Why do customers not want to pay?


    Unfortunately, today's realities are such that the customer of works on information technology is trying hard not to pay for the work (perhaps this is due to a frivolous attitude to the IT staff or for other reasons). Perhaps the topic has been raised more than once, but I simply must contribute to the development of the issue.

    In this article I will try not to hurt anyone and in no way equate all customers to the league of dishonest customers. So what’s really the matter:

    1. The client who really needs the result to improve the business pays.
    2. The client who does not see options to get around you in the procedural or legal terms pays.
    3. The client pays that understands in advance that he has money for these works, although there is a possibility of applying paragraph 2.

    Everyone else prefers not to pay and this becomes a problem.

    At one of the first projects, the 1C programmer asked me, but how is the client going to take work?

    Indeed, the client did not have full-time IT specialists, and in fact they did not have any understanding what they really needed. And passing them about 300 hours of refinement will be problematic, not in terms of the final functionality, namely the justification for our labor costs. Due to a premonition of questions, I decided to divide the payments into small parts and give a schematic report for each, when we achieve a certain result.

    The work went and everything was super, there were minor improvements (5-12 hours) and we were moving towards the goal, but unexpectedly an overwhelming barrier appeared for them, namely, the passed stage at 72 hours, here it started. An invoice + certificate was issued and went to pay the customer, a week passed, the second went, well, there are delays in what to do. I paid to the programmer from my own and continued to wait, the client is kind of reliable. Everything continued until they stopped taking the phone. According to the contract, at the request of the client, a certain gap was formed, namely the lack of deadlines by which the customer had to accept the work. Accordingly, the problem (defect, concession, stupidity) is mine, they can sign an act for at least a year.

    As a result, the work was still paid, because the client simply calculated the already invested amounts, compared them with the amounts for debts, also apparently conducted an analysis of the audit cost, well, in general, everything ended well.

    Where I lead, you can give concessions to customers, but all concessions must be weighed in light of the worst-case scenario for you. Personally, it’s sometimes difficult for me to catch the decency of a client after having spent less than three meetings with him. The fact is that during negotiations it is required to set various options for the development of events and to voice all possible amounts and watch for the customer’s reaction, but always consider the worst option for yourself. Will be better? So everything is fine and the world is not so bad, but if you miscalculated, then alas, only you will have to solve the problems.

    For myself, I personally identified several rules, following which I avoid possible problems with payments:

    1. The contract - it should be yours and only yours, because the client is usually only interested in the timing and cost. In no case do not agree to sign the contract form “which the client uses just for such cases”
    1.1. Timing - deadlines should be adequate, not those that the client appoints (discussed separately), but such that you manage to complete all the work and leave time for force majeure.
    1.2. Schedule of payments - it is necessary, the advance is not so important as a strictly calculated schedule of receipt of funds. It should be tied to the final results of each subsequent stage, but in no case should there be large gaps in the passage of which we get full functionality and the ability of the customer to transfer work to another or freeze the project.
    1.3. Considering the right to transfer access to information systems - allows you to exclude situations when you are developing at the same time as full-time specialists and at some point you can unconsciously transfer all the material to them. Accordingly, this does not apply to projects that are developed by a team of specialists, this is a different story.
    1.4. Penalties - as working with large companies with lawyers or worse lawyers is extremely inconvenient to sue. In order not to sue, you can freeze the project and wait, either for the customer’s insight (90%), or the accumulation of penalties in order to cover your own costs (10%) *

    * Percentages are given as an approximate ratio and do not have official statistics.

    2. Insurance - in fact, those works that are not paid to you are the result of your work (you must specify in the contract) and accordingly can be stored anywhere (your hosting, NFS to the client’s servers, etc.). In this regard, you can transfer to the client the result of your work only after signing the interim or final acts (required to be specified in the contract)

    3. People - you have to be sure of the specialists you work with, staffing is the most important part of the process. And in no case do not pass the contacts directly to the customer, this will allow you to sleep peacefully at night (verified)

    Well, in conclusion, I want to say that you always need to communicate honestly with your clients and voice your working conditions completely. In no case should you password-protect the system or anything else like that, your work should be open and only in this case customers will cooperate with you. And as for payments, nobody wants to pay, convince in the comments.

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    Do your customers want to pay?

    • 18.7% Yes, of course! 18
    • 46.8% No, and the world cannot be changed. 45
    • 34.3% And where will they go, I'm magical! 33

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