The Perils of Working For Friends

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Long story short~ Remodeled basement for longtime friends, including tearing out of old paneling glued to cinder block walls, framed, drywalled, replaced windows, and hauled all the debris away. Said friends didn't even offer to buy my sandwich when they ordered out for lunch on several ocassions while I was slaving away in their basement. Have had too many similar experiences with others in the past year and have now decided not to do free work anymore. (I have a full time job not related to building, but am a very skilled carpenter/woodworker) So, "basement" friends want existing bathroom next to finished basement remodeled. I need some guidance on how much to charge...anyone here do paid work for friends? I'd like to just charge a flat fee of what it's worth to me to even bother doing it...they want me to give them an hourly rate and an estimate of how much time it will take. What do you think? Thanks for any input. I am new here and I really appreciate this site.
--
woodpassion


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I'm shocked. Define "friend". That's just plain rude. I had two buddies come over with circular saws and crowbars so the 3 of us could rip out 300 sq.ft. of the three layers of flooring in our liviingroom when we moved into our house. My wife went out and got a huge pile of food for the whole day, as well as a carload of beer to go with the power tools.
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If you can't even agree on how to bill you will never agree on if it was done properly. If something goes wrong (and it will) you will wish you listened to me.
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woodpassion wrote:

I think I would come up with an excuse as to why you aren't available to do the work for them at any price. Let them pay somebody who does it for a living and maybe the next time they'll come to appreciate the value of the work you've already done for them. I'm amazed you'd even consider doing anything for them at all. Are you a rug? You've sure as hell been walked over.
First time? Fine; it was a learning experience for you. But the next time? I guess you didn't learn.
--
Mortimer Schnerd, RN
mschnerdatcarolina.rr.com
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Mortimer Schnerd, RN wrote:

Why come up with an "excuse"? Just man up and tell them that you (or the OP) doesn't like to work for friends because it's frought with problems on both sides.
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[snip]
can't be both. I've been in similar circumstances, providing sophisticated spreadsheets and other computer programs. For me, I won't charge for my time because I'm not a computer professional and can't/won't warranty my work. Neither would I guarantee my woodwork. Once you start getting paid for something, you have an obligation to (a) do it right, (b) do it professionally, and (c) fix it when necessary. Regards --
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Once you start getting paid

And, you can't just pick up and leave when they do something ignorant.
Steve
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<snip>

I just had that situation come up last night... I had a neighbor pick a pen last week for her birthday... sort of a personal thing, but it's hard for me to decide what pen someone else might like, because I seldom think one is good enough.. *g*
Anyway, she asked last night if I'd sell her one that she liked, so that she could give it to her sister for HER b-day... I threw it in a plastic case and told her that it was a compliment to me that someone liked a pen that much, and please take it as a gift... She said that it wasn't fair that I should be giving her a 2nd pen, and insisted on paying for it... Not wanting to try explaining that I really don't like selling to friends and that the damn thing cost less than $4 to make, I just said "Ok, that one's $250"...
After the shock and the laughter, she decided that free was better...
Mac
https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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Why? That's never bothered Microsoft or any of a number of other "professional" software vendors. :-)
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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woodpassion wrote: ...

I'd say this "friendship" is pretty one-sided from this story.
I'm with the others that it almost certainly will not be a good experience to try to do work for them as a contractor given their demonstrated miserliness is far more important to them than your value to them as a friend...
If you do decide to take it on, I suggest strongly you do it only on your terms with which you are comfortable as a "take it or leave it" choice and have a written contract of what is covered specifically as once it gets to be money, these people are going to be sticklers and friendship will have no bearing on it (other than using you as far as you will let them which they have already demonstrated. Of course, you so far having been an apparently willing accomplice.)
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woodpassion wrote:

<snip>
Personally, after the first experience, I wouldn't take the job but if you decide differently:
1. Calculate how long you think the job will take.
2. I find the general rule of thumb is that all jobs take twice as long as planned so double your initial guess.
3. Multiply the hours by the hourly dollar amount your comfortable working for.
4. For this couple, triple the amount in step 3.
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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woodpassion wrote:

I definitely would not do it. Not to digress, but the work I do is a funny thing along these lines. I'm a systems/network engineer, and I'm sure there are a good many people out there that do similar work. For some reason people never have a problem asking me to "take a look at something weird their system is doing" while you are there for a social visit (dinner, drinks, etc). Of course, 4 hours later (min), it is all straightened out. This most would have probably cost them $100 to $200 dollars to get it done by somebody a LOT less qualified somewhere else. But other then a quick "oh thanks", there is little appreciation. Now, these same people would never ask plumber friend to fix the hot water heater or unclog the toilet. They wouldn't ask my wife (an RN) to look at a rash and treat it. Something about computer work, people just figure, "he'd love to fix it, he's a geek..."
Anyway, back to your deal, I agree with the other poster. Beg off on it and maybe recommend somebody (exxxxxxpeeeeensive) to do it. Perhaps they will see the error of their ways.
Just out of curiosity, what do these people do for work?
-Jim
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Reminds me of some people who have gone out waterskiing with me. I drive the truck, launch the boat, drive the boat, put gas in both at great expense and otherwise do all of the work. My boat runs on gas, not on "thanks". Real skiers know this immediately and always offer gas money, before we even get wet. They are the ones who get called back, even if I refuse the money.
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Andrew Williams wrote:

I often take people flying in my small plane. It actually does run on "thanks", and even better on smiles. The bigger the smile, the more octane it's got! I only invite people with whom I expect to enjoy their company. If they offer something, that's very nice. Otherwise, I've spend some priceless time with them.
I learned a long time ago that sharing toys and unique skills (kind of like a giving a gift) is much more enjoyable when I expect nothing in return.
If I'm expecting a passenger to share costs, or a woodworking customer to pay me, we discuss all the details ahead of time.
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wrote:

What do you have? We don't get near enough aviation talk on this group. There has to be lots more out there.
--
LRod

Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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LRod wrote:

A '76 Beech C23 Sundowner. It's similar to a Piper Cherokee /Archer 180, only roomier, slightly slower, and with more doors. This particular example was re-engined in '97, and got most of a new panel in the mid-90's.
Bonanza training wheels. <G>
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B A R R Y wrote:
> Bonanza training wheels. <G>
AKA: Split tailed doctor killer, as it was told to me.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

I prefer the looks of the straight tailed version myself. From what I understand, the "killer" part of the plane is totally undeserved for any qualified pilot willing to actually do weight and balance calculations. Along with the "Dr. Killer", the Bo also has a very large following of satisfied pilots and owners. Many higher-performance private planes are easier to load tail heavy than a typical trainer. Mooneys, Cherokee Sixes, Cessna 210's etc... all can be more difficult to fly than your typical 172, Cherokee, or Musketeer.
I think the next excellent plane to get an undeserved "Dumb Dr." reputation is the Cirrus SR22. A few folks have managed to panic and deploy the "ballistic recovery parachute" during perfectly do-able power-off landings. Once the parachute is deployed, directional control is lost. Even without power, a piston single can land easily on suitable terrain. One guy managed to pass up a power-off landing on flat, wide open desert in favor of a parachute landing into an oil refinery. <G>
Our Sundowner is actually nose-heavy. With two decent size adult males in the front row and an empty back row, we end up carrying 100+ pounds of water ballast in the rear baggage area. With rear seat passengers it all comes together nicely without ballast.
In 2001, I had a co-worker stall and spin a Cherokee 6 at takeoff. The accident killed all 6 aboard. The NTSB investigation determined he was right at the gross weight and aft CG limits on a hot, humid day.
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wrote:

While W&B may be part of it, I've long had a theory that the reason the Bonanza had such a reputation is that doctors were among the very few that could afford a Bonanza (and the Bonanza is/was right near the top of the desirability scale in single engine aircraft) straight out of the box after getting a license without working up to it through progressively more complex airplanes like the rest of us have to. Lack of experience basically, or as we in the ATC business used to say: a hundred mile an hour pilot in a 200 mile an hour airplane.
We used to have more trouble with Mooney pilots than any other type. I posited that (as with Bonanzas, but from a slightly different aspect), the affordability of the Mooney permitted too many hundred mile an hour pilots to own them and they were far too frequently several miles per hour behind. My experience, by the way, is mostly from the IFR perspective, which only adds to the complexity issue.
--
LRod

Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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LRod wrote:

That exact explanation might go for a Cirrus today. Next? VLJ's! A 400 MPH, 30,000 ft. doctor!

Boy does it ever. That's something that a good, modern GPS (and the proper training in it's use) really helps simplify. Autopilots are much cheaper and more prevalent than the early Bonanza days, as well.
Best doctor-pilot story I've heard in a while, told to me at a fly-in in July, by a guy based at the field where it supposedly happened:
At Republic, which is ~10 NM ENE of JFK, a Bonanza runs off the end of the runway. FRG has ~5500 and 6500 ft runways, not exactly short or difficult to stay on for a piston single. Upon arrival, they find a slightly damaged aircraft with no one aboard. EMS & Airport personnel literally beat the bushes for hours looking for the occupant(s), thinking injured or stunned people wandered off and collapsed or got lost on airport property. A few hours later, Dr. Anon and his "companion" (daughter??? <G>), whom he doesn't want listed on reports, appear at the FBO asking for the location and condition of the plane. Where were they? They were late for dinner reservations!
I don't know if it's really true, but the guy telling it is a local cop on Long Island.
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