A client approached us with a project, we gave an estimate based on the fairly loose spec with the expectation that before work began we'd have the chance to discuss a full spec and sign off on the total budget.

However time went on and due to their workload we didn't get all the details necessary for a final price and we just had to start working and keep incrementing as the decisions and assets were sent over in order to meet the deadline.

We are now in the position of being a few days away from the deadline with most of the work done, finally at the point where we know the total scope, but we have no formal agreement beyond our initial estimate, which is about 70% of the total project since some parts increased in complexity.

What's the best way to approach this? Obviously we'd like to get paid for the full amount. Should we update the estimate and send it over? Simply send over our final bill when done based on day rate? Cut our losses and just bill the estimate?

It's a medium size company with 30-50 employees. We're two people.

1 Answer 1


I would try to bring this to the contact person as soon as possible. Here is how I will approach this:

My expectation will be: Be ready to cut the losses and accept the agreed price if they do not approve.

Best Case I will try to accomplish is to talk to the client and say, what you said already, look the work we quoted for on such and such date, had not this/this and this part included in the estimate and now as we have worked to meet deadlines without considering the price, you and I know these parts of the work were not present in the initial scope and I did not want to slow the progress so I did not interrupted the work during the working phase. Can you please reconsider the bill and let me add xyz hours to the bill which is my base hourly rate, and it correspond to the hours worked for this additional work....If you cannot get this approved now from your side, I totally understand... etc...

One thing I will never do is that send the final bill with over bill or updated estimate without discussing with the client as this may set them on defensive mode.. bette to discuss before updating bill and I am sure they will understand. My clients always have compensated in situations like these, I just needed to discuss before sending bill and sometimes they agreed to update the amount, other times they said no , send the agreed bill, but let me get bonus approved for your team for the job well done.. and yes Bonus have been more than the extra effort's bill I was asking.

Good luck!

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