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I am a freelancer. I offered to a client two new technologies to his projects - He uses the old approaches and until I offered them to him, he didn't know about them.

Now he gets to learn from my code. I would like to know if this situation is fair or if I must up my price with his contract.

The sequence of events:

  1. I signed the contract without specifying that I was going to use the new technologies
  2. I write the app
  3. I want to charge more now that I know the client didn't know about the technologies I included
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    yeah its fair...he paid you to code something for him..once your done coding..its his. May 15, 2014 at 10:03
  • so my only response to this situation is a up my price ! ... I think that It will be fair
    – Phenix_dz
    May 15, 2014 at 10:08
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    The only justification you can have to up your price is if you go out of your way to add additional comments to explain the code or structure it in specific ways for them to understand it. Lets say he didn't mention to you he was going to learn off of it, would you still produce the same code? If not, then sure charge more. May 15, 2014 at 10:23
  • what do you mean produce the same code ? , maybe it will more clear explain me how I evaluate my code , Because it's my second project with same client with same technoligies (Web application)
    – Phenix_dz
    May 15, 2014 at 10:36
  • My last comment to avoid having an all out chat in the comments section. If you go out of your way to make your code more 'educational' for him, then you should charge him more. But if your just coding the same way as you would if he hadn't mentioned that he will be 'learning from your code', then you shouldn't charge more. May 15, 2014 at 10:48

3 Answers 3

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I'm paraphrasing a 15-year client of mine:

I have hired you to write an app without specifying the technology. We agreed on a price. Now you want me to pay more? Go away and send me your final invoice. Never come back here.

If you used something new that would help your client, good for you. You've just opened yourself another opportunity for training or at least for getting some glowing recommendation. Chalk it up as an investment into networking. Short-term greed will not pay off in the long run.

Do you want to be known as "the guy that doubles his rates" or as "the wizard that gets things done"?

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Do you have a contract with your client that specifies how you will be paid? If so, does it explain your deliverable and expected payment? If so, then you need to abide by your agreement, learn form this experience and raise your price as needed in the future. As a freelancer, always keep 'supply and demand' in mind and don't just raise our prices because you feel you are entitled to more money. Raise your prices when:

  • You have more work that your are comfortable doing.
  • People with less skill are asking (and getting) more.
  • It seems to easy to 'close' clients at your current rate.

If you don't have a contract, you (and you client) can do what ever you like. If you have already delivered you product, there is not much you can go to require additional payment. You can ask for it, but the client does not have to pay. If you have not delivered your product, you have more leverage, but you will ruin your reputation and invite legal problems by requiring additional payments. In either case, I would recommend meeting with your client to tell them that the product you are delivering goes beyond the scope of the project you originally discussed. Discuss the matter openly and you will have a better chance of maintaining a good relationship and possibly getting that increase. Never underestimate the power of a good relationship. Also, never underestimate the damage that can be caused by a relationship going sour.

One more recommendation:

As a freelance developer, I recommend adopting an open-source mentality and focusing on charging for utility instead of technology.

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It’s absolutely not fair at all for you to ask for more fees because your client has learned from your work.

Because when you code, unless it is compiled code that is perhaps encrypted, you cannot expect human curiosity to simply see what you did and learn from it. How exactly do you think any of us learn what we know?

But that said, objectively look at what is happening: This is not a new problem, but a genuine new business opportunity if you play it right.

So what you can do is make it very clear to your client that they learned something from your work. And then if they hit you up for work in the future, bill them more. But that is combative.

Maybe you could do something more helpful that will get you paid: Offer your services to him strictly as a tutor. You do not code anything. But for a set fee, you teach him your skills. Should that fee be higher or lower than if you purely coded? Depends. But you should not close a door on an opportunity.

This might seem like you are creating the competition but the reality is you are creating an ally and a client who will trust you for years moving forward.

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