Etiquette for Contractors Dealing with Solution Centers and Vice Versa

Just thought I post some etiquette for Solution Centers (NSC) and contractors when dealing with each other.

For Contractors:
1. There's no such thing as job security when you're a contractor. If you want security, find a full time position at a NSC.
2. Do not set your rates based on how much the NSC charges their customers. Figure out a market rate for your skillset and make it fixed.
3. Contractors are used only for the short term. If you want long term, find a full time position at a NSC.
4. Learning time is not billable. Companies hire your skillset to produce, not to learn. If you want to be paid for learning, find a full time position at a NSC.
5. You have the right to say no to a project. But say no before a single minute is charged.
6. Make a conscience effort to not steal your client's customers. The end users will decide on their own, but do not push it.
7. Do not make a promise to deliver you cannot keep. Sometimes, a lot of people are waiting on you to finish before they can continue.
8. Make doing business easy with you. NSCs do not need you if you give them more headaches than they already have.
9. The NSC has the right to shop around for whatever reason, you're a vendor and this is a business transaction. Don't take it personal.


For NSCs:
1. Pay your contractors on time. You hired them to produce, if they've done so, pay them. Don't play games.
2. Sometimes, trial and error is needed to get to a solution. If the contractor bills you for it, pay; because you will need to do the same if you were doing the project yourself.
3. Murky project scope will get murky results. If you cannot properly define the project, no contractor in the world will be able to clarify it for you. And pay the large bill your contractor will surely bill you because you didn't do your job.
4. If you rely on the contractor to take care of your customer, you WILL lose the customer. Guarenteed.
5. Contractors you hire have their own priorities, so plan accordingly. If you want the contractor's dedication, offer them a full time position.
6. Contractors are used to address specific needs. They're not there to organize an implementation for you.

Did I miss anything? Any additions to both sides are welcome.

Comment List
  • If every contractor/NSC would follow these simple guidelines ... it would make my life easier :).  Nice going, Alex!

  • "Respect" is a pervasive theme here that is implied but never stated.  It applies to all three parties: NSC, Contractor and Client.

  • Yes, Respect is indeed the theme. But using the word respect seems to be too generalized and many people have different interpretation of it. It's like the word "love" :).

    Laying it out seems to be better, for me at least.

  • Hey Alex, great post. Most importantly I am so glad to see this as a blog about contractors and not Freelancers. And that is a very important differentiation.

    So my 2c.

    For contractors

    1. In reality I would agree that Freelancing is not a guaranteed job security, but with the current contracting market demand vastly outweighing the current supply, CONTRACTING in NAV really needs to be seriously considered as a solidly secure position. I 100% agree with what you are saying, just that right now there are so few people to fill the jobs, that any contractor out there is basically guaranteed a lot of work for the next few years.

    2. amen...

    3. Yes and no, really this is a NSC issue. I agree as you suggest that NSCs should think long term, and invest in training, but many don't, so whilst its a valid point for NSCs, I think if they don't grab the opportunity, then let the contractors grab it. In simple terms, move this item to the NSC category.

    4..9 100% agree.

    10. Move item 2. from Contractor to NSC. If NSCs are stupid enough to give away this business then its their fault, not Contractors.

    11. Decide upfront if you are a freelancer or a contractor. If you don't know the difference, then you are most certainly a contractor.

    For NSCs

    1..6 couldn't have said it better

    7. Define upfront payment terms (separate from item 1.) Don't throw the contractors work in with a huge project, and then come back and say  "Hey we had to give the client a 25% discount on this work, so you have to also discount 25%. Also define th rules up front. Either its "You work for us, and we pay you" or "we re-bill your work to the client and we pay you when the client pays" but make it clear and don't change course mid stream.

    Alex this is a great Blog, keep it up.

  • Hmm... I thought freelancers and contractors are the same?

  • Excellent blog topic :)

    Contracting and freelancing is definately not the same, although many freelancers do contracts.

    For Contractors:

    12: be honest about what you can and cannot do. Don't just accept a job and screw it up because you don't really know what you're doing. If you're still learning about a certain aspect of the job, be upfront about it. You'd be surprised at how much patience the customer has when you're honest about those things.

    For NSC's:

    1b: for emphasis: PAY ON TIME! Honor the payment terms you agree with the contractor. If you have no intention of paying until your customer pays, you MUST let the contractor know ahead of time. "30 days" does not mean "not until my customer pays". The NSC is the contractor's customer, not the end user.

    8: Don't say you have 4 weeks of work unless you are serious.

    9: Don't say you have urgent needs and then not communicate at all for weeks at a time.

    10: if you don't like the rate, say "I don't like that rate", don't just stop communicating.

    What it boils down to is 'be honest and upfront about your intentions, and use common courtesy', and it applies to both sides. It is a complete and utter waste of everyone's time if you make things out to be something they are not. Being honest creates trust, which is the cornerstone of all business.

  • Maybe someone should blog about the difference between a freelancer and a contractor?

  • I agree, with your comments. But I don't know the difference between a contractor and a freelancer. Maybe that's a good topic for your blog David?

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