As I do with all of my clients, I was upfront about my rates and that tasks and time outside of my initial estimate are charged at that same rate.
Client: Can you do this task for me?
Me: Sure, that’ll take about five hours.
Client: Great, go at it then.
Me: Here you are. It only took me three hours.
Client: That’s great, I have this other requirement, can you change that?
Me: Sure, that’ll take about two hours.
Client: Great, that works.
Me: Here you are, it only took me an hour and a half.
Client: Ah, we also need this other change…
Me: No problem, that should take another two hours.
Me: Here you are, took me two hours and thirty minutes.
Client: Great, that’s exactly what I need.
I send the client my invoice.
Client: Uh, I’m surprised by this invoice. It’s for seven hours. This is not what we agreed upon in the initial estimate.
Me: You asked for those additional changes…
Client: Yeah, but I can’t pay you that much. Can we maybe talk about your rates?
Me: Sorry, no, I stated my rates upfront and I don’t give discounts.
Client: You’re making this difficult for me. I’ll tell you what, I pay you 60%* of what you want to bill me and we call it quits, deal?
Me: No deal. You pay me for the time I worked at the rate I quoted. End of story.
Client: We’re at an impasse here…
Me: I’m sorry to have to decline further negotiations and work for you, other obligations from paying clients have popped up. Please pay the invoice at your convenience. Once it’s paid in full, I’ll send you the work I did for you.
Client: But I need this work, can’t you send it to me now?
Client: You have high rates, you know.
Client: I won’t pay you what you asked, this is outrageous.
Client: Please send me the work.
*Editor’s Note: 60% of that invoice is even less than what was originally quoted.