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[Discuss] how to contract correctly?

> From: at [mailto:discuss-
> at] On Behalf Of Eric Chadbourne
> A second concern is if my luck does not continue and I have to go
> several months without any clients.  How do you stay busy?  Do you
> partner with other contractors and share when you have to much work?

I offer clients the option of hourly or daily billing.  The daily billing works out much better in the long run for both parties, because when users know you're billing by the hour and a single question about email compatibility (or whatever) is going to cause an additional 15 minutes nickel-and-diming, then users are disincented to actually rely on your service.  When you bill by the day, it's more similar to a regular employee;  the company knows how much to expect paying, and chances are, you work overtime and keep them very satisfied.

The life of a contractor is very volatile.  You should simply *assume* you'll have huge upswings and downswings.  Feast or famine.  It's very tough to pick up clients in Nov and Dec.  A little easier Jan and Feb.  But the other 8 months are much much easier.

Plan for your income to be halved and stay that way for some months on end.  Save yourself up a cash buffer to cover all your expenses for at least 6 months.  If it doesn't happen, gravy.  Definitely learn to remain calm during downswings, and shield your wife (or whoever) from it because people get severely stressed and emotionally involved.  People tend to remain calm when things are predictable.  You have to learn to remain calm in the face of unpredictability.

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