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Topic # 150215 15-Jul-2014 13:38
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Hi

On Sunday evening a received a urgent request from a client on advice regarding a website of theirs that was running slow and causing the server to crash.
I provided a lot of advice about the best course of action and ran numerous diagnostics tests on the site.

I invoiced the client for 2 hours of consultation time as it took me a large part of Sunday evening and Monday morning to help them solve their problem.
The client is surprised I have charged for my time and is requesting I don't charge for it as I didn't advise the clock was running when responding to their emails.

Is it fair to charge for this or should I just let it go?


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  Reply # 1089260 15-Jul-2014 13:41
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What service level agreement do you have with your client 8x5 working hours or 24/7? I think its totally fair to charge, especially if they wanted help on a Sunday.



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  Reply # 1089263 15-Jul-2014 13:43
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Stress: What service level agreement do you have with your client 8x5 working hours or 24/7? I think its totally fair to charge, especially if they wanted help on a Sunday.


I don't have any ongoing relationship with them, I built a website for them a few months ago which they are happy with and this request was completely unrelated. 

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  Reply # 1089266 15-Jul-2014 13:46
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Depends if you want more business from them I suppose.

I think it is fair enough to charge. Ask if they expected you to work for free on something that was unrelated to the design of their webpage (assuming it was - they can't claim it as  some form of warranty can they?).

Tell them that 2 hours is quite reasonable as usually on a Sunday you'd be charging at double time.

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  Reply # 1089276 15-Jul-2014 14:09
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Tell them it was Sunday, you have no retainer with them and don't provide free services. If they refuse to pay let it go, because it's not worth working with this type and have bigger problems later.

Reference for future: http://clientsfromhell.net  




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  Reply # 1089277 15-Jul-2014 14:10
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Depends on your contract. If there isn't any contract then you are entitled to charge for time but they have to be told at some stage that extra work is charged for. They may not have been aware how much work would be required at your end, as a slow loading website may just mean a server problem with the host, which may not require any work from your end. Are you hosting the website yourself for them and they are paying a monthly fee, and does this include support as part of the price?  What sort of warranty on the website did you give,? Also where did the fault lie that caused the problem? I presume as you took the call you are providing 7 day support and you do have some form of SLA for them to have your number to call. Would you have charged if it was during the business day, as you have said that it was an urgent request. But you haven't said you have charged a higher afterhours rate. Normally companies will charge a higher rate in afterhours situations.

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  Reply # 1089285 15-Jul-2014 14:12
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Sounds reasonable you should charge.
But does sound like you need to clarify the arrangement. They may have some expectations that having built their website you have some responsibility for its performance.

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  Reply # 1089286 15-Jul-2014 14:13
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I understand the website development and this request are unrelated - although the OP didn't make it clear it's not the same website.





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  Reply # 1089287 15-Jul-2014 14:15
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oxnsox: Sounds reasonable you should charge.
But does sound like you need to clarify the arrangement. They may have some expectations that having built their website you have some responsibility for its performance.

 

I think the OP needs to provide more info on their arrangement, including who is hosting it, and where the problem actually was. eg Was it a web design problem etc. If it was only built a few months ago many companies may provide a warranty that covers any issues for a period of time.



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  Reply # 1089288 15-Jul-2014 14:15
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freitasm: I understand the website development and this request are unrelated - although the OP didn't make it clear it's not the same website.



Yes I just came to clarify this. This request was completely unrelated to the website I have built them a few months ago which is running without a problem.


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  Reply # 1089290 15-Jul-2014 14:20
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Tell them your code is your intellectual property and if they don't pay you'll take their site down [/joke]

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  Reply # 1089291 15-Jul-2014 14:23
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I think you have every right to charge and it sounds like they are under valuing your services. Call your lawyers on a Sunday and see what happens....

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  Reply # 1089292 15-Jul-2014 14:24
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jbard:
freitasm: I understand the website development and this request are unrelated - although the OP didn't make it clear it's not the same website.



Yes I just came to clarify this. This request was completely unrelated to the website I have built them a few months ago which is running without a problem.



So it was for a totally different website? If so why didn't they contact the person who built it for them, or the company hosting it? I think you maybe hard pressed to get them to pay as you would have to prove that you entered into a contract with them, and the extent of work you would be doing. Do you have everything in writing and that it was an urgent request and they wanted you to provide a solution? 

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  Reply # 1089302 15-Jul-2014 14:44
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mattwnz:
jbard:
freitasm: I understand the website development and this request are unrelated - although the OP didn't make it clear it's not the same website.



Yes I just came to clarify this. This request was completely unrelated to the website I have built them a few months ago which is running without a problem.



So it was for a totally different website? If so why didn't they contact the person who built it for them, or the company hosting it? I think you maybe hard pressed to get them to pay as you would have to prove that you entered into a contract with them, and the extent of work you would be doing. Do you have everything in writing and that it was an urgent request and they wanted you to provide a solution? 
Rubbish they asked a professional for help and the professional is entitled to charge a reasonable rate (as no rate was agreed the law implies a reasonable rate, it's technically called quantum meruit).

No difference to calling a plumber out on Sunday night 'cos your toilet is blocked, or calling your lawyer and saying "my son has been banged up can you sort it out".

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  Reply # 1089318 15-Jul-2014 14:55
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nickrout:
mattwnz:
jbard:
freitasm: I understand the website development and this request are unrelated - although the OP didn't make it clear it's not the same website.



Yes I just came to clarify this. This request was completely unrelated to the website I have built them a few months ago which is running without a problem.



So it was for a totally different website? If so why didn't they contact the person who built it for them, or the company hosting it? I think you maybe hard pressed to get them to pay as you would have to prove that you entered into a contract with them, and the extent of work you would be doing. Do you have everything in writing and that it was an urgent request and they wanted you to provide a solution? 
Rubbish they asked a professional for help and the professional is entitled to charge a reasonable rate (as no rate was agreed the law implies a reasonable rate, it's technically called quantum meruit).

No difference to calling a plumber out on Sunday night 'cos your toilet is blocked, or calling your lawyer and saying "my son has been banged up can you sort it out".


You are assuming everyone is reasonable and thinks the same though. We don't know what the op was actually asked to do, because it doesn't sound like the client considered it a job request. It may have been more general and these days people seem to expect businesses to run 7 days a week. Most hosts seem to be 7 day operations these days and they don't charge. But normally in those situations the charges will be disclosed and that it would be billable at the time of the request. The fact the the client is disputing it does show some communication breakdown. With a plumber visiting your house for an urgent repair it is obvious that that would be charged for, as it involves them visiting which costs them. But they will usually say when you call them that there will be an after hours call out fee. There are two sides to every story.



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  Reply # 1089319 15-Jul-2014 14:55
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nickrout:
mattwnz:
jbard:
freitasm: I understand the website development and this request are unrelated - although the OP didn't make it clear it's not the same website.



Yes I just came to clarify this. This request was completely unrelated to the website I have built them a few months ago which is running without a problem.



So it was for a totally different website? If so why didn't they contact the person who built it for them, or the company hosting it? I think you maybe hard pressed to get them to pay as you would have to prove that you entered into a contract with them, and the extent of work you would be doing. Do you have everything in writing and that it was an urgent request and they wanted you to provide a solution? 
Rubbish they asked a professional for help and the professional is entitled to charge a reasonable rate (as no rate was agreed the law implies a reasonable rate, it's technically called quantum meruit).

No difference to calling a plumber out on Sunday night 'cos your toilet is blocked, or calling your lawyer and saying "my son has been banged up can you sort it out".


Yes this was my thoughts exactly.


@mattwnz: Yeah it was for a totally different website. I have no idea why thy didn't contact the original developer, I understand the site is a few years old so maybe they aren't around anymore. They didn't contact the hosting provider as they only provide office hours support and as i mentioned they wanted this resolved on Sunday night. I have emails from them on Sunday requesting urgent response, I didn't setup any kind of contract because it was such an urgent issue and I assumed (wrongly) anyone would realise support on a Sunday evening wouldn't be free.

The invoice was just for 2 hours of normal time, I didn't charge extra for after hours work or anything like that, so I feel I have been more than fair in charging them. 

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