I was working as a freelance contractor, fixing up care homes for a while. It was a cash-in-hand sort of job and people always wanted to get away as cheap as they could. One particular job took the cake!
Me: A job of this magnitude will cost you about £XXXX.
Client: I’ve worked construction my whole life. I know this won’t cost more than £300 in materials. What do you want for just the labor? I’ll pay the materials!
Me: I want £XXXX [a third of my original quote] for labor, but unless you have the same kind of contacts I do, you won’t get away cheaper if you buy materials yourself.
Client: Nonsense. I’ll pay you £XXXX (£400 under my lowest quote). I bet I won’t even spend £300!
Me: Ok, but I want £200 deposit.
Client: I don’t have more than £200 on me right now. You’ll have to wait until Monday for the deposit. Use these 200 today for materials!
I had traveled across the country for this job and already spent £50 on travel just for the quote, so I begrudgingly accepted what I thought was a 4 day job, starting over the weekend and ending on the Tuesday.
Monday comes, and the client takes me to buy more materials.
Me: What about that deposit? I really need that money now.
Client: Well, this cost more than I thought. I don’t have that much cash on me, it all went to materials.
At this point we had spent more than £1000 on materials, and weren’t even halfway there. Because the client insisted on only bringing £1000 at a time, we could only get so much materials each day, and had to work on a day-to-day basis with what we got. At the end, we spent 8 days working that job, because the materials kept trickling in, instead of getting it all at once. I finish up and head home, leaving an invoice on the client’s desk along with all receipts. A week later I call to see why I hadn’t gotten paid yet (and this includes the deposit).
Client: Well, you took twice as long as you said you would and the materials cost more than 10 times what we agreed on, so I’m not going to pay you.
This is why I’m no longer working as a freelance contractor!