This is an attempt at conveying to potential customers of my consulting service a rough idea of what I will agree to in a more formal contract. It is by no means complete nor fixed, and most items are negotiable. I welcome suggestions on how to make this more universally acceptable, more ethical, more professional, and/or better in any other way.

What I will do for You

I can solve, and have solved, a wide range of problems in factory and office automation, computer communications, software and hardware limitations, imaging and character recognition, barcoding, web design and programming, networking, and in related areas. I will tell you in a reasonable amount of time, 3 hours on average from when you begin to explain the problem, whether or not I can solve it, and if I can, approximately how long it will take me. If I can not understand the problem in a reasonable amount of time, due to my inexperience in that area or on your particular platform, I will try my best to refer you to someone who can help, but in any case you will not be charged anything. If I can understand the problem, and you agree to my other terms, I will give my full attention and energy to solving your problem in the shortest time possible. If at any time you become dissatisfied with my performance, I will rectify the matter to your satisfaction. I will never take money I did not earn. In general, however, I will not refund more than one day, so it is up to you to assess daily whether or not I am meeting your expectations.

What I expect from You

I expect you to be completely honest with me in explaining the problem as you understand it, and to give me access to your best people and to the equipment in question, with as few restrictions as possible.

I charge $1000 per day on-site service. This fixed daily charge is not negotiable (at least, not downwards) but I can sometimes cap the total in small, clearly defined problems. It works out to be about $100 per hour, since my typical workday yields roughly 10 productive hours. Payment is expected when service has been rendered. In the case where it takes more than one day to finish a job, payment is required each day. As mentioned above, if I have not given what you consider good results on any one day, do not pay me, and we will part company with no hard feelings.

Note server owners: I also provide offsite help, via internet, phone, and email; this option can be very useful for people with linux servers who only need occasional system administration work done. With these forms of support, the charge is $100/Hr worked, rounded up to the quarter hour. You must pay in advance for these types of support. For new customers, I offer a special discount package IP120, $100 for 2 hours support (up to 8 calls at 1/4 hour each). You might be able to get this support package for even less at my Ebay page. Note that this time must be used up in a 30-day period; it's "use it or lose it". If you aren't satisfied at any point with my work, I will refund your purchase price; if you are satisfied, I would like to be able to use you as a reference.

For non-local on-site jobs, you pay the airfare (first-class means nothing to me, so don't waste your money), rental car (small is fine) or taxi/limo, and hotel (Marriott or better), whether or not I am successful in solving your problem. This makes it all the more vital that we establish the nature of the work beforehand, to prevent bad feelings over money lost.

What's mine, what's yours

NDA's are a matter of course in many instances, but here are some basic rules I go by:
  1. I carry out of your establishment only what I carry in. Anything I develop on-site remains there. Ideas, however, come to me all the time. If I remember some idea, process, or application later that originated from you, I will, before profiting from it, make an honest attempt to contact you and license your intellectual property. These points will be further elaborated in the following items.
  2. My ideas, code, circuit designs, etc., remain mine. In many cases I have used them before and/or have made them available free. What you have paid for is the application of my expertise to solve your problem. An exception is if I modify some previous idea to fit your application, in which case that new exact instantiation of my idea is exclusively yours. If one of your competitors needs the same information to solve a problem similar to yours within a year, I will refer them to you to sell them the solution or to keep it to yourself as you choose. After the year is up, I can resell the idea to your competitors if you have not done so.
  3. Your ideas, code, circuit designs, etc., remain yours. As mentioned above, nothing gets carried out except for what is burned into my brain, and I make my best effort to categorize that by its source, so that I do not use it without paying for it. Naturally, if there is some proprietary information that you know you must share with me in order for me to understand the nature of the problem, please write up a nondisclosure agreement for me to sign. This works much better than my memory.

The current date is Thursday, 08-Dec-2022 09:35:05 UTC
This page was last modified Tuesday, 25-Mar-2003 04:52:28 UTC
Author, otherwise known as:
John Comeau
P. O. Box 100632
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33310-0632
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