First mess up at work... how would you handle this situation?

  1. OK... so at my firm here is a pretty high stress firm that handles consulting services to companies in their HR/Sourcing department. I started about 4 months ago and I've been doing pretty good. I am very green to this industry but have been picking up quite quickly. We have different specialized departments that help our clients in their focused need area's. We are very entrepreneurial here.... so when I first started out we had a range of 15-25% for project fee's - we were able to negotiate with our clients depending on their needs and our work. We have contracts and we draft them up for SPECIFIC divisions/departments. So I was speaking with a client of mine and we were talking about the needs and the difficulties of some of the things that they are facing. And I wanted to be an assistant to them and I understood their pain and I see a lot of potential opportunities for myself as well as other departments in my company. So I drafted up a contract for 18% for ONE project so it doesn't limit us but then I was talking to my other colleague and they said they wouldn't have gone any lower than 23% because the project would take more work then I think...

    I know it doesn't limit my other divisions but it wouldn't help because I negotiated so they would assume that they'd be open to negotiating as well... ugh! I'm just scared that I'm going to get in trouble for it even though they let me know that we should be competitive with other companies.
  2. I would just chalk it up to a lesson learned I suppose. You went for it and drafted up a contract for your client. And your % was within the range you noted above so unless I'm missing something here I don't see it as a big gaffe. You mentioned your firm is very entrepreneurial so this is a part of the growth process.

    Do you think this contract could potentially hurt or harm potential new business with this client? It doesn't sound like it to me.

    Perhaps this could be an opportunity to start firming up a more defined fee structure based on level of work required, and maybe you could take that on to show even more initiative for the firm's success? Just thinking out loud here.

    You mentioned it to a colleague...did you discuss with your Manager as well? I'd just bring it up and call it out rather than hope it goes unnoticed.

    Hope that helped - ?
  3. PG - Thanks. I think i'm just paranoid. I don't think that I can get into too much trouble because the contract is only binded to what I DO on the project and not affecting anyone else. The only thing that I see it affecting is when they try to negotiate a structure - they may come back saying that if I'm able to negotiate then they should be able to as well.

    I haven't brought it up to my manager yet... I had asked him what he'd do in the situation and he would negotiate it down to 20% and that's the lowest and I'm at 18%. So it's not much of a difference and I don't think it would be big deal on my end. I just don't want to mess up the negotiations for the other divisions...

    I'm just paranoid about it I guess.
  4. While I can certainly understand your desire to do well at work, I don't think this is as big a "mess up" as it might seem to you. A "mess up" would be like if you dropped the ball, lied about something, got yourself in over your head, etc etc. Especially since you are still learning, I don't think your manager can fault you for this. There's lots of things to be learned in a new position, so don't beat yourself up!
  5. I think you're right... I'm still on a learning curve. But for some reason I feel like I did drop the ball on it or got myself in over my head with this client...
  6. ^^ Your % is within the range and you negotiated a deal! It doesn't sound like you got in over your head at all! But I think that is just the part of getting used to the business and to the negotiation process?

    When I was brand new to working (just out of uni) I just went in every day at work with an open mind and I'm here to learn, learn, learn. Even if that meant learning what NOT to do by observing others or from my own mistakes.

    I worked at a freight forwarding company for almost 3 years until I was about 27 (my 2nd job since finishing uni). One of our export clients was a very well known manufacturer of exercise equipment and they would ship anything from one-off crated machines anywhere in the world to full ocean containers full for new health club openings. Each time they needed a quote from us they would fax us a template noting all the specifics about how much equipment, where it was going, etc. Pretty good system.

    Well, one time I messed up and ended up giving them a quote which resulted in a loss for us. I was devastated and my boss about had a cow. We maybe lost about $300 on that transaction but to me it could have been millions. I was just so strung out and felt terrible. Even 15 years later I still remember how badly I felt. bet I changed the method I used to double/triple check every single quote I did from that point forward!