If a project is outside your area of expertise, be upfront about the caveats

25Nov10

Recently, I have been faced with the rather frustrating task of terminating the relationship with a vendor that we hired only a few months ago, and locating a new vendor to replace them. Without getting into the details, the first vendor simply lacked the expertise to complete the project they took on. They weren’t familiar enough with the subject matter, and wanted to charge us extra to bring in a third-party specialist to do what we hired them to do in the first place.

When a vendor says they are capable of performing a task and later admits they can’t get it done, the client is usually faced with no choice but to terminate the relationship. But this entire situation can be prevented. As a vendor, you have an obligation to be upfront with your clients. If there are important caveats or conditions involved with you taking on the project, put them in the contract so there’s no confusion later. This is especially important if the project is outside your area of expertise, or you need to hire subcontractors to get it done.

Granted, it takes time to properly research a prospective client’s needs before agreeing to serve as their vendor, and some clients may walk away if they feel the caveats and conditions are substantial. However, it’s typically better to avoid entering into that type of contract in the first place. By following this approach, you’ll free up your time to work on projects that are a good fit for your expertise, while setting clients free to find a vendor that they won’t have to terminate halfway into the relationship.



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