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My client needed someone to gather confirmed residential addresses and put them into an Excel file, and then to upload that into BingPlaces to help out his business. We spent two days talking, with me letting him know how I can best help him and get the information he needed in a fast and efficient manner. He then told me that he would get someone else to look up addresses, all I'd need to do is to upload them into Excel. I quoted him a price $0.13 per address, since we were talking about thousands of addresses. I made sure each day to let him know I was ready to help him in gathering more addresses quicker, and that I was available to help. He told me for five days straight he was fine, and he was working on it.

Today he went me a list of all the addresses he got. He, in five days, was able to produce a total of 259 addresses. This is coming out to be less than $35.

What do I do? I'm genuinely furious. I feel misled and lied to, and I've wasted all this time for a truly pathetic payout. I've been professional, I've stayed in communication, and I've made sure that I've made it known I am ready to help more than what he wanted me for.

Am I just an idiot for not getting a contract?

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    Why would you quote 13¢ per? Even if it took you 1 minute at a lower hourly, such as $40/hr, it would be 67¢ per. Bad quote on your part.. sounds like you're stuck. You're the one that quoted him roughly $7/hr (assuming 13¢/minute) – Scott Oct 24 '16 at 4:24
  • Because I can use Excel to fill in the cells with data provided, so I was quoting a lower price because of the volume of everything. But you're right, it was faulty on my part to quote so low. Any suggestion for what to do about the workload issue? – Lion Prince Oct 24 '16 at 4:30
  • Well, not really. It's always difficult and treacherous to try and raise a quote. Most likely then best you could do is get him to just agree to an hour of your time... hopefully he goes for that without getting angry and your hourly rate is higher than $35. Ultimately though, you set the pricing. Backing out will just burn the client, which is sometimes okay.. others not. – Scott Oct 24 '16 at 5:36
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There's not much more you can do, than see this as a learning experience.

Always have some sort of contract. It does not need to be an expensive legal document; in many cases a 'mutual project agreement' stating the bare minimum in less than a page will suffice.

In your case, it seems you would have been better off charging for actual time consumed - perhaps with a starting minimum.

Or perhaps you could have step-wise quotes; e.g. expensive for the first 1000, followed by a tapering off.

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