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I've been hosting websites for quite awhile now (since 1998) and one of the biggest time-takers has always been email. So, you can imagine my delight when Google began offering their apps for free. I tested and re-tested, then I painstakingly moved all of my hosted customers to Google Apps for their email while continuing to host their sites here.
I am the admin of each of the Google Apps accounts that I set up. This is working fine, mainly because I encourage my customers to spend their precious time running their businesses while I take care of all things Web. But, in your opinion, what do I do if they ask to administer their own Apps?

I'd like to know your opinions on whether you think it's "right" for me to refuse admin rights to my Google Apps users.

Thanks,

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Last Post by Zinderin
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I've been hosting websites for quite awhile now (since 1998) and one of the biggest time-takers has always been email. So, you can imagine my delight when Google began offering their apps for free. I tested and re-tested, then I painstakingly moved all of my hosted customers to Google Apps for their email while continuing to host their sites here.
I am the admin of each of the Google Apps accounts that I set up. This is working fine, mainly because I encourage my customers to spend their precious time running their businesses while I take care of all things Web. But, in your opinion, what do I do if they ask to administer their own Apps?

I'd like to know your opinions on whether you think it's "right" for me to refuse admin rights to my Google Apps users.

Thanks,

Its always your right to refuse. But there are things to consider.

While I'm no longer really in the business, I've been a Systems Analyst and Programmer Analyst since '79 ... and went out on my own as a contract project manager in '96. I more or less went into semi-retirement in '06 ... so consider the source.

For me, it wouldn't be a straight up, yes/no, decision. I'd take into consideration my relationship with the client, the client's competency, and (yes) my potential for making money off the situation.

There are going to be times when your client is just freaked about not having control. Its not that they intend to do anything, but they want to know they can in the event something happens to you, and they need to take over while they transition to an alternative.

I've been a Director in various capacities throughout my career, and I have always demanded source code and (as in this scenario) backdoor info. Of course not all companies are going to hand over source code or the keys to the kingdom, so that's when you turn to a source code escrow company (who will also handle the keys for you).

The idea being, no responsible IT Director or VP, or informed small business owner, is going to allow you to hold their company hostage. You might have a heart-attack, or be killed in a car accident, or your company might suddenly go out of business for any number of reasons. Its just as much their right to protect themselves from these sort of scenarios, as it is your right to refuse.

In the end, if they are just trying to protect themselves, then go along with them, understand their concerns, and escrow the code / info ... if they want to pony up the escrow fee. Just make sure that you are covered in the contract, and they can't get their hands on it unless a very demanding criteria is met.

However, if they are trying to take over the project because they've hired some hot-shot kid out of college that has convinced them that he can do it all ... then the writing is on the wall with that client anyway.

Either they won't be your client for long, or will be a returning client a year down the road after he's fallen on his face, and begging you do pick up the pieces (cha-ching!!!).

So in that case, I would be very amiable and just explain that is not your business model, shake their hand and walk away ... making sure you hope to do business with them down the road again.

In no case will I turn over the keys to an incompetent client. Its just going to get ugly. They are going to frustrate you by constantly screwing things up and expecting you to clean it up (for free typically). And you are going to frustrate (or even anger) them because you're charging them to fix what they screw up.

Remember, 99% of the time, success in this business is your relationship with the customer. There's 1000s on 1000s of coders out there biting at the bit to pick up that client!

In other word, he/she has options. Over the long term, returning clients chose you because they trust you and believe in you. There is nothing wrong, with using that trust to explain to them, they are venturing down a path you don't recommend and fear the results might damage their project, the security of the project, and worse ... could damage or ruin their user's (customers) experience.

In no case should you be defensive, or insulted. Even if that's your immediate reaction. I don't believe in raping my clients, but every time the phone rang (or an email showed up) I saw it as an opportunity to make money, even if it was something I didn't want to do.

And never forget, sometimes you make money by politely walking away from a project / request. Your time and your skills are your assets ... don't waste em.

Just my thoughts.

Edited by Zinderin: n/a

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