Don’t Let Clients Use An Off-Peak Ticket During Peak Times

Just a quick thought that came to my mind as I struggle (as I’m sure most of you are) with prospects/clients who I proposed on back in March/April and maybe started some work in June – only to have the client back off because of any number of concerns (not ready, need further data fix-up, etc).

I have about four of these with varying degrees of complexity.

They suddenly want to become active in what I feel is the prime consulting season (aka busy time)  — November through January 31.

Which leads to my question – why the heck do I (we?) allow clients to be quoted on one price (usually an off-peak rate) for work scheduled for our down time — and then the client delays and comes back to us in peak season.

 

Anyone try booking a cruise in the months of March or May. They’re dirt cheap. Why? It’s off peak.

Try booking again when school lets out. Completely different fare structure. Why? It’s peak season.

Yet I pretty regularly see clients quoted off-peak fees only to have them delay the work into the busiest time of our year. And as consultants we do nothing other than come into the office late at night to try to meet these peak period demands.

And for most of us – unlike the travel industry – we’re not receiving peak rates. Instead we’re gritting our teeth and making due.

I have one client where I scheduled an upgrade for June 2010. They discovered out of balance items and rather than purge data they opted to create an adjusting entry (most of which I provided while I was there in June).

Fast forward to November 1 and suddenly they want to be live by 11/15/2010.

Ummm — ok so I’m not that fast on the uptake but it hit me this morning. These clients are being quoted during off-season and then moving their engagements into the peak season — for no change in fare!!

Just an observation — and I don’t have a good solution other than to work into my options that pricing is only valid for engagement started by X and finished by Y.

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Comments

  1. Towner Blackstock says:

    Yes, that would seem to be your only option. Quote expirations are pretty common in the CRE service industry (mechanical contractors, plumbers, etc.). If the customer accepts after that date, it becomes your discretion whether to requote at a higher rate.

    • The issue I’m running into that’s tricky is the client accepts a quote in May – we do some work in June. Find an issue and give them an opportunity to correct.

      Then the client pushes off their end of the engagement for whatever reason. Suddenly it becomes a hot issue in November/December which is our peak work period — and a time for which I most certainly would have used a different price…

      • A rule to follow (and of course outline in the project documentation) is that any change in resources, scope, or time will require a change order.