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I work as a contractor. The client provided me with specialized equipment. There was a training video conference call. In it, there were 2 instructors and about 3 or 4 other students. During the training my equipment did not work properly. The instructors had to get someone else to join the call to fix my issue after everyone else had left. As a result the call took an hour longer than scheduled.

Should I invoice for the extra time?

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    Why the downvote?
    – morsor
    Nov 11, 2021 at 11:07
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    What is (roughly) the scope of the assignment? It's different if you've got an estimated 20 hours of work vs. 6 months of work from them.
    – Jeroen
    Nov 11, 2021 at 15:54
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    @morsor only reason I can think for the down votes is the answer to this should be in the contract. The contract should state what is considered billable. If it says time spent in training is billable then all time is billable vs if it has allotted 1 hour for training and it took two hours the second hour is it not billable.
    – Anketam
    Nov 11, 2021 at 19:49
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    I'm voting to close this question because it probably depends how your billing agreement is set up. If it's strictly per hour, and you worked an extra hour, then you bill an extra hour. If training is separate, then this may or may not be considered as part of that, depending on the exact terms, or this may fall under some other part of the agreement (if the contract leaves this ambiguous, then that would likely be something for lawyers to argue about). Nov 11, 2021 at 20:42
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    @FrankHopkins But checking your contract is the first thing you should do if you have any work-related question that could in any way be relevant to it (especially when that question is explicitly about the terms of your contract). Nov 11, 2021 at 22:14

5 Answers 5

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Should I invoice for the extra time?

If you are an independent contractor, you should invoice for the entire time you spent.

If you work for a contracting agency, you should ask your boss. The agency owns the client relationship, and should make this decision with their knowledge of the client's overall situation in mind.

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    This worked perfectly, thanks.
    – JazzgeMica
    Nov 30, 2021 at 4:31
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Yes as you worked an extra hour. That hour was not due to your fault.

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    Does the fault really matter? As long as the OP was putting forth a best effort, I'm not sure it makes a difference if the issue was due to a mistake on their part or if it was an issue they could not have solved themselves. Either way, they worked the extra hour. Nov 11, 2021 at 21:26
  • @NuclearHoagie - It was an after though. I though it might sweeten the pill for the poster to charge
    – Ed Heal
    Nov 11, 2021 at 21:29
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    @NuclearHoagie If they are a contractor, the fault does matter. If they are an employee, no. Nov 12, 2021 at 2:06
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    @NuclearHoagie He's talking about invoicing the CUSTOMER. If I was a customer and my mechanic decides to charge for time waiting for component to arrive I would NOT WANT TO PAY. I know the mechanic probably had to stay at the workshop longer while waiting for the part but he is NOT working on my car at that time. The OP is a contractor, a business providing service to a customer.
    – slebetman
    Nov 12, 2021 at 10:11
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    @slebetman The difference here is that the client/customer supplied the faulty equipment. If you send your car to the mechanic after welding the hood shut, you can bet they'll charge you for the time it took them to get it open.
    – Andrew Ray
    Nov 12, 2021 at 14:13
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How much are you billing?

If it's just a one off, I would not bother. If it's a frequent occurrence then yes.

You do not want to be known as the difficult contractor who nickels and dimes. You may get your extra hour this time, but is it worth the damage to your reputation and harming the chance at renewing your contract?

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    They also do not want to be known as the pushover contractor who undervalues their work.
    – Theodore
    Nov 11, 2021 at 14:51
  • @Theodore The "difficult" contractor never hears from them again; the "pushover" gets the work and can deal with being pushed-over as it comes up. So it depends on whether they're currently turning away clients, or trying to get more. Nov 11, 2021 at 21:03
  • @OwenReynolds That's correct, but if you're undervaluing your work, you go into bankruptcy faster the busier you are.
    – Theodore
    Nov 11, 2021 at 21:23
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    You're not being a "difficult contractor" by accurately charging for hours you actually worked and it wouldn't damage your reputation with decent companies (although not all companies are decent). In fact, in some contexts I may actually respect someone more if they accurately bill me compared to having them omit some charges. Nov 11, 2021 at 22:20
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    If you choose to let it go, you could consider explicitly waiving it instead of not billing at all. This conveys a sense of "I'm doing you a favor", where they might not be thinking about it that way. Even if they disagree about whether it should be considered a favor, it may be worthwhile for them to see that you are looking at it that way, lest they assume that you're just ok with giving away the extra time. Nov 11, 2021 at 23:21
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You said that "during the training, my equipment did not work properly."

The answer to your question properly depends on who provided "your" equipment. (Your question statement was ambiguous; I'm surprised no-one else mentioned that.) If they provided it, you're justified in charging for the extra time its failure necessitated, though of course the aforementioned concerns and caveats apply, and you may think better of it. If you provided the failed equipment, and there's no clause in your contract covering that eventuality, most reasonable people would begrudge your fee for the extra hour.

Either way, if you don't charge, John Bollinger's suggestion is a good one, mentioning the time, and that you're not charging for it, can gain you goodwill.

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    The second sentence of the question is "The client provided me with specialized equipment.", so I don't think there's any ambiguity over who provided it. Nov 12, 2021 at 9:30
  • The "my" denotes physical possession, not ownership. This is made evident by "The client provided me with specialized equipment."
    – MonkeyZeus
    Nov 12, 2021 at 18:11
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Was it your fault?

No

Bill them for the extra hour.

Yes

Don't bill for the extra hour.

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    Really is this simple.
    – qiu
    Nov 12, 2021 at 18:06

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