One of my mantras doing business both at the dayjob(tm) and in personal life is "Get it in writing". If the customer won't then I will. Part of it comes from a life in software development. If there isn't a requirements document in place the project never ends as the customer is never happy. That's fine as long as the customer is willing to foot the bill, but soon they get weary of hearing "Here's my bill". "This project was supposed to cost X and we're now triple that!" The only answer to that is "the price for X included only these features. You later changed these features and added these other ones." And that argument only flies if you have the original agreement in writing.
Friends ridiculed me for such a rigid stance "you are dealing with family and friends, what could possibly go wrong?" Answer, everything! It's just good business. To a man they have come back later to say "OMG, you were so right."
I previously hinted the SandCastle Queen's renovation project. All through the project she'd report "The cabinets are going to cost this, I've bought the granite for the counter tops here, and the installer is going to do his part for $x. " She had written estimates from the cabinet people, and the granite was an over the counter deal. But the granite installer never put it in writing. I asked the SCQueen and explained my concerns several times. (It's just good business!) She called and left plenty of messages without result (which is a red flag in itself). She pooh poo'd my concerns "He's recommended by our contractor friend and they all know him at the rock shop". "Get it in writing... It's just good business" I'd answer.
Mr granite guy came by today to make his final measurements now that the cabinets are in. Today's quoted price was nearly 2x the original. The 'Queen argued and got him somewhere back down to the vicinity original quote.
She called me at the dayjob saying "you were right". (I did NOT respond with "told ya so". That's just not constructive). Ok, but we fix the problem here. He needs to know no work begins without a written quote, other wise we get to go through this again next week! And next time he shows up here, there better be video running! It's just good business!
BTW, Mr Granite guy, you may think you won today. In reality you lost. Several of the SCQueen's friends are interested in similar projects. She was all set to recommend you until today. Your lack of professionalism cost you a lot of future business.
Oh, and BTW, just assume we will be running video anytime you are in this SandCastle!
"Get it in writing - it's just good business!" Today I'll add, and take audio/video of the negotiations!