A reader writes: “I have a customer who is expecting us to “fully” meet the contract, which has several “as needed” requirements. How do I deal with this?”

Based on our background discussion, it appears that you were very eager to sign the contract and failed to challenge the specifications since you were afraid that it might kill the deal. We counted ten “As Needed” requirements that should have been challenged and/or clarified before the contract was signed. What does “as needed” mean to you? What does “as needed” mean to the customer? Too often, this can be very expensive miscommunication unless you translate “as needed” to a maximum number and then calculate your tasks expense against that number. Anything above that annual number should be priced accordingly and accepted by the customer when the agreement is signed.

Your interpretation of “as needed” was about four times per year. It appears the customer expects it between 156-260 times per year and may be using the poor wording to abuse the relationship. When I ask a customer how many times per year they expect the “as needed” service be performed, they either give me a number or I give them one that has to be included in the final agreement. As a professional, I take the position that I can provide the service XX number of times per year in the contract and after that number is reached, the customer will need to request and pay for it as an additional cost. If they balk, then I become very suspicious of their motives.

The only thing worse than NOT getting a contract is getting it for the WRONG PRICE. Lesson learned.

Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.