Have you ever been in the middle of a great project and suddenly realize that it is not at all what it seemed?
I've been on several sides of this situation.
- I've been a service provider who discovers half way in that the scope of the project is much larger than the client described.
- I've been a client who thought I had adequately described a project, only to find out I hadn't.
- I've been in a partnership where my side of the deal seemed to grow heavier as time went by.
Wherever you stand in a project that presents itself far differently than expected, you and hopefully all of the parties involved need to be ready and willing to renegotiate.
What if you don't? Bad blood develops!
All too often I hear people talk about feeling taken advantage of or underpaid for a project – but when pressed they admit that they made no attempt to renegotiate.
First Rule of Renegotiation: It Doesn't Have To Be Someone's Fault
It would be great if we were all really good at accurately describing the scope and expectations to be met for every project that we become involved in. But the truth is this is a skill that develops over time. We should all be prepared to expect the unexpected.
Renegotiation efforts will proceed much smoother if no one is pointing fingers.
Second Rule of Renegotiation: Assume Innocence
In some cases, I've seen a client or service provider take an immediate stance that the other person must have known about this, that or the other thing and just withheld the info in hopes of securing a lower price. This MAY be true in some cases but it's healthier to assume that the exclusion of information was an innocent oversight.
Third Rule of Renegotiation: You Aren't Being Unprofessional
One new service provider told me that she didn't want to go back to renegotiate her price because she believed it would make her look inexperienced and unprofessional.
This is touchy. Lack of experience may have played a part in her low bid for the project and if the project is exactly as described, it could be considered bad form to try to renegotiate for more money. If the situation is small, I might say just go ahead and do the work and consider it a valuable lesson learned. But if the project is large and will span over a long period of time, I think it is fair to approach the client with a request to renegotiate. The worst that can happen is that the client says no to your new price and goes elsewhere.
What other ‘Rules of Renegotiation' would you add to this post? Leave a comment and help me make this a valuable resource for others :)