It was my first job with a new client. The job was short (2 days only) but because the client was very slow in responding to E-Mails, it took nearly a month to finish it. The client took time ranging from few days to even a week in replying to E-Mails. That wasted mine lot of time as I was not able to work continuously and I have to setup work environment every time.

Since the contract doesn't talk about response hours limit and was fixed price, can I still ask the client for extra payment for my time wasted due to very slow response to E-Mails? Will be considered ethical or unethical? If yes how much should I increase and what reason should I give the client for that?

3 Answers 3


I think you should not charge any extra, because there was no mention of max response time in the initial terms of agreement or SLA (Service Level Agreement).

You can take it as a learning and specify some time frame in which the client is expected to answer in the agreement itself. But if the extra time/cost is not significant, I recommend not charging the client extra, as it could endanger your healthy relationship with him/her.

  • max. responding time in the agreement..does anyone really do this?
    – user702
    May 5, 2014 at 19:50

If you charge per hour, then charge all time you spent, even checking if he replied.

Unfortunately, there is no fee for slow clients. All you can do it either ditch him and stop working with him or charge him more the next job.

But I suggest you seriously talk to him and explain to him why his slow reply made your work conditions bad. He may be OK client, but did not think that quick reply is so important to you.


It is not unethical to want to charge him more for his ineptitude. The worst that will happen is that you'll lose a client that you likely need to cut anyways.

  • Someone downvoted without providing anything constructive regarding my comment. Please point out if anything about this was untrue.
    – emaltman
    May 6, 2014 at 16:12
  • 1
    I didn't down vote, but I'm curious... who says he's inept? Perhaps he's merely busy and okay with a project taking longer? It's very short-sighted to assume long response times mean "inept". Most well-to-do clients I have are naturally slower then the smaller clients in responding. You could be cutting off your nose despite your face.
    – Scott
    May 6, 2014 at 18:42
  • I used inept and unprofessional interchangeably.
    – emaltman
    May 6, 2014 at 18:43
  • They aren't interchangeable.
    – Scott
    May 6, 2014 at 18:44
  • When my largest clients are without fail the fastest, they are.
    – emaltman
    May 6, 2014 at 18:45

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