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Guidelines for Consulting Work

Consulting work is the most difficult to define, to control, and to bill. Some ITSS services are provided free of charge, but some are billed. This section gives some general rules that Information Technology Systems and Services will use to determine whether or not to bill for consulting services

  1. ITSS is not fully funded by the university. As an ISO we must bill for some of our services in order to pay our staff and provide services. ITSS staff are highly skilled, and their time is valuable. Please expect to pay for some of our services.
  2. Specific identifiable tasks are good candidates for billing. If you would like an ITSS staff person to port a program to a new machine, write a program to do a particular task, or revise an existing program, this is generally a billable task.
  3. Customization projects are generally billable. If you would like an ITSS staff person to load software on your personal machine or adapt software so that it performs specific tasks for you, this is usually billable.
  4. Questions that are complex or time consuming are billable. This includes time that an ITSS staff person spends researching your question or discussing it with you, either in person or on the phone.
  5. Calls to the help desk are not billable. Staff at the help desk have been encouraged to limit the time they spend with any single customer. Problems that are complicated or time consuming will be referred to a staff member as a billable project or billable training item.
  6. One-on-one training is billable and is a very expensive use of staff time. If you are unwilling or unable to make use of seminars and self-paced training, then you should expect to pay for individualized training. Some one-on-one training for faculty, related to enhancing teaching and learning, is fully funded.
  7. Although ITSS staff are eager to help you, we do reserve the right to refuse a consulting request in some cases, even if you are willing to pay. This is most likely to happen if the request falls far from our areas of expertise, doesn't fit the mission of the department, and when there is not enough staff time available to do the job.
  8. Simple cost estimates are not billable. Complex cost estimates, including second or third requests for the same or similar project, may be billable.
  9. ITSS is willing to make an agreement with a specific department for more generalized support or a volume-purchase plan that does not involve careful time tracking for billing purposes. Please contact an ITSS manager if you are interested in such an arrangement.
  10. ITSS staff will ask faculty and staff for a budget number before starting work. Students will pay for service through the UMD Computer Corner or be billed through thier student financial accounts.
  11. If you have in mind a project that will be of wider benefit across campus, then ITSS will consider options for spreading the cost among all potential users.
  12. ITSS staff bill for modifications and bug fixes.
  13. ITSS staff are encouraged to consult their manager if they are unsure about whether they should bill. Customers should also feel free to ask to speak to a manager about billing issues.

For more information about ITSS service objectives, please see Customer Service Goals.

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Last modified on 04/18/08
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