The down side of running your own company

It seems that a lot of people think that contract work is nothing but gravy – nothing but high rates and interesting work.  Sorry to break it to you, but it’s not that fancy.  Tomorrow I get my first large dose of the reality of it all since I get to meet a lawyer (at $200 / hr it makes us look really cheap) to discuss a “customer” who owes us $12,500 and seems to think they don’t need to pay.


So maybe you’re thinking that they’re dissatisfied.  Maybe we didn’t deliver what we said, or that we were way late, or that we somehow bamboozled them and they got wise.  On the contrary.  We made a good faith estimate (we actually low-balled the contract to get it), gave them a fixed price contract, delivered the product with full source code, worked with another 3rd party to get printing working (though it was clearly out of scope based on the contract) and got the app working like clockwork.  They said that they were satisfied and everything was working fine.  They have the product advertised for sale on their web site.  They have paid us a grand total of $0.00 for work performed.  Yes, you read that right – zero dollars, zero cents.


So what’s a person to do?  I sent invoices.  Nothing. I sent emails. Got a “I’ll check into that” response.  After that, nothing.  No contact at all.  Nice way to do business, eh?


So now I get to go pay a lawyer to see if I have any chance at getting anything back, which I seriously doubt, but I’d like to try to do something.  The only other thing I can think of is to try to create bad press for him, but how?  Maybe something so when a person does a Google for a product in the category, maybe they’ll land here and read about their business practices and go elsewhere.  So here it goes…


Are you looking for mobile software for a Pest Control or Pest Management business?  Something that your field technicians can use while in the field to quickly update the status of traps, bait, etc.?  How about an application that synchronizes back to an enterprise server so your pest management data can be stored globally for quick reporting as well as updating the technician’s daily schedule and routing?  Well I suggest you choose anything other than the ePM Solution from Eye-On Solutions of 4720 Montgomery Lane, Bethesda, Maryland (headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA).  Josh Roberts, the President of Eye-On Solutions, LLC had the application developed and is selling it, yet paid nothing for it – essentially stealing it from OpenNETCF Consulting, a company who also developed the SDF


Choose any of their competitors you’d like.  Start at the IPMRC for general information or purchase from Insight Direct, PestPAC or anyone else in Pest Control Magazine.  I just ask that you do not purchase any product or service from Eye-On Solutions.  Thank you.


Now let’s see how the search engine spiders index this.  Hopefully anyone searching for software that has to do with pest management will have a chance to read this.

8 thoughts on “The down side of running your own company”

  1. Chris,

    Bad clients are the bane of all us! If you ever decide to write a book about pathetic clients then please let me know, as I have more than a few stories to share wtih you! We once had a client that nickel & dimed us for every cent. One time 3 of my staff were tied up for an hour arguing about a 15 minute charge. The problem was that if we caved in on that then there was another 15 minutes here & there that the client wanted deducted.

    As a rule though, I don’t do work for anyone unless I get X% up front. Sometimes it’s 30%, sometimes 50% but it’s just too risky otherwise … even if they’re a big company

    Robert

    Like

  2. I’m sure you have thought of that but isn’t there a way where you can ask the client to pay something like 20% when the contract is signed, another 30% half way and the rest when you deliver the product ?

    Jean-Francois

    Like

  3. Since the lawyer will probably take a large majority of the $12.5k (that is if you do win in court) you should start contacting competitors. Since they didn’t pay for the source they technically don’t own it and if they find out you are pushing the product to competitors they might think twice about not paying!

    One method I use to try and avoid this is not deliver source till everything is paid and only give incremental executable builds. Once the cheque clears….the source is delivered. Anyway…here is my part to help the cause http://blog.markarteaga.com/RunningYourOwnCompany.aspx

    Like

  4. I agree with Mark on holding the source until the final bill has been paid. I would also add expiration dates into the incremental builds. This is a good idea even with your good customers so that you don’t have old builds floating around forever. Many companies do this as part of their beta program.

    Like

  5. Chris:
    after reading about what you (and many other PCO’s) are looking for in quality software (I copied it below)…
    Are you looking for mobile software for a Pest Control or Pest Management business? Something that your field technicians can use while in the field to quickly update the status of traps, bait, etc.? How about an application that synchronizes back to an enterprise server so your pest management data can be stored globally for quick reporting as well as updating the technician’s daily schedule and routing.

    Check out http://www.theservicepro.net
    I’m not trying to do any shameless promotions here, but Service Pro has easy to use solutions to all of the problems you listed above. And for anyone that uses Sentricon baiting stations, they can replace your desktop prolinx for free! They have handheld technology, bi-directional mapping and routing. Also, they are releasing the ONLY multi-browser compliant pest control software program on the market, and they have recently partnered with Nexteloffer up to the minute updates so you know if you have late techniciansright away. Many owners I’ve talked to have said that Service Pro software has grown their business.

    I hope things get better for you! good luck with the business

    Like

  6. I’ve been running ServicePro for 4 years. I’m so happy with it I am willing to spend $4100 to replace it! Lots of little things, can’t add up checks correctly, rounds get missed etc. Relayed a long list to the company and zero response, no we got the list, nothing. I’m apprently here just to send them money.

    Like

  7. > Since they didn’t pay for the source they technically don’t own it and if
    > they find out you are pushing the product to competitors they might think
    > twice about not paying!

    Chris – I just stumbled on your post while doing a little google-stalking of my own company. It’s a shame you’re getting screwed like this. If this is still unresolved, get in touch, I’d like to hear more about what you’ve built.

    James
    http://www.insightdirect.com/management.html

    Like

  8. All of a sudden, this page ranks high in Google for "Pest Control Software" search. Everybody is willing to have a link pointing to their site to get a share of this page’s PR.

    You guys should consider selling links from your blog. Major blog services are starting to do it anyway. Just my 2 cents for my Pest Control Software link.

    Thanks.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s