They were two emails from the same multimillionaire client. In the first email he complained about my fees. The fees were for VAT compliance inquiry work and for an accountant’s reference. This really annoyed me. Why?
1) He said to me earlier that I should charge him for a reference. I did – £225+VAT. He complained since in the end my reference was not needed. He only said this after I had drafted the reference and a couple of weeks later emailed him my invoice.
2) He also said my fees for VAT compliance work were high (£1,500 + VAT).
The client’s second email was asking me to do some work on Capital Gains Tax! My immediate response to this email was – let’s agree my fees first before we proceed further. I do not want the same from him again.
Putting my anger and disappointment on one side (with some difficulty!), I am forcing myself and asking where have I gone wrong with this and how should I handle this?
What could I have done better? I should have been clear about my fees from the very start both for VAT compliance work and the reference. I should have said that VAT compliance work is £x per hour and the accountants reference is £x.
Why was I not clear? I did not think this would be an issue for him. Okay from now regardless of client type I will be damn clear about my fees from the very start!
So how should I deal with the client in question? I just want to get rid of him! That is not rational. It is simply anger talk.
I have asked him to call me. I will be calm (it will be so hard!) and listen to him. I will try to explain the basis of our fees . If he is still disgruntled, I will just say to him, pay what you think is fair.
I need to think long-term and let £1,725+VAT (worst case) go if need be. Without this blog, I would have gone nuts with the client tomorrow. I am now calm and will accept this potential loss for the long-term benefit.