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How to bill support call/email?

 
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I had done some contracting for a few years in the past,but currently I turned full time. I would like to do part-time contract/consultant but only during off hour/weekend. But my past client from time to time will call/email me for a few questions (sometimes their new contractor called me too). I am usually pretty good about answer their questions, but I start to realize instead of contract me part-time they hire somebody else... and I still have to answer questions.

should I bill them for the "support"? How do I bill phone/email support do I use the mintues base on my hourly rate? I figure if I spend 20 mintues on the my cell phone the least I can do is pay for my mintues (in the U.S we have to paid for incoming call also).
 
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Unless you have a signed contract with them, you're going to have trouble collecting what you think they owe you.

If you feel they've gone beyond a transition period (e.g. a few questions where the new guy just hasn't been there long enough to know) and you feel that you should be compensated, you should contact your previous manager and propose a consulting raangement with him. Negotiate an hourly rate and billing cycle (e.g. you send them one bill very month). He he disagrees, stop taking their calls and emails.

--Mark
 
Bob E. Lee
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Hi Mark,

thanks for the reply! Sometimes the question are on things that are in the documention after 4-5 times I think it's getting old. If you walk them through on the phone it could take 1/2 hour... and I did it free because I enjoy supporting what I have built. It's just getting out of hand that is why I would like to start billing them, not because I love to charge my client.

Actually two of my previous client did agree to the idea of continue support per "issue" base. I am not sure what is consider an issue yet. I figure if I spend 10 mintues on the phone/email let's say your hourly is $60 (easy math) so I can bill $10? Does that sound about right?

thank you for the input,

Bob


Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
Unless you have a signed contract with them, you're going to have trouble collecting what you think they owe you.

If you feel they've gone beyond a transition period (e.g. a few questions where the new guy just hasn't been there long enough to know) and you feel that you should be compensated, you should contact your previous manager and propose a consulting raangement with him. Negotiate an hourly rate and billing cycle (e.g. you send them one bill very month). He he disagrees, stop taking their calls and emails.

--Mark

 
Mark Herschberg
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I can't tell you what's the right rate. $60 and hour isn't unreasonable, but some some roles anywhere from $30-250/hr could be reasonable.

It sounds like you've made a good faith effort with your past employer. I think now if you approach them in a friendly and diplomatic way, you might be able to add them as a client.

One tip: make it clear what our priorities are. If you're past employer expects an immediate response but you have responsibilities at your day job, you may find a conflict. It sounds like you've dealt with this before.

--Mark
 
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Your going to have to drop your old company like a bad habbit. Just do it in a way without burning bridges.
 
Bob E. Lee
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thank you Mark and Mike's reply.

if you do good work the "old" client will usually come back to you. If you have some type of rule or "contract" setup the client will understand what is expacted and the cost, everyone is happy.

so far this is what I came up with, if it's email for quick answer I'll be happy to answer during my free time (could be same day or not) and it's no charge. But a phone call ...they gotta cover my cell phone bill :-)

I think it's fair, so they will "think" about the question before they call me. No No... don't burn any bridge. it'll come full circle around and kick you in the butt!

happy coding everyone!
 
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