I have a longstanding relationship with a client and do the majority of their design work. About 2 years ago I was told their "new budget" for one series of booklets was $1,000 each. These booklets are scholarly monographs, mostly type, 60-80 pp but with all kinds of headings, subheadings, indents and tables (oh the tables!) that are quite time-consuming.
I had been doing these booklets for much more, but I agreed to automate production as much as possible and to eliminate certain tweaks to reduce price on two "test" booklets. I completed the 2 booklets, billed $1,000 each, and lost substantially on each one. I explained to client that I would be unable to do this booklet series in the future as I was unable to do so profitably. Client reluctantly agreed. For about a year, someone else did the booklets, presumably at the $1,000 price point. I continued to do other work for this client on agreeable terms. Then suddenly, the job returned to me without explanation. It was agreed that I would charge my usual fee, which is based on time incurred. I completed several booklets and charged on this basis. Everyone was happy.
Then they sent me two new booklets, written by a new person in their department. THESE booklets went through about 10 revisions, as they were passed serially through different reviewers who changed and then re-changed each others' work. I alerted them to the fact that this methodology would substantially increase their production costs, and that they would save money by having all parties review a single proof before returning same to me for edits. I was ignored.
Now the projects are completed, and it is time to bill. If I bill based on hours incurred, charges will be huge. First booklet printed this week, and I learned that blueline changes by printer totaled over $1,000 due entirely to comma editing in the text.
Any suggestions on how best to handle my billing?