Home Contracting – Working from Home.
A reader posted this as Comments in response to one of our articles.
Home Contracting is an option I offer to some clients. Although I usually allow one or two days on-site per week for necessary meetings.
Usually it works well. The client gets me at a lower than usual rate and I avoid the hassle of commuting 3-4 days a week.
Home Contractor Warning
Occasionally, though, it can be more trouble than it’s worth.
A word of warning:
A couple of years ago, I was working on a project for a client who was in a a bit of a jam. They needed some very technical analysis done quickly. They had neither the staff nor the tools to do it.
I had the tools, which I’d written myself for a previous contract with a different client. I’d retained the IPR. However, this new client didn’t want to pay my full usual rates at the time.
We cut a deal – me, the agency and the head of department. So, I did the project almost entirely off-site. After the initial fortnight on-site, the remainder was off-site. I had just a weekly visit to the clients offices (1-2 hours, tops) to pick up source code changes and attend the weekly project meeting.
Unfortunately, as quickly became apparent, the head of department had cut the home contracting deal without talking to the project manager about it. He only found out at the end of the on-site fortnight when I asked him what day/time he wanted me in the following week for the project meeting.
He was in no position to change things, so what I got was snide comments and backbiting whenever I visited their offices.
Then, despite my part of the project being the only portion to actually be completed on time (and being verifiably accurate – as part of my handover, I used my data to generate an index to illustrate its completeness) – the head of dept informed me, at our final meeting, that the project manager wasn’t happy with my work. He didn’t believe I was working all the required hours.
I showed him the handover (including the index generated) and he was satisfied.
Last Time Offered Work by Agency
However, that project was the last time I was offered work by that agency. That may be less significant than it sounds. I’ve tended not to work through agencies very much over the last 3-4 years.
Needless to say, when offered further home contracting work from that client (via different agencies) I’ve turned it down.
I guess I’m just saying – if you do agree to do a home contracting project (in whole or in part), make sure that the whole management team is happy with your working off-site.