is now suggesting is that the customer has already fired him. When they haven't. They simply picked another vendor who possibly proposed the same solution.

    It may be that the customer wants @Pete-S to consult on the project but not have the entire project because his proposal was way more expensive.

    A lost bid is not a termination.

    No, I am saying I would have fired the customer. I gave my bid/proposal, you went with vendor B, I'm not fixing the shit they can't do, even if I am getting paid. That's the price they pay for going with cut rate vendors.

    That's fine, that is an option I listed above. If you wish to fire the end customer, make no bones about it. That is perfectly fine.

    But if you want/need the money you have only 1 other option.



  • Paging @JaredBusch and @scottalanmiller

    What would you two do, would you consult the competition or fire the customer?



  • @DustinB3403 said in What would you do...:

    @WLS-ITGuy said in What would you do...:

    @DustinB3403 said in What would you do...:

    What @WLS-ITGuy is saying and @bnrstnr is now suggesting is that the customer has already fired him. When they haven't. They simply picked another vendor who possibly proposed the same solution.

    It may be that the customer wants @Pete-S to consult on the project but not have the entire project because his proposal was way more expensive.

    A lost bid is not a termination.

    No, I am saying I would have fired the customer. I gave my bid/proposal, you went with vendor B, I'm not fixing the shit they can't do, even if I am getting paid. That's the price they pay for going with cut rate vendors.

    That's fine, that is an option I listed above. If you wish to fire the end customer, make no bones about it. That is perfectly fine.

    But if you want/need the money you have only 1 other option.

    I'm not sure I need/want the money that bad to get into that mess. Unless you rewrite a proposal that clearly states that it is not a block amount of time anymore for the job because you don't know what they screwed up and how much you have to undo to get it working the right way from the beginning.



  • @WLS-ITGuy said in What would you do...:

    I haven't been in the MSP/break-fix side of things for 8 years now but if I had to assist a competitor on getting their shit in order to finish the job I would have to say: YOU'RE FIRED!

    You had my proposal, you chose another vendor, your problem.

    This is consulting, not MSP. totally different things.



  • @DustinB3403 @bnrstnr @WLS-ITGuy
    Guys, you all have good points.

    The problem with consulting is that you in the eyes of the customer might become responsible that everything works.



  • @WLS-ITGuy said in What would you do...:

    @DustinB3403 said in What would you do...:

    @WLS-ITGuy said in What would you do...:

    @DustinB3403 said in What would you do...:

    What @WLS-ITGuy is saying and @bnrstnr is now suggesting is that the customer has already fired him. When they haven't. They simply picked another vendor who possibly proposed the same solution.

    It may be that the customer wants @Pete-S to consult on the project but not have the entire project because his proposal was way more expensive.

    A lost bid is not a termination.

    No, I am saying I would have fired the customer. I gave my bid/proposal, you went with vendor B, I'm not fixing the shit they can't do, even if I am getting paid. That's the price they pay for going with cut rate vendors.

    That's fine, that is an option I listed above. If you wish to fire the end customer, make no bones about it. That is perfectly fine.

    But if you want/need the money you have only 1 other option.

    I'm not sure I need/want the money that bad to get into that mess. Unless you rewrite a proposal that clearly states that it is not a block amount of time anymore for the job because you don't know what they screwed up and how much you have to undo to get it working the right way from the beginning.

    Absolutely, yeah a set block of time would be putting the @Pete-S on retainer. He would need to be an outside consultant paid for every minute worked (likely in 15 minute intervals).



  • @Pete-S said in What would you do...:

    @DustinB3403 @bnrstnr @WLS-ITGuy
    Guys, you all have good points.

    The problem with consulting is that you in the eyes of the customer might become responsible that everything works.

    Never. Things do not become. Things are spelled out in a contract.


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