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How to protect yourself from disputes and arbitration

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Community Guru
David S M Member Since: Apr 24, 2018
1 of 15

I currently have a client with multiple very large fixed-price contracts. There are several deliverables but each deliverable is on it's own contract. And they are all very large numbers.  How do you recommend I protect myself from possible disputes? We've done alot of work so far and documentation of our progress, but recently we've been having difficult conversations regarding scope creep and the impact on timelines. I see some red flags that the client may feel they are compromising too much, and I am having difficult conversations with a team member who wants to drop out of the project which may have very large ramifications. So I just need to know how to best protect myself.  

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Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
2 of 15

Hourlyyyyyyy

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Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
3 of 15

with time tracker not manual time

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David S M Member Since: Apr 24, 2018
4 of 15

Yes, I love hourly contracts, too, for that very same reason. Unforunately, these are fixed price contracts. They had to be for the type of deliverables, and because I am subcontracting work. For the number of deliverables needed in the amount of time needed, both the client and I immediately realized a team approach as well as the fixed-price model was the only approach.

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Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
5 of 15

Small fixed-price contracts.

 

Rather than one contract for $1000...

Use ten contracts for $100 each.

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Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
6 of 15

Preston H wrote:

Small fixed-price contracts.

 

Rather than one contract for $1000...

Use ten contracts for $100 each.


This really doesn't protect you from the client at the end saying they want all their money back.

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David S M Member Since: Apr 24, 2018
7 of 15

Yup, too late for that, too. These are currently open contracts. Also not possible. Each deliverable is on it's own contract. But, one deliverable can't be broken up into different contracts. No client will ever go for that. Not in my line of work. 

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Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
8 of 15

David S M wrote:

Yup, too late for that, too. These are currently open contracts. Also not possible. Each deliverable is on it's own contract. But, one deliverable can't be broken up into different contracts. No client will ever go for that. Not in my line of work. 


Better work on your diplomacy skills. You've signed on as an agency/project manager but all the contracts are in your name so it's your reputation on the line. If someone is talking about dropping out, hire their replacement now. If the client is engaging in scope creep and is going to hold your feedback hostage if you don't comply--good luck. 

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David S M Member Since: Apr 24, 2018
9 of 15


all the contracts are in your name so it's your reputation on the line. 


Actually, I've assigned a number of contracts to a team member. But you're right, my agency reputation is on the line for anything it takes on. 

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Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
10 of 15

David S M wrote:

I currently have a client with multiple very large fixed-price contracts. There are several deliverables but each deliverable is on it's own contract. And they are all very large numbers.  How do you recommend I protect myself from possible disputes? 


To be honest, the only protection is to make sure the work is done to the required standard and to keep the client on board.

 

I'd never (again) have several contracts open with any client at any given time, not so much because I'm worried about disputes, but because I'd rather not give one client the power to tank my metrics with poor outcomes on several contracts. 

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