I made the mistake of verbal scope of work on a recent job - mainly because I had worked with the customer many times before, but this time there were partners involved.
A bunch of extra work comes along outside the scope of the verbal agreement, so now customer/partners are disputing the invoice I gave them for these extras, claiming it was work that was agreed upon in my initial verbal quote.
This is Canada, so laws will be different but any words of wisdom on how to handle this situation?
I guess you might be eating this and calling it a learning experience. It does point out the need for well defined scope of work in any agreement, written and signed.
BTW these days recording these verbal agreements is fairly trivial I imagine ("pen" recorders, smart phones etc). Just be sure you disclose it is being recorded before you do it, that is law in a lot of places. It can be as simple as just saying "OK I am recording this so I don't forget to do anything we agree on" and then identify the parties, date, lay out the scope of work, the terms and have them agree.
My employer works on verbal contracts quite often, but he's really good at collecting money for extras and gets paid every time. I'm really bad at collecting money for extras, so I itemize the work in advance.
Your incentive to get good at collecting money is to look at your kids and tell yourself that someone is going to go without, and it won't be your family. Then, go see your customer, look him straight in the eye, and tell him you want your money. If you don't get paid, then go home and explain to your children why their lives aren't better.
Jay, Start by have a friendly discussion with ur original customer. Find out who is writing the check. He may not even know u r having trouble. Partners r many times married by money only not business practices. I have similar situations and just a well placed did you recieve my invoice for the xxx work? If yes then say is there a problem, because its not like u to be late. You get were I'm going. If no then say, Oh really well me get u a copy. I would be prepared to have one handy.
thanks for the input guys. When I priced the job I was shown an empty warehouse. Three weeks later when they told me to proceed I show up and there is new equipment on site. I advised them right then that the scope had changed.Also equipment specs were not forthcoming until half way through the job. At least so far I did get the money for my original quote. Original customer and partner both advised of the change in scope and I am working on the tactful approach for the time being.
I can just imagine what the partners were thinking, can you believe we have sone guy showing up to work without a contract, let's get all that work we can't afford before he wakes up. Just try to present your position as entering a verbal contract under good faith, and hope they are a decent group