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What do you do when you realise that you're undercharging a client?

What do you do when you realise that you’re undercharging a client? For example today, a new buyer sent me a message about a potential order he was going to make. I briefly went through what his requirements were and create a custom offer with my estimated price. He was happy with it and quickly accepted my offer.

But soon after I started work on it, I realise that what he needed wasn’t as simple as what I originally thought it would be and would take up a lot more time that I had hoped. In hindsight, I would have charged him at least 50% more than the current price.

In this situation, what would you do? After thinking it through, there’s only 3 clear options for me to take.

  1. Just let it go and deliver what the buyer wanted at the agreed price. This could mean a potential loss of revenue and time but the buyer stays happy and the order is guaranteed to stay.

  2. Tell the buyer I’ve underestimated the scope of the project and ask him to pay more otherwise the project is cancelled. I’ll be paid for what my time is worth no matter what, but there’s a chance of losing an order or having an upset buyer.

  3. Finish the order at the agreed price but ask the buyer to leave a tip. The order is guaranteed and I may get paid what the project is worth, but it could also be a waste of time if the buyer doesn’t tip and the buyer may see me as desperate.

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Number 1 all day long I’m afraid - either of the other options could see you receiving negative feedback and/or being reported to CS for ‘bait and switch’.


Usually option one, yes, unless I established in talking to the buyer that I can’t exactly know how much work it is when sending the offer, sensible people usually get that and will accept that you may have to charge more, for example for additional words if your estimation wasn’t correct (difficult to count words in advance without yet actually doing work like copying or even typing text down with how some websites are set up).
When I had all the needed info and there were no ‘uncertainties’ though, but I underestimated how long I’d need, yeah, gritting my teeth and doing the work, I don’t want to hear any funny things on my style of operation. :wink:


It’s number 1 that you’ll have to go for. It’s a costly lesson which you have learned and I think many of us including myself have learned during our time on fiverr.

Make your gig competitive by using quality over price, I find there are 2 types of buyers, ones who want cheap and ones to will pay for quality. Think about the types of buyers you want and charge a fair price for your services.


Option 1 would do good, anyday.
This happened with me when I was formatting a buyer’s book for createspace. I charged $15 for a custom order I gave her. Her problem started with images not being 300 DPI. So I thought that amount was okay. Plus she had no source file of the book (mostly, InDesign file in this case)
I ended up with formatting the book from the ground up. Not to mention changing the pics to 300 DPI , testing the book on the platform and then finally giving the book to her.
I’ll tell you what I felt by this-
Outer me: The book is finally working! Issues are sorted out and the book is good to go.
Inner me: I just wish I had charged 80-90 bucks from her. Why didn’t I just say it?

I’ve found that what you’ll do in your gigs should be fixed right from the start. So people know what they pay for.

And if people stumble on the platform , it’s really this problem they need to take care of. But maybe it’s easier said than done. Duh.

If I were a seller, I would choose option number one. It is not the buyer´s fault that you undercharged your service. The buyer might think they have been played/tricked if you charge them more. Long time ago when I was still working for a company, we never asked a buyer to pay more when we accidently undercharged our services. An upset buyer is not a good idea. A bad word of mouth situation could be more dangerous than a crappy marketing.

But next time, if the buyer comes back, you must not undercharge your service again. If the buyer complains for getting quoted a different price (the right price which is more expensive than the previous one), explain nicely that with the previous service you undercharged your service yet you let it flow coz it was your bad, and you considered it as giving them a nice discount for more future good cooperations. If the buyer don´t come back, well, just consider it as a lesson you have learned.

It´s just my point of view. You don´t have to listen to me. :slight_smile:

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Option number 1 is your only option if you want to be called a professional.

Underbidding was your own mistake, and you should take note of why and how it happened so it won’t happen again.

This experience will teach you to take a closer look at the scope next time around.


I agree with the others that you need to deliver what you agreed to.
On delivery, do mention some of the elements that were beyond what you had quoted for, explain how you misunderstood but delivered anyway. Don’t ever ask for a tip - no matter what you do - it leaves a bad feeling for a buyer who otherwise may have been really happy with you.


I can completely relate with your situation. When I started working on fiverr I had a lot of projects where I faced similar situation because my work is like that and I followed the Option 1. Sometimes you cannot judge how much time a certain project will take. I then came up with a solution - I started doing test projects where I do part of the project, say 20%, for the 20% of total project cost and I tell the buyer that this is the test order, price may get higher depending upon the time it takes to finish this part. Most of the time they did increased and buyers agreed to pay the increased price. Only a few times I cancelled the test order, most of the times buyers are more than happy to finish the test order so that you don’t have to cancel it.
It’s working quite well for me - I did 4 test projects this month, prices increase for all of them but did not had any cancellation.

As Fiverr is changing a lot of things, I wish they introduce hourly rates or a system where we can get paid for hourly work with timer and everything like Upwork has. It will benefit a lot of categories like and surely fiverr too.