This happened a few years back. It was during summer break, and I was back home from university, looking for something to do to keep me busy and earn some cash. I stumbled upon an ad for a local music festival needing help managing their concerts (mostly checking in visitors and also working as a driver).
I reached out, said I would be interested, and told them my hourly fee (which I earned from my last job). They answered back rather quickly and told me to start ASAP. Since they didn't argue with me about my proposed hourly rate, I gathered that they had accepted it.
A few days after I started working for them, one of the bosses approached me and said they don't exactly do the hourly rate but rather pay a fixed price for each day you worked for them...
At first, I was annoyed since it would have been MUCH less than I initially thought I would earn. Then I realized I could use their own system against them. Want me to go around and hand out flyers to people for 30 minutes?
Yep, this will be noted as a whole day. Want me to go collect additional chairs and bring them to the venue for 20 minutes? Yep, another day added. (You get my system by now).
Ah, that sweet moment when, after the whole gig, I handed my registered days' calculation to the boss. She looked at it, her eyes turned wide, and you could see her thought process on her face calculating. I simply grinned while she realized that her system had absolutely backfired with me, and they played themselves.
I ended up earning more than they would have paid me with the hourly system I proposed. One week later, I had the money in my bank account. Weirdly enough, I never heard back. I would have loved to work with them again.
OP responded to some comments:
I'm surprised they paid you the full amount. Nicely done.
I was a bit surprised too, guess they weren't too eager on a big discussion and just wanted to get it over with.
“If we try to fight this guy, it goes public, and we can’t keep ripping people off. Pay him what he’s asking—we’re still going to make a profit because 99% of the people we hire don’t have a backbone.”
You're absolutely right - I befriended a coworker there and after the whole thing was over I asked him, how much he ended up making for the whole job. Even though he worked almost double of my time, I wasn't too far off of his number.
So the "we’re still going to make a profit because 99% of the people we hire don’t have a backbone” is sadly very true.
It seems that OP was in charge of scheduling the work. Instead of doing all the work in just a few workdays, OP spread out the work over more days.
Apparently they didn't specify how long a work day was supposed to be, so if OP worked 20 minutes on Monday, they had to pay OP for a full day's work.
Sadly I wasn't able to schedule the work, there were days where I did a lot of hours and I lost to their system big time but there were also days where I was just called in for a quick job. So then I had to even it out.
What do you think? Did OP get one over on their employer?