My client doesn't want to pay for going over budget stating that I was unclear... was I?
Prior to beginning a specific design project I submitted a proposal to my client for her review and approval. It clearly specified the projected budget and terms. "Three concepts of the logo will be supplied to the client with-in 7-14 business days upon agreement of the design brief and receipt of 50% deposit. The intent is to narrow the concepts down to one with minor changes. If the client does not see what they like, and additional concept will be supplied based on their feedback. Client may request additional concepts beyond this. Please note that additional concepts and changes will incur an hourly fee of ..." When they used up their concepts and prior to beginning additional work, I let them know that they have gone outside the scope of the design brief. They said ok. I went through one more round of changes and they again requested more. At that point I mentioned that they already have gone 3 hours past their budget and asked how many hours did they feel comfortable going outside their budget. I didn't want any surprises. My client said that they didn't think that they went over their budget and that I wasn't clear about that and should have been. They asked me to give them a break since I wasn't clear. How should I handle this since I thought I was very clear? And how could I have been clearer so that I could avoid something like this in the future?
This is a very common problem, thank you for sharing your great experience in solving it 192.168.l.254
It sounds like you were very clear with your policy within your proposal, however I noticed that when you mentioned to your client that they were out of scope of the design brief, and at that time I would have also mentioned the status of their budget (over/under/right at the budget). We make it a practice to always let our clients know when their funds are running low, "before" they go over budget as well as keep up a consistent billing method with the balance so that they are not "surprised" at least monthly or weekly (depending upon how often that you are working hourly/daily or per project)for them.
This does create more accounting work on our end, but its worth it. At that point we let them make the decision as well as decide on the funding extra's that they need or want to make. Often, when they see a running bill/balance they will make decisions based on knowing ahead of time where they stand as it pertains to their budget.
Communication is key not only up front with the proposal, but throughout the engagement. I would give them the break this time for the reasons mentioned above and continue to communicate the status. As a client of our lawyer, accountant, etc. we always ask them for a running balance of our retainer (to them)for our business as we do have a budget for costs for them as well. Therefore we do the same with our clients. No one likes surprises when it comes to being over budget.
I would stick to the agreement they signed and insist that they pay you for your time. You could also cut it in half if you want to meet them half way. I fear this client is taking advantage of you or trying to take advantage of you...
yes it is a problem but if you are expert in your field and your reputation in the market is good than with little argue client pay extra money because they are satisfied that this plan bring more business o no problem if i pay little more ,but key is your good work and reputation in the market
Always make up Change Orders (i.e. additional SOW or statement of work) to cover anything that is beyond what was detailed in any original contract
Get them to sign each CO before you start the work.
Always reference the Contract so your basic terms and conditions extend to each CO..
You have gotten some good process advice from others.
However, the root problem might be that no matter what you do they are not going to be satisfied. Sometimes it is best to cut and run before you waste any more time. He have been sufficiently clear. I think you are dealing with someone who is not the kind of person you want to do business with.
i am a little confused with specification you gave your client. Perhaps the client needed to know clearly that the charge for extra will be after the 14 days. Also you may need to put a limit to the number of designs they would need to choose from before being charged for extra.
From my experience as a project manager, I have found that the simpler the better. Make your specifications simple so that there will not be any misinterpretation.
First of all I think we need to establish who 'they' is/are. As a project manager were you personally in charge of the contact points and agreements or did you assign it to someone within your company?
Did you deal with one person/office?
Do you have documented days and instances where the extensions on the hours were agreed that you can produce to the client?
Did you do your due diligence before taking up the job, it is often good to know what kind of client you are dealing with so that when making your budget you can include contingency provisions for extensions/abrupt adjustments even if from your own reserves.(manpower, resource pool and economies of scale, contacts and goodwill)
If everything was above board and the client has signed the project execution agreement then bill the client for the extra hours and take it up from there. The client has asked you to give them a break, meaning the job/project may be in review. You may just get to finish up on the current job but if you have a contract in place, let the client be the first to terminate the contract so that should you go legal you can argue you did not act in bad faith.
It is also not good for your brand should you be the first to terminate. Give them time and look for the guy who signs the cheque, or the guy in charge of the guy who signs the cheque. They may have bad news for you about the job but at least you will have time to cut your losses should a negative answer be in the offing!
This is very tough..."Design failures" is what your business and relationships are all about...I think you should try to clear the air and go from there...Especially if you want to keep the client...Clients usually will work with you if the Trust bond is established...evidently here not so sure it has been or been broken
Great advice below and it comes down to - communicate clearly, proactively and consistently from start to finish with reviews, sign offs and agreements...oh, and monies up front and before materials are turned over.
Though I also noted below...I smell a huge red flag here from this customer, not only on this project, but any future project they may offer you. And, not all money is good money. Consider it seriously.