Web Services and Application Development

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What is your policy for billing systems/setup work to the client?

I think if time has to be spent getting a new person setup on the dev environment, etc. this should not be logged/billed to the client. But, my lead programmer disagrees. I think if the client has requested additional resources on some type of retainer than maybe there is reason to bill this time to the client. Otherwise, not. Please help us settle this debate ...what is your policy?

When setting up a new person, we bill for the new person's time during set up, but not for time spent by any support people who do not regularly bill the client. The development environment should be client-specific and thus the billing is justified.

On a more pragmatic note, how much development environment set up time is needed? In my experience, the time is minimal and is dwarfed by the inefficiencies as the new person comes up to speed.
Hi, Dina

I agree with you. From a client's perspective - we assume that services fee structures already include the investment required to have resources at the ready. I would not expect to pay a fee for the effort or costs required to get a resource properly set up to do the work. Maybe not the best analogy, but if my yard man asked me to pay one week for the oil change on his lawnmower, I'd let him know that this was part of the service he provides - the tools to do the job. In this case, the tool is the person, and it's expected that the firm has them ready.

It depends on the nature of the contract and relationship with the client I think...

In my past roles we have billed time specific to the project but not general HR-related things. So getting someone set up on the dev environment would have been billed in my world, but doing company orientation and new hire training would not.

Josh Nankivel, pmStudent.com

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