Inverted SLA (buyer to seller)

I’ve just been contacted a a US federal agency asking about buying a standard license for my software. But they have their own SLA (presumably so they don’t need their lawyers to read and approve every external SLA before purchasing).

Has anyone else come across this practice before - is it common for federal agencies? Its the first time I’ve come across it.

It would cost more for me to get a lawyer to read over and approve it than the purchase is worth I suspect…


I’m not sure about government agencies, but in the enterprise ecommerce world (my forte), it’s very common for the customer to specify an uptime SLA, support response time SLA, etc.


I’ve hit this with universities, and government buyers before, sure. Higher requirements have higher costs, sometimes 10-500x costs depending on what your software costs normally.

Some government agencies are the quietest customers you’ll ever have, some will buy enormous amount of training sessions from you, others will be giant pains in the butt.

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I’ve had this a few times with either customer provide EULA’s or more commonly modifications to standard EULA’s

For smaller sales (sub thousands of dollars) I’ve explained that there would be additional costs to have our own lawyer and insurance companies review (usual change is jurisdiction which has insurance cost implications) and quoted a figure that would be high enough to cover and make it worth while and this is often much higher than license cost)

In every case but 1 they have backed down once they realise that their box ticking request has cost implications.

I’ve also done this occasionally when a big customer has an inordinate amount of ‘vendor setup’ form busywork to fill in. Doing some paperwork is just cost of doing business but occasionally they are just absolutely crazy 50 page monstrosities - I am not supplying nuclear reactors here people!

Thanks for the replies! This SLA isn’t just an uptime or support response time contract, it stipulates a whole range of things, including the ability to conduct a financial review of my accounts… Erm, no.

I like @Rhino’s approach - shift the burden of the cost. And it just isn’t worth it for a $500 license.

While thinking about that, I was thinking of what my response would be if a customer said, “I’d like to buy your software, but you need to pay my lawyer to read and approve your EULA.”