Your screw up isn’t your client’s fault

It’s Thanksgiving Day in Canada and I screwed up.

Last week sometime I emailed a client about a project that had some extra technical issues. They had a bunch of plugins that were simply broken.

There were errors that prevented me from working.

They had a whole day of downtime with their host last week, which cost me a whole day of work.

So I said we’d need an extra week to take care of the project and that’s going to cost extra.

My client emailed

When my client emailed the response they indicated that they expected an invoice for another $1500 and that was it. Not a full week invoice.

It’s a long weekend.

I usually make a 1/2 week 3 days if it needs to be.

So I didn’t really question the client on the $1500.

Then I sent an invoice last week.

Oh that invoice

Now it’s Monday and I’m spending a few hours catching things up before I make a Cinderella cake for my girl that turns 4 tomorrow.

It turns out I didn’t really check my records properly and that $1500 my client said they expected wasn’t part of the original contract.

We didn’t really talk about the extra it would take either.

That means I basically sent them an extra $1500 invoice for something that I shouldn’t have, yet because I didn’t have them on board and agreeing with the costs.

They called me on it.

What to do?

When this comes up you have a few ways to go:

You could get righteous and keep the money because it’s taking longer. But then the client is going to probably feel like you stole from them.

You could get humble and explain about why you feel you still should get that money paid. But you never really agreed on it in the first place, so it’s likely the client is still going to feel like you stole from them.

You could say they’re right, and refund the money and then have a talk about it so you can agree on how to handle the extra time and cost.

High road

If you’ve been reading my site for a while, you know I picked the high road. I instantly refunded the money so that we can have the discussion without them feeling like I have something they own in my possession without the right to that item.

I admit that I didn’t want to, but as soon as I did a weight lifted off my shoulders and that ‘problem’ I read about yesterday isn’t really a problem today.

You can’t refund

I know that some of you out there simply couldn’t refund the money. You’d truly be in a position where you needed every penny and that money would already feel like it’s yours.

Your client doesn’t care if you’re in that position. You not budgeting and saving and overspending isn’t really their problem.

So stop whining and choose the high road.

You’re going to get lots more respect from your client and you’re going to build your character.

photo credit: kwl cc

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