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
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.
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.
I like that answer. It's either friends or an arms-length relationship, but
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 --
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
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
After the shock and the laughter, she decided that free was better...
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
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.)
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
4. For this couple, triple the amount in step 3.
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?
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.
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
If I'm expecting a passenger to share costs, or a woodworking customer
to pay me, we discuss all the details ahead of time.
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
Bonanza training wheels. <G>
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
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.
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.
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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