A little over a month ago I took on a new client. I was retained to move their existing applications that ran on local servers over to a hosted/dedicated server.
I do this type work fairly often – while not easy, it is something I understand.
And by "not easy" what I mean is that I like to do it so that there is very little change from the end user perspective. All of their application links still work, all of their data is still on the x: drive, etc.
Half way through the project (which I bid at a flat rate) I realized that I could not continue – due to a conflict of interest that was not initially apparent. I won’t/can’t go into details on that. But I had to call this new client and tell them that I could not complete what I contracted to do.
That wasn’t easy for me. I don’t like not finishing things I promised to do. The client was as understanding as they could be, considering I really couldn’t tell them any details about the conflict of interest.
Of course I did not charge the client anything, even though I had well over 15 hours invested in the project. I didn’t deliver what I promised; I certainly wasn’t going to charge them anything.
And that was that.
Today I got a phone call from another prospective client – referred to me by the client I had to drop. That is very cool.
Of course I immediately sent the first client a thank you note – considering the fact I kind of left them in a bad position I did not expect a recommendation.
Their response to me thanking them for the recommendation was, "Of course – I very much appreciated your professionalism. Maybe some day you can reveal the conflict. ;)"
And while I cannot reveal the conflict (and they know that) I can thank them for being extremely understanding, and very kind.
Moral of the story? Professionalism counts – even if the project is turning out poorly. People like, remember, and respect people who treat them fairly. Had I tried to charge them something for the work I did do, it would not have been professional. And I would probably not have received a recommendation from them.
Of course, it really helps when you work with extremely nice people 🙂
Thanks, people (you know who you are).