By Ed Mendlowitz
QUESTION: I know that one of my clients needs some extra work done, but they don’t want to pay for it. It is important that this work gets done.
Do you think I should do it anyway? What is my responsibility?
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ANSWER: I don’t think you have a responsibility to do the work if the client doesn’t want to pay for it, no matter how necessary.
On some level, it is the client’s money and we cannot spend it for them. Lots of time we feel a greater responsibility for the successful completion or followthrough of a project than the client and we tend to overstep the boundary of fee limitations, preferring to let the success of the job speak for itself, and negotiate after we did the work.
That is just not good business. If we feel strongly that we are right, we should be able to get the point across to the client – and if we cannot get the point across, then maybe we are not so right.
Also, if the client doesn’t give the okay, and you feel the lack of getting this work done could cause the client a serious problem, then you need to consider whether you should continue working with that client. We are professionals and enjoy high levels of trust from our clients. Continuing a relationship where we know there will be a serious problem at a later date betrays that trust, and I believe that we owe it to the client and ourselves to rethink the engagement.
I can tell you that when a serious problem develops, one of the things the client will say to you is, “I trusted you to protect me. How could you let this happen?” How will you respond?