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  • Asking a client for more money!? Once started/quoted, but doing more work than..
  • Premier Icon 0303062650
    Free Member

    Dear STW,

    I hope the collective knowledge of STW could shed a little light on a bit of a situation i’m in.

    We quoted on a job at a price, the customer said “if you can do it for £X price then you’ve got it” … on my quote, there are words to the effect of, if we have to do any more than quoted above, it is chargeable.

    I’ve now got to the stage where the job was supposed to complete in april, and we are still a while away from it being done, work I have requested to be done hasn’t been done and I am having to make more, repeat, trips to site and re-email drawings, create a schedule of works – generally act in a more project management role than quoted, ie, i’m doing more than was quoted originally.

    This job is a little different in that I normally quote for everything but the client wanted to spend less, so got less of my time.

    I’m not overly au fait in dealing with situations like this as the chap who was my business partner no longer is, and he dealt with this.

    Any thoughts/comments would be very much appreciated 😉

    thanks in advance,
    Jonathan

    Premier Icon rogerthecat
    Free Member

    The only way is to be absolutely straight with them.
    We have the same problem commonly known as – “project creep”
    Sit down with them, take your original quote and explain that either they fulfil their half of the agreement or if they cannot do so you can undertake the work to help them but there will be an associated cost.
    We use time sheets and it has helped a lot – we also log all parts of a project, because as you are finding – when you are away from site they have no idea what is required behind the scenes.
    If any of our processes can help, I would be happy to share them with you.
    Good luck.
    (Customers eh? How easy life would be is they all just went away!)

    Premier Icon 0303062650
    Free Member

    *doh* a Homer Simpson moment, that’s the one thing I haven’t done (ever) is log all the times, I can estimate what has been done, but nothing in concrete!

    Any assistance would be *VERY* much appreciated ;)))))

    My email add’ is: Jonathan AT Intelligent-technology.co.uk if you would be kind enough to send any stuff over.

    Agreed, I’ll arrange to see him Monday morning, no doubt he’ll want to meet at 7:30am as usual ;((

    😉
    Jonathan 😉

    Premier Icon mastiles_fanylion
    Free Member

    This happens lots I am afraid and the only way to ensure it doesn’t is to make it clear that additional work will entail additoinal costs.

    Ie, at the top of any conversation, make it clear the work is not in project scope but you are happy to review it and quote accordingly.

    It may not help on work over and above which is already done, but will ensure you don’t continue to give your time away.

    Premier Icon Google
    Free Member

    If you havent tracked it to date then the only answer is to tell him you know its over and will have to start tracking, and charging, accordingly from now on.
    Unless you want to blag a few time sheets of course, but you’re on thin ice then.

    You WILL get kickback. You always do. Stick to your guns – you quoted for a job which has changed and needs to be requoted accordingly.
    Good luck

    Premier Icon pjd
    Free Member

    mastiles is right and if you want to document create a simple “variation order” form that can be appended to original contract.

    Depending on your client you may struggle to get anything you have already done paid for (though it is worth going through it all and putting your case over), but for future i would be strict about not doing work with out either a formal instruction from the client and / or signed variation order.

    Scope creep is an issue for us as well, you have to be firm to remain profitable

    Premier Icon surfer
    Free Member

    I agree with what has been said but in particular put a mark in the sand now by documenting formally from this point on the work you do, there is a risk to what do you have done so far.

    Premier Icon ridethelakes
    Free Member

    If you’ve quoted for a job and later realise your quote was too little then thats your problem (sorry!).

    However if your client is making changes / amendments then he should pay. I would have thought the correct way to deal with it would be to quote for each additional amendment in advance. Its not fair to just give a bigger bill at the end with no warning and I personally wouldn’t pay for anything that wasn’t quoted for and agreed beforehand.

    Premier Icon 0303062650
    Free Member

    thank you for the advice! 😉 very much appreciated.

    i certainly don’t have any intentions of blindly issuing a larger bill, the consequences of just handing over something like that would lead to sour grapes, none payment and loads of hassle and a bad relationship – all things i am very keen to avoid!!!

    I’ll document everything that has been done, and in relation to the original quote as me getting bummed financially is also something i’m keen to avoid!

    it’s not that I am supplying additional products (and the error I made on the infrared routing system, i absorbed that cost and was straight up with the client) … it’s just i am being roped into a project management role and have numerous wasted visits, the project was supposed to complete in april, and i’m just doing a little more ‘behind the scenes’ (requested by the client) work than quoted for.

    thanks again,
    Jonathan 😉

    Premier Icon surfer
    Free Member

    If he is a client worthy of your loyalty he should come to an agreement on what you have done and work with you to agree a way forward.

    As you say it is very much a relationship. I have suppliers who will bend over backwards to provide support at weekends/evenings etc in the event of an emergency and it is not possible at the time to agree terms etc.

    They provide me with a reasonable bill and I agree to pay it. Its about trust.

    Premier Icon mt
    Free Member

    jontawn – You had some very good advice above but just a bit more. The document every little thing is extreemly important given the postion you feel you are in. Confirm all conversations in writing (however small), short emails will do, with read reciept. Quote for all changes and don’t do or order anything until you have written approval, in this way you may start to bring the client back on the road of responsibility for the work. Also confirm that changes will add time to the agreed delievery. A running total each week of the costs and time they are adding given to them should also help with the responsibility thing. Also have you agreed stage payments. Been in similar situations myself and seen it go really pear shaped. Documentation and communication are the key to getting it right at the start and getting payed at the end.

    Premier Icon rogerthecat
    Free Member

    Jonathan, you have mail. Cheers, Paul.

    Premier Icon mogrim
    Full Member

    Project creep’s a nightmare in IT projects, my clients are always asking me to add another column to a report, change the title of a screen, etc. None of the changes are very important, but they soon add up.

    The only real way to deal with it is to document any and all changes, get it down in writing. And don’t forget to factor in your time, for example sticking an extra radiator in the front room isn’t just a case of telling the plumber to do it, you also need to change the bills, maybe the plans, reschedule the painter, etc. etc.

    This is a pretty good article, if you find you’re doing more and more project management work you might want to check up PMP or similar, they’re often a bit IT biased but the concepts are usually fairly generic.

    Premier Icon dogtiredandwired
    Full Member

    I think I agree with most of the comments on here. As a business developer for a large business, I spend a lot of my time supervising the compilation of quotations from piddling to huge.

    The important thing it to make it plain at the outset what you are prepared to do for the price, and also what you are not prepared to do. We use an extensive “assumptions, exceptions and conditions” section to set out what we need the customer to provide for us to complete our work, and what conditions need to be met before the quote is valid. This can even be as simple as “We assume the weather will be good”. If any of the conditions are not met, then we have a justification for a contract amendment to cover the additional work.

    In your case, I recommend you are simply straight with the customer. Remind them of what was originally asked of you, and inform them of the assumptions you made, stating that you have been subject to creep, and have acted in good faith by operating beyond your original remit. Inform them that you now require similar good faith from them.

    Do you have any get-out clauses in your quotation, or Ts&Cs? Is there any way you can state that as the work is no longer cost effective, or as the customer is in some way taking advantage, that you can walk away? Not suggesting you do, but it is a good lever if you need to negotiate.

    Obviously this is my opinion only, and is no replacement for qualified legal representation! 🙂

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