The Perils of Working For Friends

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On Mon, 28 Aug 2006 13:42:55 +0100, woodpassion

If you want them to remain "friends", decline the work at any price.
You're already emotionally primed to have a conflict with them and it'll only get worse if you take on the bathroom.
My advice only, and worth every penny you paid for it.
Good luck Mike Mike Patterson Please remove the spamtrap to email me. "I always wanted to be somebody...I should have been more specific..." - Lily Tomlin
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A few of bits of advice I got when I went into business:
1. Re: trading work with no money involved. Full retail for full retail. Charge what you would charge if you were putting a price on the job. Set the value you are trading for at what it would sell for.
2. Never do work on the if/come "if you'll give me a good price on this job, I have a lot more work." Do each piece of work as a separate job and as if you will never see this human again. They'll keep asking for the discount rate.
3. A friend does not ask you to do things for free or cheaply. If they do, they are not your friend in that regard, and a diplomatic way to decline the work must be found. If a diplomatic way cannot be found, then bluntness always works, but it may cost you a "friend". Now you may have, as I do, friends that I do free work for, but they also return the favor, and over the years, I can say the scales are even. Whenever the scales get REALLY uneven, it's time to reassess the relationship.
Friends is friends, and business is business.
Steve
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SNIP

Here's another look at this old problem. Many will take your labor and efforts for granted, and accept all the "help" they can get. Tell them you are doing this FOR MONEY, because if you weren't, you would be working on your own house. Educate them on what your time is worth to you, and how you don't want to spend every weekend at their house unless there is $$ involved.
With one of my friends, we trade out work at each other's full retail. Once he thought he got the short end of the stick, so he had someone else do the work he wanted. Fine with me. Sadly, he got screwed. (OK, I did enjoy that just a little...) Now we are back on the rail and everything works smoothly.
I work for my family, too. I charge them $40 an hour for labor only, including picking up material they can't get delivered. I also require lunch. Since we had the ground rules set out up front, they don't complain. They listen to all their friends whine about how they are getting pissed off at their remodeling contractor and they feel like they are getting a pretty good deal with me.
They are happier paying me than any other arrangement. We kept hours of who did what and built a bank of hours, and they decided that it was OK to pay me for working in their house. When it came to my turn to cash in the hours, I got a load of top soil to spread and we worked on trimming my huge ash trees. Strangely... they preferred the cash arrangements...
Robert
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Somebody wrote:
> 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.
Pretty straight forward.
$1,500/4-8 hour day for anything that is legal.
$800/Anything less than 4 hours.
No overtime.
If the complain, tell them your rates are less than a lawyer.
Lew
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On Mon, 28 Aug 2006 13:42:55 +0100, woodpassion wrote:

You are a much nicerr man than I am.
I would tell them "Nope ... I busted my tail for you and you made me pay for my own sandwich. I expect better from my friends and until you are willing to show me more consideration I can't consider you my friends."
If you don't tell them what's wrong, they'll never guess. As it is they will likely express something along the line of "Well, we're sorry you took it that way."
Speak. Use the exit. Let them either find another chump or reach for their checkbooks.
I do discount my prices to friends ... unless they ask for a discount based on their friendship. Then it's "full retail plus 20%".
Bill
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On Mon, 28 Aug 2006 13:42:55 +0100, woodpassion

If it were me, I would run (not walk) away from that job. If you've been around doing that kind of work, you surely know someone who you can trust to do them a good job. Recommend someone else and remain friends if you care to.
Mike O.
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On Mon, 28 Aug 2006 13:42:55 +0100, woodpassion

Unless you REALLY need the money, find a way to pass... They walked on you once, they'll stomp you this time, because when you pay for something, you buy the right to bitch...
Something they told us in the Army... "The 1st drop of rain that hits you is God's fault, after that, it's yours"... Mac
https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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woodpassion wrote:

There's a lot of wisdom been given here. Placing them at the top of your "ex-friend" list is a good approach. Because I'm the type of person I am I would be tempted to take another tack. Agree a reasonable price, get them to pay out for all the materials, start the job, create a big mess, and as soon as they start niggling at you just pack your tools up, say "Finito, Benito!" and walk away. Let them try to find a jobber who will take over someone else's incomplete project.
FoggyTown
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"Long story short~ Remodeled basement for longtime friends,"
I would ask this longtime freind to help you with some painting or yard work. If they give you labor in return i dont think you need to equate the labor rates of skilled VS unskilled. Hauling brush at your house is just as valuable as your skilled carpentry even if the real world has different rates for the two jobs (amonst friends.)
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You have a really evil mind, Foggy..
I LIKE that in a person.. *g*
An evil mind is a terrible thing to waste??? Mac
https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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woodpassion wrote:

I still do work for free for (actually with) my friends. Friends helping friends is a great thing in my opinion. I would never charge my friends for anything. But, I do not think I have any "friends" that would treat me as you have described so I cant really comment on your situation. I'm slowly finishing my basement and I asked a friend to help. He did, We worked together. He got a beer or two, some food and we had a good time working together. He even bought a new tool belt on his way over. I expect I will help finish his basement or deck in the future. I will do so gladly. I even did a drive by of his house while he was on vacation to see if his lawn needed mowed. No, he didn't ask me. Its just what friends do!
I have very old cottage in a campground with other very old cottages. The sound of a power tool brings all the men together to help out. If I was working on something on my cottage I would not even need to ask, I would have help quick enough. If I was free and I head someone working on their cottage I would be over with tools in hand, no questions asked.
There is a flip side of course. If the guy was not friendly, not willing to help out on other peoples projects, or didn't contribute to the good of the campground I would be a little reluctant to just jump in without being asked. If asked I would probably help anyone, friends or not, if they were in need.
Just some thoughts
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"woodpassion" wrote I need some guidance on how much to charge...anyone here do

BTDT. I *usually* say, "If you pay me what *you* think I'm worth, I'll be insulted; If you pay me what *I* think I'm worth, You'll be insulted". "Just pay me enough to ensure that I won't turn you down next time."
Max
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woodpassion wrote:

Wow, that is a mamoth job to do, especially if they just sat on their asses the whole time and did not help. They could've at least helped you hang the drywall or haul away the debris.
I'm sure you did a great job. But now these friends are thinking "How can we get this sucker to do more, and Cheap?"
Tell them you don't have time to do this job. Even if you need the money badly, there's easier ways to make money. This job will destroy what's left of your friendship. They treated you like a slave when you were working for free. Can you imagine how miserable you'll be doing this when they're paying you. Oh yeah, they will screw you over on the fees. That's why they are asking for an hourly rate and a max hours. I'm sure they'll add a lot of extra tasks on, and still expect you to only charge the max hour rate.
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On Mon, 28 Aug 2006 13:42:55 +0100, woodpassion

I've got a friend for whom I have done things. He's also a guy to whom I have loaned tools. He's never expected me to work for free and he's taken good care of my tools if he's done the work himself.
He recently asked me to make something for him. I worked up how much I would charge for that, told him and didn't hear back. I guess his situation can't fit that into his budget at this time. The work hasn't been done by me, him or anyone else.
In the end, we're still friends.
The good part is the he recognizes that by asking me to make something he's taking up my time and putting wear on my stuff and compensates accordingly. Probably not as well as if I'd be doing this for a stranger, but it still works out.
It sounds like your friends don't recognize the value of your time to you. They think you're their servant. I wouldn't do much of anything for them. If it were me, I'd be busy into the forseeable future and let them find someone else to do the work. No, I wouldn't have a rude confrontation, I'd simply be unavailable. Maybe they'll figure it out, maybe they won't.
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Doesn't a lot of this depend on the friend you have, who the person is and how close a friend they are? I've got a best friend that I'd do anything for if it was within my capability and on the outset, appears to not going to cost me something exorbitant. He's rarely asked me for anything and when I've been in need and asked him to go out of his way for me, he's done it without question. I know what when I have an emergency, he will be there to help me and he knows the reverse is true. It may be that we don't even think of taking advantage of each other because we both know that if it comes down to something really important, we're both willing to go the extra distance for each other. I call this person my best friend and I wouldn't have it any other way.
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When I have a project beyond my skills and I have a friend, neighbor, inlaw, aquaintance that I know will do a good job, I insist on them NOT to give me a discount. I want a job well done and am willing to pay for it. It's not fair to them. Though they usually insist. I also help any way I can without getting in the way. I have a neighbor in the Home improve biz and asked his advice on patching my roof after a large limb fell on it and created some minor leaks. He went to his house 3 doors down, cut some coil stock, slid it under the damaged shingles and nailed it down. 15-20 minutes max. Done. He would not accept a penny. He did get a gift cert in the mail for the restaurant of his choice along with a sincere thank you.
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wrote:

The OP painted a picture of friends that used him for free labor and knowledge on a major project and couldn't even go so far as to think of him when carry out food was ordered.
It's that kind of situation I was addressing.
The kind of friend you mention is a whole different ballgame. I don't think the OP has that kind of relationship with them. Of course you go the extra mile, heck, the extra hundred miles for a friend that's like a brother.
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On Mon, 28 Aug 2006 13:42:55 +0100, woodpassion
wrote:

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This is a troll, right? Not to say this hasn't been a great thread to read, but this is the only post this person has made on usenet that I could find. Hasn't even chimed in on his own thread.
Curious minds wonder, and in my case, sometimes wander.
Troll or not, dropkick those bastids through the goal posts of life, and get on with your own. You'll be better off without that baggage.
Regards, Roy
On Mon, 28 Aug 2006 13:42:55 +0100, woodpassion
wrote:

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Funny, I was thinking that a little earlier today. Seems to me we had a similar troll a couple of weeks ago.
(If Locutus or TBM (that's a GM built Avenger, right?) feel put upon not being able to read all that led up to your post and my response, then they're just being obtuse about an out of date and much abused practice.)

--
LRod

Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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