A couple of weeks ago I was visiting with a friend and her 3rd grader had his jog-a-thon sponsor form on the kitchen table. I asked him what it was, hoping he’d get the hint and ask me to donate. After some coaching from mom he asked if I’d like to donate. I said OF COURSE!
He explained to me that if I donated $9 per lap and he ran 9 laps that’d be $81! (Mostly he was just showing off his mad multiplication skills.) So, I asked how many laps he thought he would run. And he had no idea, and didn’t seem to remember how many he’d ran in the past. So, I told him to put me in for $5 a lap. His math estimates seemed safe enough, I figured he’d be somewhere between 5-10 laps, it’d be fine.
Cue to Friday morning and a text from my friend. “Dude. We may want to change your jog-a-thon donation to a flat rate. The poor kids are trying to keep warm in the rain and are running their asses off.” I told her I was sure it’d be fine, how many laps had he run? How much time was left ?(4 laps in 7 minutes, 23 minutes to go…) Well, it’ll be fine.
15 laps later I learned a flat rate might be a safer way to go in the future.
What does this have to do with your business?
How often has someone tried to renegotiate the rate when it gets too high? If you agreed to it up front, you need to pay your bill. And yes, get an estimate. I could have pushed more on his past lap average, or just done a flat rate. But changing my donation in the 11th hour is a weaselly move. When I’ve seen business owners try to change things half way through a project, it’s always a red flag.
Being straight forward and honest is always good if you realize the scope is more than you quoted for. This is why a contract is a great idea – here’s the rate, here’s the estimate, here’s what’s included. If the estimate changes, or you want to add something else in, that’ll be more or changes the terms of the contract. Every time I skip a contract with a client (“it’ll be fine, it’s a small project,” “she’s friend!”) it bites me in the ass.
Learn something from this awesome (and financially well supported in his jog-a-thon) 3rd grader. Get it up front, in writing and then run your ass off to make the most of it!
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