I had a discussion this week with one of my client’s regarding the quality of my work. The client liked the guarantee I put on my work, and is now one of my advocates. He has already sent me business, which I would not have been able to get without him. That client, as well, loved the guarantee I gave, and is an advocate of my business as well.
My guarantee is actually very simple. At the beginning of a job, I give a quote, whether it be a flat fee, or an hourly rate. I make it very clear what I will deliver for that cost. At the end of the job, the two of us (client and myself) determine that there will be no future development as part of this contract. At this point, my guarantee kicks in.
If the client locates an error in my work, no matter how large or small, within the first 3 months, the fix is 100% free. The only condition is that the error must be in a portion of the deliverable that the client asked for, and not in something which I decided to put in as an extra, unless it affects the rest of the program. For example, if the client asked for 3 reports, and I threw in a fourth, but it doesn’t work correctly, that’s not covered. But the other 3 reports are, and if the fourth report corrupted some data, that would also be covered.)
There’s an old expression: Put your money where your mouth is. My guarantee does exactly that. The client needs the program I provided, and is willing to pay for it. Because the work is all custom, the client wants to know 2 things:
- How much will it ultimately cost?
- How much will it cost me to get you to fix pieces that are broken?
The first question has the easy answer: $5000.00 or $75.00 per hour, for example. But the second question is the one which has the complicated answer. That’s where my guarantee comes into play. The answer is $0.00. There’s no catch. Once we decide it’s done, if you find a problem, I will fix it free of charge. If you want me to add something new, then we’ll need a new contract to cover that.
As a catch to this, I’ve added a second level of the guarantee. Occassionally I will subcontract work to other developers for a variety of reasons. My guarantee extends to their work as well. I insist when subcontracting that the subcontracter meet my guarantee. If they won’t do it, I won’t send them business. The reasoning on my part is simple. If you are not that confident in the quality of your work (after all, we’re only talking about bugs, not changes), then I don’t want to put my name anywhere near your work.