If you scan around my blog or my Bio for just a short period of time you know that I run a company called SQL on Call. SQL on call is a consulting company that has had many clients over the past year or two. In this time frame most of the experiences that I have had with clients has been great, and to think that I have made it this far without running into a major problem makes me think that we are doing the right thing. Yesterday I found out that a client was not putting us on the “priority list” to be paid, I was told straight out that since we would not “write off” and invoice from November that we would not be the first people that he paid.
This is the second month in a row where the client has requested that we either discount or write off an invoice. I was a little concerned when we did this last month, but now I am greatly concerned. See its not like I sell a product or that I will re-coop that money in the future, 90% of the invoice was from hours put in above and beyond to make sure that the client could keep their database up and running during the busiest time of year. These are hours that I could have spent with anther client and would have been paid for. The money that I make from that goes directly into the pocket of feeding my family and putting a roof over our head. So I started to think about what happens when you don’t get paid, what would be the professional behavior?
The first thing that I did was ask if they were satisfies with our services, and I was told by the CTO that they had no issues and they were very satisfied with the service that we provide them. The CTO went on to explain that the agreement/contract was a partnership between us and that we have received a lot of money from them over the year so we should be understanding, in when he asks us to right off a months worth of work. The more I thought about this part I was thinking that this is the same type of situation where a employer could go to an employee and just request that they not pay anything for a month yet they expect the employee to work.
I came to the conclusion that without being paid for the invoices that were outstanding I would have to take two drastic actions, first of all work would stop as of that moment even at the risk of losing the client. Second of all I was going to give them the option to stop our service. I did not want to be put in a position where in 4 months the same thing was to come up again.
End result was yesterday the client agreed that we offered a good service they were going to pay the invoices and continue with the service, however when I awoke this morning and checked my e-mail the opted to cancel the service. So do you think I did the right thing? Should I have been a little more forgiving? Just wondering what other people would do. I could not be forgiving because I have partners and I have made arrangements on those partnerships, but if I could have should I have been?