Blogger Sally McKenzie wrote a useful bullet list of things to consider when hiring an e-commerce consultant. My only beef with the list was that the final unnumbered item
Think about what the project is worth to you.
should have been number 1. Underlined. Twice.
Being coy about your budget doesn’t yield a lower price; it makes your consultant roll his eyes and think you’re not being serious. Everyone has a budget – that’s a given. But being upfront about it shows respect for your consultant’s time and will help your consultant make appropriate recommendations.
Many moons ago, when That Software Guy was consulting full-time, he was contractually required to carry a large general liability policy (in case someone tripped over his briefcase or whatever). I got the policy from a fellow named Steve Arnold from TechInsurance. When I went back to W-2 status, I let the policy lapse because I started doing all my That Software Guy work on the Internet. Still, I had a nagging feeling that I wasn’t doing the right thing – and Steve confirmed this in a catch up phone call last week:
“Even though you’re Internet-based, you still have a liability exposure! You have rocks in your head not to have coverage!”
Well, he didn’t actually say that (although I’m sure he thought it) – Steve was extremely polite and helpful in explaining that there are still a number of edge cases – a UPS guy delivering a package, meeting a client for lunch – where liability still exists for Internet based operations like mine. So I wound up getting coverage again through them, and I must say it was a smooth and pleasant experience. If you’re a small IT or engineering business looking for a policy, give the TechInsurance folks a try.
This story is an interesting recounting and analysis of a conversation I had with a client recently, told by a fellow freelancer. If you sell services in your e-business, you will no doubt be able to relate.