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This is aimed at those online platforms that I sometimes get work through. Hopefully with a better understanding we'll both find our dealings to be profitable, and we're in this to make a profit, right?

Communications:

There isn't any single factor more important than good communications. Whether we're talking on the phone, in direct email, text messaging, or through the messaging facility of the platform involved, we need to be able to communicate, and to do it well.

More than once I've attempted communication with a service buyer, and found that I got no response, or that my questions and issues weren't addressed, and this isn't productive, or conducive to developing a profitable long-term relationship, much less to the smooth handling of a given service call situation.

I have an office phone, a cell phone with unlimited minutes, text messaging capability, email, and make use of each platform's messaging facilities, when they're available to me. I'm willing to talk, pretty much of the time, unless I happen to be working on something.

There are no good reasons for not communicating about work orders.

Perspectives:

First and foremost, we're not looking at things in exactly the same way here!

This seems to be a common mis-perception on the part of many service buyers. You want results, and you look at the situation as you buying those results. I am not selling results, though I will do my best to provide you with the results that you want in a given situation. But what I'm selling is simply my time, and my technical expertise. When things go right, then great! When they don't, we'll work it out, but I still expect to get paid for my time.

Employment:

There seems to be a mistaken impression on the part of some service buyers that we're employees, free for the use on your terms but without the usual hassles of keeping somebody on the payroll.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I'm a contractor, plain and simple.

We talk about some work that you need done, we talk about the price, and the scheduling, and so forth, and we come to enough of an agreement that I go out and do the work, or at least give it my best shot, and then I get paid for my time.

I see *way* too many attempts at micro-managing things, trying to spell out in detail just how I'm supposed to do the work — this doesn't work real well, when every situation is different, and you're not there, haven't been there, and never will be there -- and I am.

I also see *way* too many mentions of "represent yourself as <your company name>" and that's not gonna happen either. When people ask, I'm happy to tell them who it was that sent me, and that "I'm a contractor". End of story.

Worse yet are those that say "you must represent yourself as an employee of..." This is at best misrepresentation, and at worst outright fraud. It's also illegal in some places. I'm NOT going to do it, period. You want an employee onsite for a service call, then send one, and leave me out of it.

"Penalties":

In the case of some service buyers, I'm seeing fairly frequent mention of "penalties" in connection with work orders. This can be a reduction in payment, or even a threat to close a work order for no payment whatsoever.

I routinely decline service orders with this kind of wording. And, if I see it often enough, and it irritates me enough, I'll simply block that buyer and won't see it any more.

I accept a work order based on a specific payment expected, and under no circumstances will I consider a lesser amount acceptable.

Oh, and I don't know where any of you guys get the idea that if a subsequent service call is needed it should cost any differently than the first one did. I'm seeing stuff posted online where you're expected to go back for half of the price of the first one? Really?! My expenses aren't magially halved.

You want certain things handled, a certain way, and I'll do my best. If it works, great, we have the beginnings of a relationship that can grow from here. If it doesn't, we can work on it.

Enough said.

Payment:

I expect to get paid for my work!

Like any other business, I have my expenses, my overhead, and time spent, fuel in my vehicle and maintenance of it, office and administrative expenses, and so forth all need to be paid.

There is no valid reason for a service buyer to delay clearing payment when the work is done. None. Yet over and over I'm seeing service buyers just sit on completed work orders, delaying payment unnecessarily.

Worse yet is the one buyer who I've done a lot of work for, rating me only 4 out of 5 stars (on WorkMarket) recently. There was no issue whatsoever with the work, just the fact that they were paying me 7 days after approval and hadn't gotten around to approving the work until at least 7 days after I'd done it and called it to their attention to get it paid. There was no reason for this, and since I've had otherwise unanimous five-star ratings I've been declining their work ever since then.

Payment Terms:

Not only do I expect to get paid for my work, but I also expect to get paid when work is completed.

Fairly often lately, I'm seeing silliness like NET 30 and similar nonsense on work orders. This is not acceptable. 15 days is not acceptable either. I see comments in various tech forums like "that's business", and it may be if you're a large corporation with the typical glacial flow of things, but I'm not, and I suspect that most of the service buyers are not either.

I'm not your bank. If you need this kind of help with your short-term cash-flow, your bank is who you should be talking to, not expecting contractual help to take on this burden for you.

If you insist on putting this sort of thing out there, we're not going to work together.


Last edited by Roy J. Tellason on 7/14/15 at 1:06pm EDT