I've had a few support contract cancellations this week. These were third parties - companies that themselves support the end customer but turn to me for help with Linux and Unix. They want to switch to a "per incident model" because their customers are experiencing difficulties and of course that just flows right along.
That's fine with me. They need to understand that I charge much more per incident, but of course if they can keep the "incidents" low enough, they may actually come out ahead, though they do have to understand that "incidents" outside of support contracts carry low priority in my mind. I lose the comfort of a monthly or yearly check, they lose my rapt attention and alacrity of response. I'm not saying I deliberately delay responding, but those who maintain their contracts come first. After that, "interesting" problems will take priority over boring stuff.
I've also turned down a few people this week. One wanted help with Samba on SCO - just running SCO nowadays is an idea I discourage; running Samba there is just way too much. I told them as much and referred them to the Consultants page if they insist upon pursuing this folly.
Another wanted to dicker price. Now certainly I'm in the same boat as everyone else - business is off and I'm willing to be creative on costs. But I need something offered in return. For example, my minimum charge for telephone support is $100.00. If you want that for less, there will have to be something in it for me - something like paying for three incidents in advance or agreeing that I'll schedule the call at my utmost convenience or that at the end of fifteen minutes we are done, problem solved or not. Without something coming back to me, I'm sticking at $100.00 minimum. Otherwise, feel free to browse that Consultants List for someone who might be less stubborn than I am.
Business is tough right now. I have a neighbor here forced to sell their home because they just aren't bringing in enough to pay expenses. I don't know where they are going - rents aren't cheap anywhere except in places I can't imagine them wanting to live, but apparently they feel they have to leave. I'm just squeaking by myself, but lowering rates isn't going to help that - in fact, I may raise rates for some services. There's the matter of SCO going into bankruptcy - why should I offer low rates for SCO support when it's plain that the customer should be moving off that platform as quickly as possible? I'm seriously thinking about bumping up my "per incident" charges for anything SCO related for just that reason.
So for those seeking to cut costs, yeah, I get it: times are tough all over. I feel I already offer extremely good value with my monthly and yearly support plans but if that's too much, well, it's too much. No hard feelings: we all have to do what we have to do, right?
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