What Would Shawn Do? Miscommunication about Fees


I called a client to tell him the cost of the procedure I was performing on his pet, and to get permission to perform another service. He authorized the additional procedure. But he had written the original amount I had quoted him next to the phone at home. He was shocked by the amount of the bill when he came to pick up his pet.

At the time, I had no clue why there was a problem. In my mind, he had approved the procedure, and I had clearly communicated the fees. I was not going to let $300 walk out the door. I thought he was just trying to cheat me. Months later, I realized what had probably happened. Would there have been a better way to handle this?


Being direct and honest is always the best solution to a communication issue involving money. Call and him and state that you thought everyone was on the same page and would never have gone forward with the procedure without consent. Tell him that the relationship with your clients is a trust you take seriously and that it’s important to the clinic that he can trust your integrity.

If you have a history with this client, ask what happened in the relationship that led him to a point where he did not trust your intentions. Ask him how you can fix that. It “costs” much less to make a disgruntled client happy than to recruit a new client to replace the lost revenue.