I just embarked on this scary but thrilling adventure called entrepreneurship. I spent several years in the financial services and technology industries before deciding to start my own business.
I design and manufacture contemporary furniture using materials such as industrial-grade aluminum extrusion, glass, and wood. My designs include tables, shelving, benches, as well as outdoor furniture.
Have you considered approaching local homebuilders to offer your services as an "option" to the new home or an added service?
I have numerous friends who built new homes and then went out and bought a bunch of stuff to try and organize the new garage. It ended up being a very unorganized process and very haphazard.
If a new homeowner could roll this service/products into their mortgage, it may be an attractive package that they would be willing to spend more $$$.
Also, it would be so nice to move into a new home with the garage organization already in place.
Just a thought,
It all depends. I know, not the answer you were looking for! You might have some trouble getting the insurance placed if you`ve been in business for less than 2 years, or it might cost you more.
Do you have a physical location or do you work out of your home? If you work out of your home, you might be able to get coverage attached to your homeowners that is specifically for home-based businesses. I don`t carry any inventory and don`t need any location coverage just GL. I think this runs me about $250 per year for $1mm coverage, including $20k coverage for business property (computers, supplies, etc.) This is in addition to my personal GL which I recently increased to $1mm coverage. I`m not sure which companies offer such coverage, I am with Grange.
A typical BOP (Business Owners Policy) will run at least $1,000 per year. If you are a new business, sometimes more. I`m not sure what the E&O coverage will cost, since I`m not sure what business sectors you would be consulting. I would imagine if you are handling or consulting companies that handle personal information, the coverage might be higher than say other types of information.
I would recommend that you call an independent insurance agent, as they can get quotes from several different companies. You can then see what coverages are available and compare prices. You might also try a couple different agents. I believe working with an agent that you are comfortable with, and explain your options is key!
I hope this helps!
I think one of the biggest challenges is who your are dealing with. Some clients that have little or no design experience have a hard time understanding exactly what a change or enhancement entails. Some changes that seem minor on the surface may take hours or days to complete. Other changes that appear major, might actually be small in terms of labor.
While I have product management experience and experience working with developers, I don`t have experience in knowing what types of things are "easy" fixes and others which are not.
I found myself in this situation with my recent web design. I hesitated asking for a change that I thought would be major from a design standpoint, but found out was a simple fix. Another change I requested was going to be very involved and cost a lot of money. It was described to me as "trying to unbake a cake." Lucky for me the change that I thought was most crucial ended up being the least expensive to fix!
I spent several years as a product manager for a software company. I would have to know what documents, payment plan, timeline, etc. were decided upon at the project onset.
We had what we believed to be good documents that clearly identified what services we would provide and how much they cost, etc. After several clients coming back wanting and expecting more, we had to seriously evaluate our contracts and payment terms. We sold "out of the box" software along with custom services. The services were the sticky part. We had customers come back months even a year later asking for free services, changes, etc. One of our biggest challenges is that we would deliver a project and the customer wasn`t ready to use it right away. They would sit on our project and then once they implemented (sometimes months later), they would come back and ask for changes. That is why we put a time limit on the evaluation period. The customer knew from day one how long they had once the project was delivered to evaluate, and it was their responsibility to have their piece complete.
Because of these situations, we ended up revising our entire consulting work process. We idientified the services we would perform upfront, required payment once certain milestones were met, and gave the customer a period of 60 or 90 days to evaluate the project. Once the 60 days were up, the contract clearly stated that acceptance was assumed if we were not contacted and the maintenance contract would then be in effect. Once on maintenance, all changes were billed at our hourly rate.
I do think that after 5 months of use, there should be no refund. I do believe the consultant should meet with the client to determine where the dissatisfaction lies. There could be something gained for the future by understanding the problem, and trying to avoid this in the future. Unfortunately, the consultant would also need to gauge the "power" of this customer to possibly threaten future work with them and other companies. How angry will the customer be, and could it damage the consultant`s reputation. I don`t think this is right, but unfortunately might have to be taken into account when determining the "solution."
I know we did things for customers we never should have done. However, it made good business sense in the long run. If the customer was completely ridiculous in their demands, however, you have to draw the line somewhere.
Really sorry to hear about this. I hope that through your misfortune, a lot of us are picking up the phone and calling our insurance agents today!!! Like someone said, it`s only computers, but it appears the computers are your bread and butter. I wish I had a solution on how to replace them, give the financial constraints. You seem to have a good attitude though, and like you said, you`ve come too far to let this ruin your business.
Did you check and see if any of this could be considered a loss under your homeowners policy. I doubt it since it didn`t occur at your home, but it can`t hurt to try. What about a warranty on the broken computer? I`m probably grasping at straws, but I`m trying to use all angles here.
I know it doesn`t seem like it now, but this may be one of those "in the trenches" stories you tell years from now when your business is fabulously successful