US vs UK business practices

Business, employment and matters of the law.

US vs UK business practices

Post by Parrot of Doom @ Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:34 pm

Over here, I get a call, someone asks me if I'm available and can I do a job. Bit of a chat, turn up on the day, do the job, go home, get a purchase order number (sometimes), send an invoice, bosh get paid.

Recently I got a US job. I've had these before, but not like this.

1. Ok looks great, but your rate is a bit expensive. Could you lower it?

Why? No (politely).

2. Sign a contract and non-disclosure agreement?

I print off the final page of both, sign it, scan it, and email back. Not good enough, I have to print and email both documents in their entirety. :/

3. You've not filled the NDA in properly, can you do it again?

fcuk it, I turn up on the job, get the american director to fill it in for me, and sign where it says X.

4. Would you mind couriering this bag of stuff to a UK address when you get home? Our guys haven't time, they have a flight to catch. Here's our FedEx account no.

Ok no problem, except the local FedEx is International only. So I drive to the next one which is Domestic only, only they won't take it because its an international account number. So I go home and email them, they then ask me to send it with DHL, only they don't have an account so would I mind paying for it and invoicing them? Fine, ok (not happy about it but meh), only the bag is worth about ££15,000 and the cost of sending it (including insurance) now comes to nearly ££300. Great. And here's me, doing it as a favour.

5. Oh we need you to sign another NDA.

Grrrr. OK.

6. We've received your invoice but it says payment to "xxxx company", our contract is with you not your company.

So write it as "my name trading as xxxx".

7. Yes we can do that but you have to print that information on your invoice, can you amend it please?



How seriously fcuking anal can you get? Its like they've had a complete lack of common sense. I am getting to my limit now. Is this normal for US companies? Have I been lucky in the past, I've never had all this shite before. If they ask for one more fcuking thing I'm going to remind them that I could theoretically charge them a working day for delivering their stuff.
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Re: US vs UK business practices

Post by Kermit @ Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:52 am

I think most people could only dream at the thought of such simplicity! OK, the courier bit is something of a pain, but it was something you agreed to do as a favour. Other than that, I'm not sure what the fuss is all about?

To put things in perspective for you, I had an internal meeting yesterday with the consulting services division of our own company where I discovered that in order for our software division to deliver implementation services to one of the consulting division's customers, a memorandum of understanding would be required. OK, this is fine - something is needed to agree the scope of engagement, internal fee transfers and the like - but this document requires eight different signatures to get approval!
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Re: US vs UK business practices

Post by Globs @ Thu Dec 04, 2008 7:59 am

There will be a lot of arse covering and jobsworth behaviour in this recession - just bill them for your time spent on it.
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Re: US vs UK business practices

Post by onomatopoeia @ Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:38 am

Get paid in advance. It's what we do, no exceptions. Even governement departments and large corporates are able to find a credit card from somewhere or organise a bank transfer if you tell them you wont accept their contract unless they pay up front.

Once you have the customer's money their ability to play silly buggers in the manner the OP describes is massively reduced.
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Re: US vs UK business practices

Post by Kermit @ Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:06 pm

onomatopoeia wrote:Get paid in advance. It's what we do, no exceptions. Even governement departments and large corporates are able to find a credit card from somewhere or organise a bank transfer if you tell them you wont accept their contract unless they pay up front.

Once you have the customer's money their ability to play silly buggers in the manner the OP describes is massively reduced.


I can only assume you are in an exceptionally small niche with very few competitors?
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Re: US vs UK business practices

Post by AlexKP @ Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:17 pm

Kermit wrote:
onomatopoeia wrote:Get paid in advance. It's what we do, no exceptions. Even governement departments and large corporates are able to find a credit card from somewhere or organise a bank transfer if you tell them you wont accept their contract unless they pay up front.

Once you have the customer's money their ability to play silly buggers in the manner the OP describes is massively reduced.


I can only assume you are in an exceptionally small niche with very few competitors?


That, or he's a hitman.
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Re: US vs UK business practices

Post by Strawman @ Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:31 pm

Parrot of Doom wrote:4. Would you mind couriering this bag of stuff to a UK address when you get home? Our guys haven't time, they have a flight to catch. Here's our FedEx account no.

Ok no problem, except the local FedEx is International only. So I drive to the next one which is Domestic only, only they won't take it because its an international account number. So I go home and email them, they then ask me to send it with DHL, only they don't have an account so would I mind paying for it and invoicing them? Fine, ok (not happy about it but meh), only the bag is worth about ££15,000 and the cost of sending it (including insurance) now comes to nearly ££300. Great. And here's me, doing it as a favour.



<midnight express paranoia mode> What was in this 'bag of stuff' ?, did you check it, when you went to the airport and they asked you "did you pack this bag yourself, did anyone ask you to carry anything?" did you answer truthfully? <midnight express paranoia mode>

:hehe:
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Re: US vs UK business practices

Post by desertweasel @ Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:32 pm

Interesting, when we went from UK to US management I went from a manager to a vice president, same job much bigger "management speak" , oh dear.
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Re: US vs UK business practices

Post by onomatopoeia @ Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:44 pm

Yes, it's a niche market. We do have competitors (maybe a dozen other companies in the market worldwide - it is a small market however) but our prices are low for the quality of product we provide compared to the big players, plus as a small company we are able to be quite flexible in providing bespoke solutions where many of our competitors can't.

Note, I work in IT. Not as a hitman. Unless my assembly language can be used as a lethal weapon :hehe:.
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Re: US vs UK business practices

Post by Dirk @ Thu Dec 04, 2008 10:21 pm

AlexKP wrote:
Kermit wrote:
onomatopoeia wrote:Get paid in advance. It's what we do, no exceptions. Even governement departments and large corporates are able to find a credit card from somewhere or organise a bank transfer if you tell them you wont accept their contract unless they pay up front.

Once you have the customer's money their ability to play silly buggers in the manner the OP describes is massively reduced.


I can only assume you are in an exceptionally small niche with very few competitors?


That, or he's a hitman.

God Alex, do you not pay attention to films?

If someone employs a hitman they also say that they can have part of the money now and part upon completion. They never give it all in advance
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Re: US vs UK business practices

Post by Tokyo Sexwale @ Fri Dec 05, 2008 9:19 am

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