Consulting to the Consultant

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I contracted to write a speech for someone I know professionally, He
was asked to be the keynoter at a professional association five weeks
out. While he is funny and charming, he is neither a good writer nor an
organized thinker. I asked what it was worth and he named a
surprisingly large number. He can afford it and I could use the money.
We agreed on a timeline and what our roles would be. I asked him
some questions, sent him to some links for the White House
Correspondents’ Dinner videos so he could study and add some polish
to his delivery, and took two weeks to produce a very fine draft,
something that he could have simply taken as is, learned, and looked
good delivering. That’s all assuming he actually looked at it before the
night of the event. I billed him two-thirds of the fee when I gave him
the draft. The rest of what I did was buying/assembling some props,
asking him regularly if he had read and edited the draft or had
revisions/a second draft for me etc. You can write the end of this
story: He stumbled through my draft with minor changes that left
people confused, though people said the right things afterwards
because he’s a good person to work with. What, if anything, should I
charge him?

Consulting to the Consultant

Dear Consulting:

Send him an email that goes roughly as follows: Dear [Name]:
Congrats on the speech the other night. You did great! I’m sure it
would have been even better with some edits and polish, but given
how busy you have been, you really pulled it off. I heard folks saying
what a good speech it was. We had agreed on $x for a fee but I
wasn’t able to earn it all because of the time crunch at the end. I laid
out $y for props. Please send me a check for what the value of my
contribution, minus your down payment. Holler if you need more
writing/editing in the future.

That suggests he owes you something more but relies on his
generosity and appreciation to collect. If he truly values your input, he
will pay you a hefty amount of the difference, or risk foregoing access
in times to come.