Home Forums Money matters Nickels, Dimes & Boundaries

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  • #993250
    Tom ISW
    Member
    • Total posts: 180

    Hello all,

    Got a thorny question for you today.

    I have a client, and they needed me to Express Post a document to a collaborator. They didn’t offer to pay for the postage. I thought, well, it’s an insignificant amount so I didn’t insist they pay for it in the final invoice.

    So my question is this: was it wrong of me not to insist?

    The point is, this is the first time it’s happened. I want to establish clear boundaries around such costs, especially if they blow out to ridiculous sums. (They haven’t yet, but…)

    Billing a client for $7 seems a bit silly to me. I’m caught between “doing a great job” and “not being taken for a ride.”

    What do you think?

    #1190598
    NickKaro
    Member
    • Total posts: 226

    Hi Tom

    It tends to depend on the field and quantum that the client is paying as a service fee.

    That being said, I prefer service providers that include such potential expenses within their main service fee (i.e. my firm does not generally charge clients for photocopying, postage, etc. unlike many others). It’s a perception thing in my opinion.

    Regards
    Nick

    #1190599
    Jason Ramage
    Participant
    • Total posts: 3,161

    Hi Tom

    IANSWER> Why? well there are blacough its hard to answer. Why? well there are black and white scenarios and then there are muddy ones.. Allow me to elaborate.

    If this client was worth several thousands a quarter, the odd assistance in sending a letter (once off at moment for express) could be warranted although if its a smallish client and the value of the postage is a large percentage of your revenue this would be a while different story.

    In the service industry (you doing copy writing etc), i feel all the additional services should possible be charged as there is no reason for you to incur undue costs on incidentals. It should also be pretty easy to approach, client says “Hey Tom, can you drop those into an express satchel and shoot across to XYX?” of which you reply, “sure, this is no drama – did you want to provide the satchel or do you want me to just buy one and update the invoice?”

    Its rare that people are deliberately trying to take advantage of you with these costs, its generally our own thoughts of valuing them as a customer that makes it difficult to charge – even if they are expecting to be billed!

    Here is a funny one for you, i recall years ago i was a ‘consultant’ and had a client that literally covered my yearly wage in a short period of time and they would always ask me to arrange postage, couriers etc etc of which i never billed for (well not on the invoice as my tenure was all inclusive – i thought) as i felt adequately compensated already (maybe undervaluing myself here.. LOL) and a few months went by and the CEO called a meeting.. Meeting arranged, self doubt crept in thinking i was in trouble as not meeting an objective i wasnt abreast of etc although once in the meeting the CEO asked me why i wasnt billing him correctly – you guessed it i panicked and thought i was overcharging them, to which he queried why i hadnt billed for courier services etc! – funny thing is he was worried i was going to hit him with a quarterly invoice and wanted them included in my standard bill – needless to say, i began billing..

    Hope that helps a little..

    Cheers

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: hello@lucasarthur.net.au   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1190600
    Tom ISW
    Member
    • Total posts: 180

    Thanks for that [USER=12942]@NickKaro[/USER] – I almost never have to post anything, so that’s why I brought it up. I always figured printing and photocopying was my cost.

    That’s also an interesting story [USER=34537]@HarryLuke Logistics[/USER]! I suppose it’s best to establish boundaries loud and clear at the outset.

    #1190601
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485

    Tom,

    I guess I look at it based on the client. the cost and the potential impact on the relationship.

    If it’s my client that brings in a major chunk of my income for the year, and all they want is for me to provide a bottle of rose spray, I think what the heck its a drop in the ocean, but having said that they are the one’s who generally say just add it to the next bill. which generally I don’t bother, but I have on occasions. But if the request for anything additional grows, its invoiced without question, and never with a problem from their side.

    But if its a small value client, then its an automatic inclusion on the invoice, even for a fixed price job, if they have asked for something that is additional to the agreed job, it gets charged. The main reason for this in the beginning I wasn’t doing it and I found some of these people just expected more and more ”freebies”, so now its no questions asked and added to the invoice. Its a case of setting the expectations upfront.

    #1190602
    Tom ISW
    Member
    • Total posts: 180

    That’s a good point [USER=53375]@bb1[/USER]. I’d lean toward that line of thinking.

    #1190603
    Jason Ramage
    Participant
    • Total posts: 3,161
    Tom ISW, post: 223696, member: 54379 wrote:
    That’s a good point [USER=53375]@bb1[/USER]. I’d lean toward that line of thinking.

    Hey Tom

    As said earlier, this is going to be a tuffy to answer as each will value their clients differently and to varying degrees on the existing revenue scales and future revenue scales..

    If the client is nearing the end of revenue life, you will treat one way.. If they are at the start of their revenue cycle with you, you may be more lenient :)

    Cheers

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: hello@lucasarthur.net.au   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1190604
    Tom ISW
    Member
    • Total posts: 180
    HarryLuke Logistics, post: 223697, member: 34537 wrote:
    Hey Tom

    As said earlier, this is going to be a tuffy to answer as each will value their clients differently and to varying degrees on the existing revenue scales and future revenue scales..

    If the client is nearing the end of revenue life, you will treat one way.. If they are at the start of their revenue cycle with you, you may be more lenient :)

    Cheers
    Yes, it’s quite tough. I don’t want to scrimp on service, though. I do value relationships with my clients.

    #1190605
    Warren Cottis
    Member
    • Total posts: 807

    Think of it as a part of your Positioning with the client.

    If the client thinks you track pennies you’ll never be able to charge hundreds of dollars for your time.

    Just focus on charging for the results you deliver.

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