Once you've been in the consulting field for a reasonable amount of time, you'll be faced with a client that's in a bind and wants you to start immediately.
You'll scramble to adjust your schedule and make travel arrangements so that you can be on-site the very next Monday. You'll show up to the client site only to learn that they’ve not assigned you a workspace, nor have they set up your system access.
At this point, they will find “something” for you to do, so that you’re not just sitting around. Being that they requested your presence on-site, and since you were onsite for 40 hours, they’re not going to have a problem approving your 40 hours for the week. They will do this even though you sat around, trying to stay busy the first two days, when you had no system access.
However, I recently encountered a situation in which a new client wanted someone to start immediately — the only difference being that the consultant was going to work from home during the first week. This consultant cancelled existing personal plans in order to accommodate the client request to start Monday of the following week.
Since things were put together so quickly, when Monday arrived, our consultant had an 8 am phone call with the manager and was told that his system access should be in place shortly. The client sent documents via email for the consultant to review, but the consultant’s system access was not set up until noon the following day. At the end of the week, the consultant presented a timesheet containing 40 hours. The client balked, saying, “There’s no way they could have worked 40 hours, because they didn’t even have access to the system until midday Tuesday.”
In this case, the client requested the consultant to be available at 8 am Monday. But since the client was not prepared for the consultant to start, they did not want to pay for a full week.
Does this type of mix-up happen often? Not at all. But it does happen.
I present this scenario only to point out the little things that can occur. The more you can talk though how to handle client situations like these before a contract starts, the easier they will be to deal with once — or if — they occur.