Secrets to Finding a Great IT Consultant – Part Six
All too often, the details of a project, such as response time to emergencies, project completion timelines and problem resolution methods are agreed upon verbally rather than in writing. Unfortunately, these are the very things that are most likely to come back and bite you later.
There are a few problems with verbal contracts. For one, people forget things. Maybe your technician had every intention of following through on his word, but he just forgot. If it was in a written contract, though, he’d be sure to remember. Also, people often misunderstand one another. You may think the other party is agreeing to one thing and he thinks he’s agreeing to another.
Another problem with these handshake deals is that you’re dealing with an eager salesperson. Before your contract is signed, many salespeople will promise the moon and the stars – whether or not they can deliver is another story.
If these details were outlined in your IT services contract, things would be clear and people would be accountable.
To avoid disappointment and potential disaster, here are 5 things you should always get in writing:
1. Payment terms. This includes upfront deposits, fee structure, and payments on completion of project. Most consultants will ask for an upfront down payment, with the balance due as various phases of the project are completed.
2. Compensation for missed deadlines or faulty work. If they miss a deadline, deliver substandard work, or if you experience problems, how will they make it right? Get it in writing.
3. Deliverables. What do you expect when the project is done? How should the work flow? What does it look like? Don’t assume anything; if you expect it to happen, be specific and get it all in writing.
4. Work schedule and pace. Make sure you outline a date for completion as well as the phases of delivery.
5. Guarantees. What will they guarantee, if anything? Get it in writing.
Any professional firm will be more than happy to outline these items in writing prior to starting a project. If they hesitate or make excuses, take it as a sure sign that they aren’t confident in their ability to deliver on their promises.
Note: This content is based on an excerpt of “The Search for Hassle-Free IT” book. Request your FREE copy.