I know this subject has been broached many times in these forums before, but I am looking for some fresh advice.
As someone who regularly contracts with private clients for wine consulting/sommelier services, I have become keenly aware of how important it is to outline specifics of rates/times/expectations before entering into a business relationship with a new client.
Once terms are agreed upon (# of hours, rate per hour, any other anticipated expenses like travel, admin time, etc...), the event is executed, and the invoice is submitted, what do you do if the client then disputes the final total?
I am not interested in arguing about my rate, or the value of my time, especially post-event, when the client was very happy with the services provided. This is someone I would value working with in the future, so I do not want to seem overzealous here, but I also do not want to de-value myself. Precisely because I want to work for this client again, I felt it was important to clearly spell out the breakdown of costs so that any future bookings would not result in a negotiation or low-balling, but I also don't want to jeopardize the relationship.
Any advice is appreciated!
In reply to Jason Sipe:
I think that overall if you you want to keep the relationship intact - you shouldn't involve a lawyer. It really comes down to a couple od things for me: a) do you want to keep working with these people b) how big is your market/do they have a lot of contacts/pull? c) how important is the cash/ sum? If it is a life changing sum, you might bite down like a pit bull If A = a lot. Maybe bite the bullet, say that this is what you agreed, but that you will meet them halfway. In the future, be EXTREMELY specific about EVERYTHING that is included. Anything other then what you agreed, will carry an additional charge - i.e. mention price every time they ask you something outside of what they asked. B - if they may damage your future work opportunities,bite the bullet, have them pay w/e they want and don't work with them in the future. If they don't and it is a one time thing, don't back down. C - if the difference is not that big, bite the bullet and go back to A or B. If it is a big difference (i.e. more than 2-3 days of work) - well, I would bite down.
Ps - just because you didn't sign a contract and have it in email form of w/e you still have a good base.