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Need advice, client wants cut of my money from other client..

P: n/a
Hi,
For the last 2 years I've been developing vehicle tracking/telemetric
software for a company as a self employed individual. The project is
quiet big, and is going to be there flagship product. Since I had no
other work at the time, I agreed to a low rate when I first started
which was 100 a day. The project started small, so it was only going
to be for a few months, and I badly needed the money. The project soon
balooned into something huge, so here I am over 2 years later, still on
the same pay.

Now, another company has asked me to do similar work, but on a much cut
down basis. Infact, its only 2 months work roughly. They found out
about me via the supplier of the unit because he knew I was interested
in finding more work, and I have become very much a specialist of the
device in question.

The first company has found out about this, and has said they are very
unhappy about it and it may jepordise our working relationship. They
have suggested that I use some of the code already written and give them
a cut instead, and I'm somehow in the wrong if I don't. They've said if
the product does well, I'll do well out of it anyway. I think that is
some backhanded way of saying that if I do this, I will not reap the
benefits if the project does really well.

Now, I have leverage, because they need me, I know the project inside
out and nobody else has managed to come this far with the module in
question, and it'd be hard for someone to take my place, plus they
cannot afford to pay someone or a company more money; I am in my opinion
vastly undercharging for the work I am doing for them which is complex
embedded software, plus server software. Unfortunately I have a
conscience... They already have some clients using it, and have about
60 units out there, and there is money coming in from the project.

Should I even be entertaining giving them a cut considering they've done
damn well out of me already for how much I've been charging. What do
people think about this?

Cheers,

Mark.
--
Sep 5 '05 #1
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11 Replies


P: n/a
Mark wrote:
Hi,
For the last 2 years I've been developing vehicle tracking/telemetric
software for a company as a self employed individual. The project is
quiet big, and is going to be there flagship product. Since I had no
other work at the time, I agreed to a low rate when I first started
which was 100 a day. The project started small, so it was only going
to be for a few months, and I badly needed the money. The project soon
balooned into something huge, so here I am over 2 years later, still on
the same pay.

Now, another company has asked me to do similar work, but on a much cut
down basis. Infact, its only 2 months work roughly. They found out
about me via the supplier of the unit because he knew I was interested
in finding more work, and I have become very much a specialist of the
device in question.

The first company has found out about this, and has said they are very
unhappy about it and it may jepordise our working relationship. They
have suggested that I use some of the code already written and give them
a cut instead, and I'm somehow in the wrong if I don't. They've said if
the product does well, I'll do well out of it anyway. I think that is
some backhanded way of saying that if I do this, I will not reap the
benefits if the project does really well.

Now, I have leverage, because they need me, I know the project inside
out and nobody else has managed to come this far with the module in
question, and it'd be hard for someone to take my place, plus they
cannot afford to pay someone or a company more money; I am in my opinion
vastly undercharging for the work I am doing for them which is complex
embedded software, plus server software. Unfortunately I have a
conscience... They already have some clients using it, and have about
60 units out there, and there is money coming in from the project.

Should I even be entertaining giving them a cut considering they've done
damn well out of me already for how much I've been charging. What do
people think about this?

Cheers,

Mark.
--


You don't have a conscience, you have a self esteem problem. Why exactly
do you think you owe this company anything? Have they treated you well?
Sounds to me like they've exploited you for two years by paying you less
than the going rate. It also sounds to me (reading between the lines)
that they are well aware of your 'conscience' and are using it to get
the most out of you for the least money that they can.

You owe it do yourself to negotiate the best deal you can. Decide what
you think is fair both in terms of you own pay and in terms of future
relations between yourself and this other company and stick to it. Don't
get angry or throw a tantrum, just say what you mean and mean what you
say. The secret to negotiation is to be genuinely prepared to walk away
if the deal being offered is less than you are prepared to accept. So
decide what that is and stick to it.

John
Sep 5 '05 #2

P: n/a
John Harrison wrote:
Mark wrote:
Hi,
For the last 2 years I've been developing vehicle tracking/telemetric
software for a company as a self employed individual. The project is
quiet big, and is going to be there flagship product. Since I had no
other work at the time, I agreed to a low rate when I first started
which was 100 a day. The project started small, so it was only going
to be for a few months, and I badly needed the money. The project soon
balooned into something huge, so here I am over 2 years later, still on
the same pay.

Now, another company has asked me to do similar work, but on a much cut
down basis. Infact, its only 2 months work roughly. They found out
about me via the supplier of the unit because he knew I was interested
in finding more work, and I have become very much a specialist of the
device in question.

The first company has found out about this, and has said they are very
unhappy about it and it may jepordise our working relationship. They
have suggested that I use some of the code already written and give them
a cut instead, and I'm somehow in the wrong if I don't. They've said if
the product does well, I'll do well out of it anyway. I think that is
some backhanded way of saying that if I do this, I will not reap the
benefits if the project does really well.

Now, I have leverage, because they need me, I know the project inside
out and nobody else has managed to come this far with the module in
question, and it'd be hard for someone to take my place, plus they
cannot afford to pay someone or a company more money; I am in my opinion
vastly undercharging for the work I am doing for them which is complex
embedded software, plus server software. Unfortunately I have a
conscience... They already have some clients using it, and have about
60 units out there, and there is money coming in from the project.

Should I even be entertaining giving them a cut considering they've done
damn well out of me already for how much I've been charging. What do
people think about this?

Cheers,

Mark.
--

You don't have a conscience, you have a self esteem problem. Why exactly
do you think you owe this company anything? Have they treated you well?
Sounds to me like they've exploited you for two years by paying you less
than the going rate. It also sounds to me (reading between the lines)
that they are well aware of your 'conscience' and are using it to get
the most out of you for the least money that they can.

You owe it do yourself to negotiate the best deal you can. Decide what
you think is fair both in terms of you own pay and in terms of future
relations between yourself and this other company and stick to it. Don't
get angry or throw a tantrum, just say what you mean and mean what you
say. The secret to negotiation is to be genuinely prepared to walk away
if the deal being offered is less than you are prepared to accept. So
decide what that is and stick to it.

John


Thanks John, thats good advice.

Would it be unacceptable for me to be doing work for two companies that
is so similar? I've had conflicting advice on this. One guy told me
that the original company has every right to be a bit angry about me
possibly doing work for another company; the other person says it
shouldn't be a problem.

As far as I can tell, I have these options:

Company "A" = original company I've worked for over 2 years for
Company "B" = the new company offering me work

a) tell "A" I'm going to do the work for "B" regardless if how they feel
about it (but obviously put a bit better than that!)

b) negotiate a better deal for myself with "A" and turn down work from "B".

c) negotiate a way for me to do the work for "B" but giving "A" a cut to
keep them happy, and at the same time negotiate a better deal for myself
with "A" for the long term.

d) get company "B" to talk to company "A" instead of dealing directly
with me. I'd still have to do the work because nobody else in either
company can, and I can probably still dictate my cut (perhaps 75%). And
also negotiate a better long term agreement with "A"....

Hmm, everyone keeps telling me I need to be more "ruthless". I guess
what I'm worried about losing is the possibility of me doing really well
if the project does well. I need him to give me something in writing to
guarantee I'll get something. Some shares or something..

Any further thoughts?

Cheers, thanks for your help in advance.

Mark.
--
Sep 5 '05 #3

P: n/a
Mark wrote:

....

Take your time and negotiate the best deal you can with company B and
company A separately and pick the best one and look for company C, D and
E as well.

It sounds like it's time for a "job review". i.e. LOOK AT ALL YOUR
OPTIONS, not just the ones that are atificially before you. Whenever
you change jobs (even within the same company) you should do this kind
of execrise.

I personally would be really annoyed with A at this point (i.e. not
trust them). If they have income from the product and you're not seeing
somthing (stock, options or warrants in the company), I would be
actively moving on. Remember - YOU ARE NOT INDISPENSIBLE, they will
find someone else.

If the manager in company "A" gets "angry", it's really time to move on
now, no negotiations. Getting "angry" is a sign of a control freak and
certainly not in your best interest to be working for someone like that.
As far as I can tell, I have these options:

Company "A" = original company I've worked for over 2 years for
Company "B" = the new company offering me work

a) tell "A" I'm going to do the work for "B" regardless if how they feel
about it (but obviously put a bit better than that!)
Probably.

b) negotiate a better deal for myself with "A" and turn down work from "B".
A much much better deal.

c) negotiate a way for me to do the work for "B" but giving "A" a cut to
keep them happy, and at the same time negotiate a better deal for myself
with "A" for the long term.
NEVER.

d) get company "B" to talk to company "A" instead of dealing directly
with me. I'd still have to do the work because nobody else in either
company can, and I can probably still dictate my cut (perhaps 75%). And
also negotiate a better long term agreement with "A"....
NEVER.

Hmm, everyone keeps telling me I need to be more "ruthless". I guess
what I'm worried about losing is the possibility of me doing really well
if the project does well. I need him to give me something in writing to
guarantee I'll get something. Some shares or something..
Where is it written in a contract that you will do well if the product
does well ? What does "Well" mean. If this has not already been done,
you're already screwed. I would have lost my trust in A so it would be
time to move on.

Any further thoughts?


I echo John's comment. This is business, not "good feelings" corner.
If company A needs you, they should show it NOW, not later, with
tangible commitments (i.e. contracts that commit them to doing things
for you if <insert somthing measurable> happens.).
Sep 5 '05 #4

P: n/a
On Mon, 05 Sep 2005 21:32:20 +0100, Mark <ma***@nospamhere.com> wrote:

As far as I can tell, I have these options:

Company "A" = original company I've worked for over 2 years for
Company "B" = the new company offering me work

a) tell "A" I'm going to do the work for "B" regardless if how they feel
about it (but obviously put a bit better than that!)

b) negotiate a better deal for myself with "A" and turn down work from "B".

c) negotiate a way for me to do the work for "B" but giving "A" a cut to
keep them happy, and at the same time negotiate a better deal for myself
with "A" for the long term.

d) get company "B" to talk to company "A" instead of dealing directly
with me. I'd still have to do the work because nobody else in either
company can, and I can probably still dictate my cut (perhaps 75%). And
also negotiate a better long term agreement with "A"....

Hmm, everyone keeps telling me I need to be more "ruthless". I guess
what I'm worried about losing is the possibility of me doing really well
if the project does well. I need him to give me something in writing to
guarantee I'll get something. Some shares or something..

Any further thoughts?

Cheers, thanks for your help in advance.

Mark.


There's another option: e) ask a C++-related question in this newsgroup.

Seriously, I'd go with b) or a), but never c) or d).

Treat your career like the business that it is. Don't let your employers make
you feel guilty about what you're charging. You are selling your skills and
time for a certain sum, and they are free to accept or reject your offer.
What's more, as a contractor, you are not obliged to continue the relationship
once the terms of the contract is met. Go take your business somewhere where
they appreciate what you do and will pay you the market price for your skill
set.

-dr
Sep 5 '05 #5

P: n/a
Dave Rahardja wrote:
On Mon, 05 Sep 2005 21:32:20 +0100, Mark <ma***@nospamhere.com> wrote:
As far as I can tell, I have these options:

Company "A" = original company I've worked for over 2 years for
Company "B" = the new company offering me work

a) tell "A" I'm going to do the work for "B" regardless if how they feel
about it (but obviously put a bit better than that!)

b) negotiate a better deal for myself with "A" and turn down work from "B".

c) negotiate a way for me to do the work for "B" but giving "A" a cut to
keep them happy, and at the same time negotiate a better deal for myself
with "A" for the long term.

d) get company "B" to talk to company "A" instead of dealing directly
with me. I'd still have to do the work because nobody else in either
company can, and I can probably still dictate my cut (perhaps 75%). And
also negotiate a better long term agreement with "A"....

Hmm, everyone keeps telling me I need to be more "ruthless". I guess
what I'm worried about losing is the possibility of me doing really well
if the project does well. I need him to give me something in writing to
guarantee I'll get something. Some shares or something..

Any further thoughts?

Cheers, thanks for your help in advance.

Mark.

There's another option: e) ask a C++-related question in this newsgroup.

Seriously, I'd go with b) or a), but never c) or d).

Treat your career like the business that it is. Don't let your employers make
you feel guilty about what you're charging. You are selling your skills and
time for a certain sum, and they are free to accept or reject your offer.
What's more, as a contractor, you are not obliged to continue the relationship
once the terms of the contract is met. Go take your business somewhere where
they appreciate what you do and will pay you the market price for your skill
set.

-dr


There is no contract as such, only a confidentiality agreement. The
product is developed to a point, and there are some people using it, but
there is more to do on it.

What I'm wondering though is, am I morally correct in doing work at the
same time for a potential competitor (albeit not a great threat)? I
mean, I didn't really even have to tell him, its just a completely
seperate client.

Perhaps the fact that "A" just wants a cut shows he's more interested in
getting money off of me than being worried about competition. He even
suggested I use some of the code from the project I'm doing with him
("A"), rather than having to re-write it from scratch for "B", and give
him some money because of the time saved, which I thought was a very odd
suggestion because then I'm giving away his copyright code to a
competitor and re-copyrighting it to them!

The advantage to him ("A") of course in this scenerio is he gets some
money, and he gets my time back aswell because of the quicker
development due to using the code that is already written.

The best thing I could manage is negotiating a better deal with him, AND
managing to do the other contract without giving him anything; I'm not
sure he'll go for that though.

If he truley cannot afford to pay me, then I could suggest I do less
days for him too at a higher rate. I just feel with that though, I am
asking for too much, but in reality all I'm asking is for realistic pay,
and to have the freedom to be a freelancer and work for whom I please,
competitor or not.

Do I sound reasonable in that last paragraph or greedy?

I suppose at the end of the day, I'm risking a more longer term high
payback for the work I've done; for example I could negotiate some
shares in the company which could pay off big time in the future if the
product really does well. If I decide to go ahead and do work for "B",
he may not want to give me anything like that. The problem is, I have
large debts, and it would be handy to have money sooner rather than later.

Are any of you guys answering me freelancers/contracters?

PS, sorry this is a bit off topic, but I could not find anywhere else to
pose this question, and I figured there might be a lot of contracters
using this forum.

Cheers,

Mark.
--
Sep 6 '05 #6

P: n/a
Mark wrote:
Dave Rahardja wrote:
On Mon, 05 Sep 2005 21:32:20 +0100, Mark <ma***@nospamhere.com> wrote:

As far as I can tell, I have these options:

Company "A" = original company I've worked for over 2 years for
Company "B" = the new company offering me work

a) tell "A" I'm going to do the work for "B" regardless if how they feel
about it (but obviously put a bit better than that!)

b) negotiate a better deal for myself with "A" and turn down work from "B".

c) negotiate a way for me to do the work for "B" but giving "A" a cut to
keep them happy, and at the same time negotiate a better deal for myself
with "A" for the long term.

d) get company "B" to talk to company "A" instead of dealing directly
with me. I'd still have to do the work because nobody else in either
company can, and I can probably still dictate my cut (perhaps 75%). And
also negotiate a better long term agreement with "A"....

Hmm, everyone keeps telling me I need to be more "ruthless". I guess
what I'm worried about losing is the possibility of me doing really well
if the project does well. I need him to give me something in writing to
guarantee I'll get something. Some shares or something..

Any further thoughts?

Cheers, thanks for your help in advance.

Mark.

There's another option: e) ask a C++-related question in this newsgroup.

Seriously, I'd go with b) or a), but never c) or d).

Treat your career like the business that it is. Don't let your employers make
you feel guilty about what you're charging. You are selling your skills and
time for a certain sum, and they are free to accept or reject your offer.
What's more, as a contractor, you are not obliged to continue the relationship
once the terms of the contract is met. Go take your business somewhere where
they appreciate what you do and will pay you the market price for your skill
set.

-dr

There is no contract as such, only a confidentiality agreement. The
product is developed to a point, and there are some people using it, but
there is more to do on it.

What I'm wondering though is, am I morally correct in doing work at the
same time for a potential competitor (albeit not a great threat)? I
mean, I didn't really even have to tell him, its just a completely
seperate client.

Perhaps the fact that "A" just wants a cut shows he's more interested in
getting money off of me than being worried about competition. He even
suggested I use some of the code from the project I'm doing with him
("A"), rather than having to re-write it from scratch for "B", and give
him some money because of the time saved, which I thought was a very odd
suggestion because then I'm giving away his copyright code to a
competitor and re-copyrighting it to them!

The advantage to him ("A") of course in this scenerio is he gets some
money, and he gets my time back aswell because of the quicker
development due to using the code that is already written.

The best thing I could manage is negotiating a better deal with him, AND
managing to do the other contract without giving him anything; I'm not
sure he'll go for that though.

If he truley cannot afford to pay me, then I could suggest I do less
days for him too at a higher rate. I just feel with that though, I am
asking for too much, but in reality all I'm asking is for realistic pay,
and to have the freedom to be a freelancer and work for whom I please,
competitor or not.

Do I sound reasonable in that last paragraph or greedy?

I suppose at the end of the day, I'm risking a more longer term high
payback for the work I've done; for example I could negotiate some
shares in the company which could pay off big time in the future if the
product really does well. If I decide to go ahead and do work for "B",
he may not want to give me anything like that. The problem is, I have
large debts, and it would be handy to have money sooner rather than later.

Are any of you guys answering me freelancers/contracters?

PS, sorry this is a bit off topic, but I could not find anywhere else to
pose this question, and I figured there might be a lot of contracters
using this forum.

Cheers,

Mark.
--


Furthermore, the term "conflict of interest" keeps popping up. I have
learnt a lot from doing this project, and I guess in a way I'd be taking
what I've learnt to this other project, while still doing the first
project. Would that not be unethical?

*sigh* - confused.

Cheers,

Mark.
--
Sep 6 '05 #7

P: n/a

Mark wrote:
Hi,
For the last 2 years I've been developing vehicle tracking/telemetric
software for a company as a self employed individual. The project is
quiet big, and is going to be there flagship product. Since I had no
other work at the time, I agreed to a low rate when I first started
which was 100 a day. The project started small, so it was only going
to be for a few months, and I badly needed the money. The project soon
balooned into something huge, so here I am over 2 years later, still on
the same pay.


"and your C++ question is?" (C)

nothig personal, but such topics fooded comp.programming NG :(

Sep 6 '05 #8

P: n/a
Aleksey Loginov wrote:
Mark wrote:
Hi,
For the last 2 years I've been developing vehicle tracking/telemetric
software for a company as a self employed individual. The project is
quiet big, and is going to be there flagship product. Since I had no
other work at the time, I agreed to a low rate when I first started
which was 100 a day. The project started small, so it was only going
to be for a few months, and I badly needed the money. The project soon
balooned into something huge, so here I am over 2 years later, still on
the same pay.

"and your C++ question is?" (C)

nothig personal, but such topics fooded comp.programming NG :(


Sorry, was just desperate for advice and couldn't think where else to go..

Cheers,

Mark.
--
Sep 6 '05 #9

P: n/a
"and your C++ question is?" (C)

cut the kid some slack ........ we all know its off topic but he's in
need of help. Geez.

Sep 6 '05 #10

P: n/a
Mark wrote:


Furthermore, the term "conflict of interest" keeps popping up. I have
learnt a lot from doing this project, and I guess in a way I'd be taking
what I've learnt to this other project, while still doing the first
project. Would that not be unethical?


This is a problem you will always have.
You always learn new things at a project. Does
this mean you are not allowed to switch company?

In your case the answer is a sound: 'No'.
You 'paid' for that 'education on the job' by accepting
a lower rate.

--
Karl Heinz Buchegger
kb******@gascad.at
Sep 6 '05 #11

P: n/a
1. Who owns the software? Presumably them.
Unless you arranged otherwise. Check your agreement.
So if they let you use the software, they're entitled to a cut.

2. Can you develop for a competitor?
Again, depends on your agreement.
If you agreed to not do any work for a competitor or on any
related project, but instead did work for them essentially for free
and with no stock options, it's time to renegotiate your contract.

If you didn't agree not to do similar work for someone else, then
conscience doesn't come into it. Either they renegotiate with you or
you're free to do what you want.
But I'm not a lawyer, so my word is worth nothing.

Stuart

Sep 6 '05 #12

This discussion thread is closed

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