Have You Been Techno-Ripped Off?

I continue to be amazed at what businesspeople will put up with. A few days ago, I talked to a client who had hired an individual to put in a computer system. The so-called consultant sold the company $40,000 worth of hardware and software. Then he decided to go to work for a large computer company.

The client is left in the lurch; and my company is trying to figure out how to save some of the client’s investment and get a working system out of a mess. Unfortunately, this is all-too-common in my business. The businessperson almost always gets the short end of the stick.

I have a great deal of sympathy with the businesses that get taken. On the other hand, most of these businesses—if they are pressed—admit that they did have several proposals before they chose the system they have. How did they choose? You guessed it, they bought the lowest price.

Computer professionals are like lawyers, doctors, and CPAs. You won’t find many lawyers that charge under $175 an hour. You won’t find many good CPAs much below $90 an hour. Why, then, do people expect to find computer professionals for $25 an hour?

Business people wouldn’t let their teenage child touch their Federal Income Tax return (which nobody but the IRS will see). Web pages put up by the boss’s son that the whole world will see are common. Does this make sense?

I have a real problem with consultants that leave clients in the lurch. They give all computer professionals a black eye and a bad reputation. But clients can prevent it by dealing only with reputable businesses that charge a fair price. Grandma was right. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. In fact, someone else paid for some of the most expensive lunches that I’ve ever attended.