Home – New Forums Tell me straight… Client requests supplier quote

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  • #964893
    Fishy
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    hi guys,

    I am just flabbergasted about a request from a relatively new client of mine, so I need some advice before I respond.

    I was asked to get some shots retouched, and I told the client I would outsource. They didnt ask me for a quote.

    I included this cost on my invoice (with an added percentage), and now they have received the invoice said they wont pay for it until they see my supplier invoice?

    This is not a normal request, how should I handle it?
    I have more recent that they owe me for too.)

    #1008976
    BB
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    Well,

    I’d say your clients have realised that you’ve “upped the price” and charged for work that you didn’t do.

    If you believe that you’ve nothing to hide, and have every good reason to charge extra for the work that you got somebody else to do – then you won’t have any qualms in providing the requested invoice, will you?

    Perhaps a communication breakdown here? Would this problem have arisen if you’d told them the actual costs before proceeding, or perhaps discussed the extra cost involved?

    Methinks there’s a real chance that they’ll pay you nothing more unless you can get this matter cleaned up.

    cheers,

    B.B.

    #1008977
    Paul Murphy
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    It is perfectly reasonable to add a commission for seeking out and vetting the appropriate supplier to carry out the work.

    Your customer asking to understand the financial relationship between you and your supplier is unusual I would say.

    I guess the question is – why do they want to see the quote? They want to understand how much your mark up is – presumably so they can dispute it and shave some points off it.

    Solving this problem with hindsight is easy – provide a quote. After the fact is obviously more difficult.

    It seems to me that you are going to lose on the deal if you relent. If you concede this and provide the details, and convince you to lower your margin, what are they going to do with each of your other invoices?

    If you have a strong enough position perhaps you should say your policy is not to disclose financial details of the supply chain to end customers.

    Do they have any issue with the quality of the service provided?

    #1008978
    peppie
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    Yes it is normal practice to add something to an invoice from a supplier, after all you have to spend your time to arrange the work and it costs you to do so. Essentially this is no different to purchasing product wholesale and onselling at a retail price. If your total price for a project is substantial you might choose to not add a margin or a small extra, but that is your choice and in any case I would make it clear you were providing that reduction in the form of a discount.

    Personally I would NEVER supply a client with details of my suppliers OR what I pay them. I consider that my business and a resource I have worked hard to develop, so why would I tell a client?

    I would immediately wonder just why they want to know so I think it would be very reasonable to ask. And I would try to angle that question in such a way as to try and understand why. But be diplomatic just the same, it could be that the reason is a very innocent one and something quite unexpected. I would certainly though make it clear that your normal policy is to not pass on such information.

    As said above, it does save a lot of embarrassment at times to make sure the arrangement is clearly understood up front though. Even if you don’t provide a written quote at least make sure what your offering is recorded in an email or such.

    #1008979
    allcreative
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    Fishy, post: 8318 wrote:
    This is not a normal request….

    Absolutely not! The whole retail world and many service industries rely on outsourcing, contractors or even ‘lower level’ employees to complete a huge range of tasks.

    When I go to see my accountant, I know for sure that he is not the one doing my tax return, he just checks over it all with me and makes sure the numbers add up, etc. I can guarantee the work is done by a junior or another accountant in the business though – and I am absolutely fine with it as they all do a great job and I’m always happy with the outcome.

    Cheers,
    Joel

    #1008980
    Adam Randall
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    I think I would probably refuse on principle, he is dealing with you not your supplier.

    Unless of course you had agreed to a set profit margin and they want to verify you stuck to your side of the bargain.

    From what you are saying though, there was nothing mentioned and no such agreement.

    What a cheek…..

    #1008981
    Adam Randall
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    B.B., post: 8319 wrote:
    Well,

    I’d say your clients have realised that you’ve “upped the price” and charged for work that you didn’t do.

    If you believe that you’ve nothing to hide, and have every good reason to charge extra for the work that you got somebody else to do – then you won’t have any qualms in providing the requested invoice, will you?

    Thats how business works!

    There is nothing underhanded about marking things up 10,000% if someone is prepared to pay it, its not seedy.

    Either the client is prepared to pay the invoice, or he is not, its not conditional. What business is it of his?

    “I am only going to pay this and I only see value in this if your profit margin is less than what you would earn for the same amount of effort pushing trollies at coles”

    In the rule book of business please show me where it says that I have to put a requisite amount of effort in before I am allowed to make a profit? and whos business is it how much profit I make as long as nobody gets hurt and someone is prepared to pay for it.

    I think the biggest mistake here is doing work for people you dont know without some written agreement such as purchase order or quote.

    While I am glad flogging has been outlawed in this country, I think requesting this sort of information from someone that is doing work for you comes close to me asking for its reinstatement.

    #1008982
    Benedict
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    I agree with everyone else here

    The client want work done and requested you get it done. How you get it done is of no real concern to them so long as the results are good. And if they aren’t good then as far as the client is concerned you are responsible.

    I think you may have to ask this person if they are a Viking or at least a Socialist. And then drop them quick smart because whatever answer they give you is most likely a lie.

    Do you ask Myer for the purchase paperwork for every pair of undies you buy? No. So what gives them the right to bully you in such a way. No question this person is not a good customer at all.

    http://www.brmwebconsulting.com/articles/terms_of_trade.htm

    :-)

    #1008983
    Burgo
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    Your client is just trying to get out of paying for extra service, show them nothing add an interest charge to their account for the unnecessary delay and dont deal with them again.

    You win they loose.

    #1008984
    BB
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    Adam Randall, post: 8324 wrote:
    Thats how business works!

    There is nothing underhanded about marking things up 10,000% if someone is prepared to pay it, its not seedy.

    Of course it’s not seedy! And I’m sure people would be prepared to pay whatever – IF THEY KNEW. Clients are just like business owners – they don’t like surprises either.

    Would you query a supplier if the cost seemed too high?

    While I believe that communication is the key here I also feel that there’s more to this story than we know.

    Whilst ‘Fishy’ has a right to feel outraged – so too do his customers – if they feel they are getting a raw deal.

    Yes Adam, flogging has been outlawed – but transparency in business hasn’t.

    B.B.

    #1008985
    Adam Randall
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    And thats all fine, by all means question the price, but the profit margin he is making is completely irrelevant to the client.

    The price he is paying is relevant to the client, the profit margin is not.

    So what the client should do is find comparable businesses and compare prices that way, if he feels he is being gyped.

    Whats next, the client asking how many toilet breaks the subcontractor took while working on his project…..

    #1008986
    markyanma
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    Hello, Fishy,

    It is a really trouble. However even in China, the client must keep the rule paying for the invoice, no matter the difference between supplier and you except the supplier is his.
    Maybe your outsourcing is high than normal level. you can check this again.

    If possible i would like to supply you rubber and plastic parts from China. Our factory is good at it.

    Fishy, post: 8318 wrote:
    hi guys,

    I am just flabbergasted about a request from a relatively new client of mine, so I need some advice before I respond.

    I was asked to get some shots retouched, and I told the client I would outsource. They didnt ask me for a quote.

    I included this cost on my invoice (with an added percentage), and now they have received the invoice said they wont pay for it until they see my supplier invoice?

    This is not a normal request, how should I handle it?
    I have more recent that they owe me for too.)

    #1008987
    Thrive Promotional
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    It sounds like you may need to put this one in your ‘experience’ box.

    A client is not always aware of the time it takes for a particular part of a project … or the co-ordination time required to arrange / outsource the work.

    While your client should have asked, it would probably been better to alert your client ahead of time of the likely charge (or at least advised them what was involved and approx. # hours).

    They may be more miffed about not being advised, rather than the actual charge …. unless you have marked up substantially beyond what the client believes is justified (?).

    How you deal with this request will depend very much on how you value the association and if you expect ongoing work. If they are a high value client, it would be worth acknowledging that you should have made this clearer.

    You may also need to assess if it is worth offering an amendment to your invoice. Your client can ‘save face’ .. and it may help to retain the client.

    In saying all the above … it is very common to outsource and you made the client aware of this point … I wouldn’t release the invoice as this is your private contract with the supplier … and your client does need to take some responsibility too for not asking.

    Next time, develop pdf or similar document to accompany each quote, that handles all the usual faq and other ‘issues’ so everything is clear and upfront.

    Cheers
    Morgan

    #1008988
    tildavirtual
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    I’m a Multi-VA in that I have a team of subcontractors I use to assist me. I am very upfront with this fact and ask all potential clients if this will be a problem before we start. It’s a common practice to use subcontractors.

    Fishy, I wouldn’t give the invoice but would ask them why they would like to see it.

    #1008989
    homemade soap
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    hello

    ask them this

    if you take your car to a mechanic for the auto gear box to be serviced and they are not qualified to do a service on the gear box they will send it to a qualified automatic transmission service center and charge you any where from 10%-25% markup for just driving your car to them.

    this is a common thing in the auto trade as myself if i out source work that i,m not qualified to do i will put a markup of 10% to 20% for just driving the car to them.

    if you have done what they asked for then you have nothing to worry about in say that what i find in most case like this where they just don’t want to pay at all and more than likey had no intension of paying in the first place.

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