I am currently working on a freelance project where my client expects me to set up his entire server from scratch.

Right now the server has a clean / unconfigured version of IIS 6 installed. While we discussed all the details of the web-development requirements in the contract, server set up and configuration was not mentioned at all and the contract states that any work outside the scope of the project is subject to additional charges.

It seems that he is expecting me to set up / configure his entire server, in addition to putting the website on there (installing mySQL / PHP, phpmyadmin, etc...), free of charge.

In addition to this, there was a web page that was supposed to be part of the contract, the he briefly mentioned during one of the 5 meetings we had, and was not part of any of the revisions of the contract/ scope or estimate that we both carefully reviewed and signed. Needless to say, he is expecting this to be part of the site as well, free of charge.

My question is, should I comply with his expectations to keep things going smooth, or should I require him to pay for these additional services? He seems like a pretty good client that may have additional work for me, he mentioned that he was happy to have me and he doesn't know many people that develop sites like I do. However, I don't want to be taken advantage of, as I don't think expecting me to do additional tasks to the project, free of charge, is fair.

I appreciate any advice.

Many thanks in advance!

  • Go read "Design is a Job" by Mike (second name I forgot). It doesn't matter if you are designer or not per se but as a small contractor in this sphere it is invaluable as a pep talk to yourself. – joesk Mar 7 '13 at 17:50
  • This question is off-topic: Pro Webmasters is generally not a good place for career type questions (see the faq) – user6901 Mar 8 '13 at 3:40

No, you should not 'comply with his expectations' because his expectations are unreasonable. As you said, you clearly stated the scope of what would be completed and what the fee for those services would be. Nowhere in your contract or meetings did you say you would setup and configure a web server or make additional pages that weren't discussed.

That being said you have to look at it from his point of view, the client probably has no idea what configuring a web server entails and probably didn't even know that something like that had to be done before you mentioned it. The best solution would be to meet with the client and explain clearly and in simple terms what setting up a server means, how long it will take, and that it wasn't covered in the contract for your services. Offer to set it up (assuming you want to) at your normal rate and if the client doesn't want to pay for it then he can find someone else to do it. Bottom line is it isn't your problem, you were hired to do a specific job laid out in your contract and you completed it.

I know the prospect of future work and keeping the client overly satisfied is happy, but do not let yourself be taken advantage of this way or you are just setting yourself up to be walked over in the future. Explain to him the situation, why you didn't think the server would need to be configured, and offer to do it for a fee and I'm sure he will be happy to pay you as it sounds like he is pleased with your work so far.

As for the additional page, it is hard to say since I have no idea what the site content looks like or how long it would take you to make the page but you should never feel bad for billing for work that was not originally stipulated in your contract.

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    +1, The additional work involves a large amount of duplicated code from a different section of the website, which would normally take 30+ hours to set up without the duplicated code, but ~30min to set up with it. So I am willing to make an exception for that, just to keep the client happy. – jeffBronze Mar 7 '13 at 17:51
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    @jeffBronze If it will only take 30 minutes you could offer to throw that in for free but make it clear that any future work needs to be properly laid out ahead of time. – Josh Mountain Mar 7 '13 at 18:02

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