How to bill a client when budget was never discussed

I have a new client who was 4 days late getting me the information they wanted designed and dropped it in my lap the day before they needed it complete. It was chaotic and a mess to coordinate but I got it done and sent them the complete files. We never discussed a budget beforehand so I’m not sure how to proceed billing them. They are a non profit, so the pockets aren’t deep, but they did pay me well for another recent job where they told me upfront how much they had to spend. How should I proceed?


Bill them your regular rate and add an amount for a rush-job and mark it clearly in your invoice. Be open to explain or even negotiate, as other users have already suggested. In your question there is a lack of communication, so you can make a first move towards more and detailed communication with a well written and fully detailed invoice. Once they realize that you note your hours and costs, they will less likely “drop” work on you like that. And do not forget that you accepted the job and also did not mention money, so tread gently.

I know such situations as a customer and as a provider:

I am working for a non-profit organisation but that does not mean that we do sloppy planning and last-minute hectic jobs. When we are late with a project, we cannot expect an external specialist to “catch up” for us. They need to learn to respect their partners even more than fully-paying customers.

What I like doing, when people are bringing work to us (not graphical, but typesetting for example) is telling them our normal rates per page.

And when they underestimate the amount of work and what time it takes to do a good quality job and they want it “tomorrow”, then I tell them it normally takes several working days… “But you can have it by tomorrow, if you pay a bonus for a rush-job. Our team will gladly work all night for you, if you pay zzz (and then I name a very high rate, like four-fold price).”

We are non-profit, so we do not want to charge a lot. But we want to train our partners to never come last-minute and to respect our office-work flow. Same as we respect those people who do printing for us or other work by order, not excluding craftsmen.

Source : Link , Question Author : LeannH , Answer Author : Martin Zaske

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