mastering the fine art of haggling

I have a good friend at work who's a GC for the company that I work for. He gets hired to build walls, paint, install ceilings, that sort of thing. He's as good as any GC I've had to work with. (I just escort them and make sure they don't run off with company secrets).
Anyway he approached me and said that if I needed to have some work done he'd be willing to work out a price for small jobs on the side. I'm willing, but I get the impression the conversation's gonna go like this
"So, I'm wondering if you could help me replace a damaged support post in my crawlspace" "Sure, what do you think it's worth to you?" "Uhh uhhh I uhhhh, ummmmm <fumbling around because I don't have a clue what these guys make on the sly> 500 bucks???" "Yeah sure whatever asshole. Call me back when you're serious."
I know what he makes, I know what the materials cost, but for on the sly jobs he isn't making union wages (or is he?).
So I'm wondering if it should go like this He makes 100 bucks an hour (roughly) so maybe go for 70 bucks an hour for the job and estimate 2 hours to do the work - call it 300 bucks and start from there. For someone who doesn't do it for a living you're really at a disadvantage when working with these guys because you really don't know how much this stuff costs. You either end up ending a good relationship or getting fleeced like a lamb.
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Eigenvector wrote:

If the guy's a good friend, let him lead. Start with a small job.
R
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have him look and give you price, small job first pay him cash and be nice. can save tons of bucks and get good job too
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it is always better to work for free for a friend or family. this way no one is insulted and you still end up friends in the end. or as "hallerb" said pay him what he estimates...do not make an insulting offer. or maybe barter for some work.
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If your idea is he normally charges $100 an hour and because you know him he's going to give you a great deal of $70 an hour, you must have $ $$ to burn, as those rates seem over the top to me here in NJ for someone that paints and installs ceilings.
If you want to engage him, I would expect him to come over, give a price for the job, not by the hour and write a contract, just like any contractor would. As suggested, I'd start with something small. If it's a larger job, then surely get multiple estimates to compare him against.
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On 24 Mar 2007 06:44:49 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

It's more important to have a contract with friends than with strangers, with all the terms given.
If you fight with a non-friend, you just lose a contractor. If you fight with a friend, you lose a contractor and a friend.
As suggested, I'd start with something small.

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wrote:

Hmm, I didn't realize that was done between friends and small side jobs.
If that's the case then I'd just as soon as hire him as a professional and have him compete for the work like any other GC out there. The money isn't important to me, I have enough.

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On Sat, 24 Mar 2007 13:18:43 -0700, "Eigenvector"

I didn't really follow your first post. In fact I couldn't tell if you were going to work for him or vice versa, or how big the job is.
But I enjoy wathching the People's Court a lot, and there is a big variety of cases, so no one kind is more than 10 or 20 percent, and this is even less than 10 percent, but there are fairly often cases of friends dealing with each other financially, lending money, selling a car, bartering work for things, etc. And if they end up in court it often hurts the friendship. Of course, the number that ends up in court is small compared to the number that don't, but that would be true regarding contracts between strangers too. Most contractors would still do what they are supposed to and most customers would still be satisfied.
I can see why one might not want to have a contract with friends -- it's sort of like asking for a prenup with someone you are supposedly in love with -- but one should then be able to suck it up if things don't go well. Of course even while sucking it up, one can still feel angry at the other guy, regardless of how he told himself he would feel before there was a problem.
The biggest source of avoidable problems seems to be that there isn't agreement on what is actually to be done, and I guess that includes what materials will be used. Even writing all that down might prevent a good chunk of the problems.
They fight about all the things that non-friends fight about, sometimes they fight about not getting done in time. The friend things it will be done during his off hours on no particular schedule, and the other one wants it before the inlaws come for Thanksgiving.

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wrote:

I have to work with this guy, so it's probably a better idea to keep him separate from my personal business. But He's not the only fish in the ocean, so really I was more interested in what a typical GC makes on the sly. From the sounds of it, that's wildly variable and probably not a game for a newbie.

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