What do you do when you goof up in pricing a project?
And I mean REALLY goof up!
Hopefully, this doesn’t happen often. But it can happen. And it happened to a coaching client of mine recently.
A long-time client asked her for a quote to create some recurring assets. My coaching client responded before she had a full understanding of the scope of work.
Once she created a few of these recurring assets, she realized her error. The work was way more involved than she anticipated! And now she had a problem.
While she loved working with the client, she realized she was severely undercharging for the work.
Did she just have to accept the situation as it stood? Or could she ask for more money?
And if she decides to ask for more, what should she ask for? And how should she do it?
When You Make a Mistake, It’s Best to Own It
I suggested that my coaching client reach out to her client—over the phone, not email—and be frank about the fact that she made a mistake.
She could explain that when she quoted the fee, she assumed the project would be in line with previous projects she’d done for the client in the past.
Then, she could throw out the price she thinks would be more doable.
Do it confidently (clients can smell fear, LOL!) and see how the client reacts.
If the client can’t make it work for that price, she should ask the client what she could pay.
Most people are reasonable. They’ll understand if you’re honest about the whole thing AND if they’re happy with your previous work.
And besides, if you decide to just ignore the situation and suck it up, that’s not a sustainable solution either.
Over time, you’ll just grow more and more resentful, and you could end up poisoning the entire relationship.
Is Every Mistake a Forever Mistake?
Here’s another way of thinking about it.
Imagine you went to your favorite restaurant and ordered an amazing dish. I mean, like a world class dish!
You get the bill, and they charged you $15 for the entrée.
You’re so excited, you go back the next weekend and order it again, letting the server know that $15 is a screaming deal for that kind of dish.
But the server explains that they made a mistake last week. The dish is actually $30. They just rang it up wrong.
They apologize like crazy, explain what happened and point out that every other entrée on the menu is at least $25. Some are $40-plus.
I think any reasonable person in that situation would understand. Instead of stomping out of the restaurant, you would probably order the dish again anyway, happy that you got to try it for just $15 last week.
Everyone can make mistakes when quoting. But that doesn’t mean you have to live with them forever.
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