So I have a client that I built a site for a few months ago, it's an online leather goods store and they're launching ten new products over the next ten days for christmas that they want me to add to the site - anyone have ideas for what would be the best way to go about charging for this?

They are really difficult clients that I very nearly fired due to their constant nagging for out of scope work at inappropriate times (weekends etc, that they never paid extra for) and now they have given me one days notice for these additions and asked for them as a 'favour'...

Is it wrong of me to simply give them an hourly rate and do the work under that regard?

  • I don't really understand what you are asking. Yes you should charge hourly. Whether you calculate that, then present an estimated total cost to the client or merely tell the client it will cost $X per hour and you estimate X hours needed, is your call. For a difficult client I'd merely make certain they understand costs are estimates not hard quotes.
    – Scott
    Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 19:58

7 Answers 7


A reasonable course of action would be to quote the estimated number of hours required to complete the task, your hourly rate and your availability.

Consider quoting a premium rate for work outside of your normal working hours and you will soon find out how much of an emergency this is for your client.

The client may accept or decline your proposal or come back to you with a counter proposal.

You can then work out if what they are prepared to pay is worth the grief or not.


Firstly, this is a new work order, so yes you should definitely charge them for it .. and unless they can be tied down to very specific requirements I would quote hourly rates with an estimate.

Next, the description of the change "add ten new items to the inventory" suggests that the underlying design of the site is somewhat fixed. Surely, the client has the ability to change their inventory without coming to you each time? If not, you may want to consider proposing (and quoting for) the development of a more flexible/customizable site implementation.

If, on the other hand, what they are wanting is some new means to highlight "Special Offers" or "New Products" etc, then we come back to it being a completely new feature of the site which needs to be spec'd out properly and implemented.

And I suspect the "emergency" nature of the request is that it's the holiday shopping season and they want to get lots of exposure for new products ... in which case, you have some leverage for charging a premium as they have an immovable deadline.


The best way to handle this situation is to go into an hourly contract. Then you can anytime provide them any extra support and bill them the hours you spend extra. You just need to come up with a reasonable hourly rate which suits both you and your client.


Hourly rate or fixed-price offer or any other provisions are possible. What matters is to obtain a written agreement on the fee before you perform any work.

That customer probably doesn't deserve a favor anymore. Feel free to explain them.


The best way to handle this situation is to go into an hourly contract. Then you can anytime provide them any extra support them the hours you spend extra.

  • Your answer may benefit from further details and reasoning. Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 11:19

Their time is valuable.

So is yours.

I am also assuming they are not a charity.

Get a purchase order that makes clear that they will pay you within 30 days (or whatever) and ensure the PO has a work schedule on the agreed work. Over estimate the time required by about 40%. Offer a 20% discount if they pay in full within 60days.

I work on the principle that if working with someone brings added value (fun team, or possibility to pick up new skills) I get cheaper. If someone is going to be a pain in the ass, they'll pay for my discomfort. I very rarely turn down work unless there is risk to my person, or if I get two contracts that run in parallel and can only serve one. But don't be shy in charging them for their co-operation.

Capitalism rules when you are a contractor - Money talks - there is nothing bad about it. The client can always go elsewhere.

Just try meet in the middle - Whatever uncomfortable past you two have had obviously has not put them off reaching out to you again. It's either that or nobody else will put up with them, which can work to your advantage if you want the money.

Best of luck!


Yes, charge hourly and track carefully. Also, negotiate an invoice/payment schedule at the same time and hold them to it.

Just my perspective, but this "as a favor" stuff raises a big red flag, as does this "one day's notice". Therefore, the smart thing to do would be to keep the invoice and payment turnaround period very short. As in invoice right away after this particular piece is done and payment is due immediately. However, this seems like a project with a risk of default to me, so even if you have everything in writing (statement of work, rate, invoice and payment schedule, agreed and signed), I would expect the hassle to outweigh the value.

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