Home – New Forums Money matters Client telling me what the invoice amount should be after the job is complete

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  • #974823
    mediaman
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    Ok, I have broken a couple of rules in a recent job for a regular and very good client and have been stung. The project was a promotional video for a local business (a client of my client) that they needed for a business fair the next week.

    The first rule I broke was that I accepted the job without them asking for nor me offering a formal estimate or quote for the work to be done. It was a panic job, left for the last minute by the client – I was given a quick brief and so I just got into it. No cost was discussed.

    I had no question that they trusted that whatever the cost ended up being – they would accept that as being fair and reasonable and a good indication of time spent. I was helping them out of a pickle anyway…

    After starting the job, a form of Project Creep started to set in with components supplied by the client for the video being regularly changed and updated. We started to run out of time and my other clients work was beginning to suffer to get this job completed on time. I spent many hours making adjustments and sending proofs for the client to ok with more and more adjustments to come.

    To cut a long story short, the project was finished in the nick of time and it was then I received an email from the client saying “Thanks for all your hard work, please send us an invoice for $xxxx and we will pay as soon as we can.”

    It was then it struck me that I was being ripped of by someone I trusted. The amount they wanted to be charged was at least half of what I was going to charge them and even that was a discount. Many nights I worked late into the night and over the weekend and even knocked back other jobs to get this finished by their deadline, only to be told what to charge them.

    I have yet to respond to their email.

    Yes, I have once again learned a valuable lesson, but at this point – in your opinion/s – what do you think I should do? Should I respond with “that’s not enough for the work that I did” and detail how much work it took to complete, or should I cop it on the chin and remember for next time?

    I did think that perhaps I should send them an invoice showing the REAL amount and then show a discount to get to “their price” to make a “soft point” to them for next time. Good idea or a waste of time?

    Cheers.

    #1070576
    Past-Member
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    Hi – I think you should send an invoice for the correct amount minus a discount that brings it to midway between their fee suggestion and yours.
    That way they see they have a discount, but you are the one in control.

    Eg Say they think bill is $2000 and you think $3000. Offer discount of $500 so it’s $2500.

    Hopefully they will see the value in this.

    .

    #1070577
    bluepenguin
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    I agree with Karen C.

    That’s the best way to get it out of your hair, but still maintain control of the situation. But, make sure you word your invoice so they know it’s a once off thing and they shouldn’t expect the same deal if they use your services again.

    In a few months the effort you went to won’t seem as huge as it does now and you’ll feel better. Sometimes if I wait to long to do invoices for big jobs, I’m likely to charge less than I should, because I’ve forgotten how much effort and stress I went through for the client. So don’t stress too much.

    #1070578
    MyGreatIdea
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    Totally agree with Karen and Bluepenguin. They need to know what the job was worth, and showing a discount is a fair compromise.

    If you don’t stand your ground on this, they’ll think they can do the same next time, and word will spread…not a good thing for you or your business.

    The good thing to come out of this is that you won’t do another job without setting the price first ;)

    Wendy :)

    #1070579
    sixx
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    mediaman, post: 87968 wrote:
    I have yet to respond to their email.

    I did think that perhaps I should send them an invoice showing the REAL amount and then show a discount to get to “their price” to make a “soft point” to them for next time. Good idea or a waste of time?

    Cheers.

    Personally I think this is a bad idea.

    If I were you I would send them a detailed invoice for the REAL cost of work done. Don’t offer a discount to get closer to their price or even match it or they will walk over you everytime from here on in.

    If there is leway in your price to offer a discount, don’t give it to them yet (and be reasonable to yourself/your work if you need to offer one). Wait until they respond to your REAL cost invoice.

    #1070580
    John C.
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    I tend to agree with sixx – submit a real invoice for the amount you think your work is worth and keep any discount you’re willing to give up your sleeve for when / if they argue about the amount, otherwise you’re agreeing that the client has the right to come up with a cost at the end of the job each time they hire you!

    It’s true that you made a mistake by not being clear about your rates from the outset – I think we’ve all made that mistake once – but that doesn’t give the customer the right to dictate your rates once the job is complete. You should at least come to some agreement together, rather than them just giving you an amount that you’re allowed to invoice them for.

    Is it possible that the person who referred you to this client mentioned a price that they’ve paid you in the past for similar work, and the new client just assumed that you had passed on a verbal quote through them? Maybe speak to that person about any conversations they may have had with the new client.

    I hope you get a good outcome.

    Cheers,
    John

    #1070581
    Stuart B
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    Yeah I agree with the last pasts. Don’t offer a discount and keep it up your sleeve. Then you’ve got something to negotiate with when they inevitably respond with “whaaaat!?”.

    At the end of the day, you’ve already delivered the end product so there’s nothing you can do if they decide they don’t want to pay the full amount. It’s just an attempt to make a recovery from the initial mistake.

    I had the exact same situation happen to me when building a website for a client (who originated from this forum!), where they managed to create a situation so they would only have to pay half of the quoted price (i.e. product was delivered before final payment was received).

    I was absolutely furious because I felt that I had done them a favour on a seriously rush job, but at the end of the day I just had to write it off and chalk it up to a business experience which had to happen eventually.

    The silver lining is that all my procedures relating to how I deal with clients & payments got revised and I’ve never had the same thing happen since. And in some way I think it’s better because when a client tries to bend you to their will out of sympathy for one reason or another, you can calmly tell them that the job is still going to take this long / cost this much.

    I think at the end of the day those clients end up respecting you more because it shows you have some strong standards, and are prepared to lose them if they don’t play the game by your rules.

    So I think you should attempt to get them to pay what you want, but if they don’t go for it, take comfort in the huge experience you’ll gain, and that they’ve actually helped you strengthen your business procedures in a way. Remember that you always learn more from a loss, than from a win.

    #1070582
    bluepenguin
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    onsiteTECHS, post: 88020 wrote:
    submit a real invoice for the amount you think your work is worth and keep any discount you’re willing to give up your sleeve for when / if they argue about the amount

    While this makes sense, I would much rather give out a discount on my terms and stick to my guns than lower my price and submit to the client as soon as they complain about something.

    If you do that, they’ll expect to be able to haggle at the end of every project.

    I think in this case, it’s more important to get paid with as little hassle as possible, learn the lesson, and move on.

    #1070583
    DebtCollector
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    It’s a pretty dumb thing to do not giving at least a price guideline of what it will cost. That said. You don’t want to draw a line in the sand and say you owe me “x” for the work done and this is not negotiable. This can lead to a non payment or a very slow resolution to your problem.

    I would be more inclined to ring your client and ask for a meeting with him. Face to face meetings alway seem to work better, and you can negotiate a resolution then and there. Rather than it dragging on for weeks or months or sometimes years.

    I would bring in all costings of the job and bring in other invoice from jobs of a similiar brief showing that what you are charging is the norm.

    If he’s a reasonable businessman you should be able to either get the payment you want or meet somewhere in the middle. But because of the situation you are in with no quote for the work you need to be some what flexible in your price to get this thing resolved.

    #1070584
    Dave.Goralski
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    Good video “warning explicit language”

    http://goo.gl/Zti9J

    #1070585
    daydreamer
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    Excellent video Greg… Thanks for posting.

    “Don’t be a bottom!” … classic! :)

    #1070586
    JacquiPryor
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    My 2c, for what it’s worth – I would issue the invoice at the rate you would normally for the job done.

    Rather than offer a discount to keep them happy – you could make a note in your terms that they are welcome to deduct a 10% discount (or however much) for prompt payment, or full balance due in X number of days. Make it seem like this is your standard practice to offer a prompt payment discount – rather than the discount relating to what they think they should be paying. It sounds like they already said they would pay quickly once they have your invoice so you could even cover note it with “As you have indicated a quick payment of our invoice, we invite you to deduct our prompt payment discount of %X if settled within 7 days”.

    I do agree with onsiteTECHS comment -kind of sounds like the client that introduced you may have mentioned amounts they have previously paid to you and they have ‘assumed’ that it would be about the same for them. (Mind you – if that was me, I would probably say that when contacting you rather than just dictate the sum).

    PS – If you do end up discounting anything of your standard rates, make sure its recorded as a discount – as this will count as a business expense for reporting/tax purposes etc

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