Nowadays my proposals carry the stock phrase:
- “Within fourteen calendar days of delivery of the product, acceptance must be decided.”.
I have seen too many small projects wither on the vine because I deliver the system, the client either has lost interest or shrugs and thinks “Good Enough” and can’t be bothered signing off. In which case two more clauses kick in:
- "If the product is not accepted, then the project is deemed to be ended, all work will cease, and all support will cease."
- "Ongoing support of the project starts when the balance of payment is received."
If the proposal says the project will cost $5,000 and 50% is payable in advance, then I have $2,500 in hand before I start work.
At the time I think the system is ready, I want to deliver, fix any niggling issues, and be paid for the balance.
If the second 50% is not forthcoming, I can walk away with a clear conscience, although chances are neither party is a happy as we ought to be.
Note that the client has two weeks to email or phone me; that period covers all sorts of personal medical emergencies at home, or a day of short-staffing at work. I need SOME form of feedback during that 14-day period.
I have refined my approach of dragging a client kicking and screaming into the future:
I now email the package for initial perusal, and say that I will follow that up with an on-site visit if necessary. The on-site visit is factored into my budget (time and money).
Right now I have a client whose meter has been ticking for a week. I will send them an email reminding them of the clause in an effort to shake them loose and set up an on-site meeting.
Otherwise I will hold the emailed delivery as delivery and a week from now I can shred the project notes and focus on stronger clients.