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I have a client who agreed on a fixed quote with me. Unfortunately, it didn't work well because:

  • He wanted me to wait a year for him
  • He added new items to the project
  • He was planning the 2017, 2018 ... version without any extra funding

I politely asked him to provide me new money. This time, my new quote is significantly more than what I quoted before. Obviously, my client is VERY angry, and would like me to shutup and just work.

Q: How should I write a professional response? While I'd like for more money, I don't want him to lose face. How does a professional freelancer write? That's a possibility that I'll need to "sack" my client, but I'd like to minimize the possibility.

This is my draft response:

Back in 2015, you wanted to sell the full version on the desktop and only distributed the light version on iOS. It was only because the cost of creating a new application on desktop that made you switched both versions to iOS. Unfortunately, it's simply not fair for me to do extra works when we agreed I was only responsible for the light version. While I understand your focus has shifted to the mobile, my payment has not been updated. The requirements have changed, but my compensation haven't. My quote was a fixed price and based on the information I had at the time. I hope you understand that I can't work on the project forever (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 ...) with a very limited fixed quote back when we were still thinking to sell the games on the desktop.

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First, If you are a native English speaker, check your grammar. It's pretty bad. If you are not a native English speaker, but deal with native English clients regularly, you may want to have a friend or someone proofread some emails/communications.

As you have it, but proofread a bit:

Back in 2015, you wanted to sell the full version for desktop and only distribute a 'light' version for iOS. It was the cost of creating a new application for desktop which seemed to make you switch both versions to iOS. Unfortunately, it's simply not fair for me to complete the extra work of a desktop version, when we agreed I was to be responsible for only the 'light' or iOS version. While I understand your focus has shifted to a mobile application, my fees have not been updated. The project requirements have changed, but my compensation has not. My quote was a fixed price and based upon the information I was presented at the time. I hope you understand that I can't work on a project forever with a limited fixed quote based upon original scope requirements.

As I'd write it....

In 2015, I was approached to create a 'light' version of the application which was to be distributed for iOS. It was understood that a desktop version was not part of the project scope. It seems you are now asking for both an iOS version and a desktop version. Creating multiple versions of the application entails additional work and therefore additional compensation. The project requirements have changed. My previous quote was a fixed fee based upon the information I was presented at that time. As requirements change, it should not be a surprise that there will be additional fees to support additional requirements.

For the record, any quote or estimate I provide has a limited time frame stated in/on it. Such as "Valid for 30 days". Any business returning to you 2-3 years later and expecting you to honor an estimate is kidding themselves and trying to take advantage of you. I have never heard of any estimate or quote being honored by any business past 90 days, much less a year or more. If your estimates/quotes do not currently have a deadline date to them, add one immediately. Otherwise, you may continually run into this problem.

Some unspoken tips for "more professional" communication...

  • Avoid communications where you explain what they are thinking or feeling, i.e. "that made you switched both" or "back when we were still thinking" -- speculating on what people think or feel tends to lead to arguments. Stick to just facts, nothing more.

  • Avoid stating anything about how you feel.... i.e. "simply not fair for me" or "I hope you understand" -- Comments which allude to your emotions generally do one of two things - either they show the client you are uncertain and they may be able to bully you into what they want. Or, they convey a sense of uncertainty and the client may lose faith in your abilities. Your emotions, especially unsavory emotions, should never be conveyed to a client, especially in written communication. Over the phone, it's difficult to not convey emotions. But in general the less emotional you appear to be, the better your client relations will become.

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