Do you charge more when clients are annoying?

There are many factors that impact our pricing, but is "annoyance" one of them? Should it be? I posted this question yesterday on the CFC LinkedIn Group:
In an interview for my new book about dealing with money, a freelancer told me how she charges more when a client doesn't respond when they said they would or does something else she finds annoying. She doesn't think this kind of "emotional pricing" is right, but she isn't sure it's wrong either.

What do you think? Do you ever do that? If so, when and how does it work for you? 

8 thoughts on “Do you charge more when clients are annoying?

  1. Designermusings

    Yes, when clients change the timeline of a project — something that wasn’t urgent suddenly becomes so — or approve it only to get back to you with more changes when you’re almost to press…I add a hour or two of “penalty” charges. I guess you can say it’s for the annoyance.

  2. Prescott Perez-Fox

    I do the same thing. In fact, from the start I size up the client as to what I determine the “hassle factor” will be. This is like a degree of difficulty in Olympic diving, growing the overall [time] estimate of the project.
    Conversely, I, and other designers I’ve heard of, will offer discounts for smooth payments and transactions. For example, I tell a client the fastest and cheapest way to the end is to remove some of the revision rounds, especially the “multiple concepts” stage. Also, you can offer a discount to a client if he pays cash on delivery, or uses PayPal for instant payment.

  3. Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

    The degree of immediate demand on a project can certainly require rush charges of different percentages as compensation for rescheduling and annoyance.
    Years ago, with a major corporate client, I charged what my client contact at the company knew was a “stupidity surcharge.” The company was charged more for being stupid as a project made its way through the multiple levels of “lack of approval.” Asinine decisions were often made, ridiculous requests came my way, and project delays made little or no sense. My contact at the company would literally cringe as she relayed the information to me. She would finish with “This is going to cost us, isn’t it?” I was tempted to add “stupidity surcharge” as a line item on their invoice – but, in reality, additional time was simply added to the invoice for inconvenience and annoyance.

  4. Dani Nordin

    I don’t really see it as an annoyance fee, and I don’t think it should be looked at that way. When you’re bidding out a job, you’re billing for the approximate amount of time that it’s going to take you to complete the job (among other things), and the more disorganized, demanding, etc. that a client is, the more time you have to spend on the job, and the more you bill for it. After I’d been running my own business for a while, it started becoming easier to spot when a client was going to be more demanding than usual, and I learned quickly to adjust my rates accordingly.

  5. Jon Sandruck | ohTwentyone

    Annoying? No.
    Exceeding planned/reasonable numbers of “corrections,” procrastinating fulfilling commitments until a non-rush project becomes one in order to meet deadlines, constant changes in scope, unplanned consultation/time spent in meetings that don’t need to happen, time wasted by lack of focus, etc. These are things I charge for…and yes, they’re annoying.
    We have a client now that in the past was so catastrophically disorganized that it caused massive delays and it caused us to lose money on the job. When they asked us to quote the new one they balked at the quote and I very politely explained that last time they exceeded the projected administrative time, and that this quote included allowances for their internal processes.
    I also suggested a couple of methods for minimizing the administrative costs. If they follow them we will come in under budget and all will be right with the world. They honestly seemed appreciative of the candor, and they hired us for the gig.
    Really, what it comes down to for me is getting paid accurately for the time I spend. The client can waste my time all they want as long as they understand that my time = their money.

  6. Tomokeefe

    Agree w/Dani. If I quote a project rate I make it clear that if it exceeds the specs outlined in my quote they will be charged XX amount per hour. If they want to be annoying and make my life hell wouldn’t change a thing. You shouldn’t charge more if someone is annoying. A good example would be this. I bring my car into the shop. I ask them how much it will cost to replace a water pump. They tell me parts XX amount labor XX amount. They end up working on my car only to find out it’s hard to work on. The water pump is in a difficult spot to get out. I’m annoying the hell out of them while waiting for my car to be fixed. I cause a scene demanding it gets done faster. I then change my mind at the last minute and tell them I would rather use one instead. They will not charge me more for being annoying. They will charge me more for adding more work and will get charged more labor what I was quoted. Sure they may hate me but at the end of the day their time is valuable and they charge per hour.
    Also just toughen up and learn to deal with difficult clients.

  7. heather parlato

    i don’t have an annoyance adjustment rate merely for the compensation of how i feel about working with someone. what i do is similar to what others have said, if a client seems like they need more hand-holding in the way of project management or doesn’t have a staff to help out, i can add project management duties to the job and those add to the cost. i also estimate based on complexity, so the more streamlined and straightforward the project is, the less it will cost everyone.
    the thing of it is, though, i’m not interested in going into project management as a service in my business. so while it’s annoying for me, and something i try to discourage, it’s a legitimate service nonetheless, and something to charge for when needed.
    what i’ve learned about working with difficult people is that, for me, it doesn’t work to put a higher price on it and then deal with it anyway. i end up just as frustrated regardless of compensation. my approach is to be firm with the more difficult characters i do work with, educate them to make them as non-annoying as possible, and for the ones outside my scope of willingness, free us both up to work with better matches.

  8. Hope

    i charge what i call a PITA tax for those situations. I konw of many others who do the same. PITA=pain in the @ss. 🙂 All it really is, is a fee for a very disorganized client, rush jobs that weren’t supposed to be rush jobs, extra revision work that’s outside what was in the contract, and all the other back and forth that’s asinine.