To not do work that I would charge a client a lot of money for free for a friend

(57 Posts)
CambridgeBlue Mon 29-Apr-13 13:16:09

Someone I know (let's call him Alan) has asked me to do some work for him for which I would normally charge several hundred pounds. I could do it quickly and easily as a favour but I don't see why I should especially as another person in our circle (Dave) is in the same business as me and Alan often puts work his way.

I am happy to do the odd favour for friends and sometimes it has led to paid work, other times I've just been happy to help. But helping Alan definitely won't gain me anything as he refers any work he gets in this line to Dave. I think he just wants a freebie and possibly thinks I'll be flattered to have been asked - I'm not!

AIBU to think he's taking the piss and if I'm not, how do I politely tell him where to go without making things awkward in our group of mates?

Llareggub Mon 29-Apr-13 13:18:11

Just say you are too busy.

ChasingSquirrels Mon 29-Apr-13 13:18:13

Has he actually asked you to for it for freeo are you assuming?

I would say of course I can do it, my fee would be £x and would he like to proceed?

nenevomito Mon 29-Apr-13 13:18:44

No I don't think YABU at all. If its your business and your livelihood then they should pay for your services - even if its mates rates. If he threw work your way regularly then it may be different.

Ask him if he'd do his job for free!

GladbagsGold Mon 29-Apr-13 13:19:43

I'd say he could have it at mates rates. And charge whatever you feel like!

raspberryroop Mon 29-Apr-13 13:21:36

Tell him what you going rate !

ImperialBlether Mon 29-Apr-13 13:22:46

I'd be upfront and say, "I'm surprised you're asking me when you normally give your work to Dave." He's got a nerve if he's expecting you to do it for free when his friend would charge him.

WilsonFrickett Mon 29-Apr-13 13:23:31

You just have to say no - or as others have said, assume it's a paid job and quote him a mate's rate. If it makes things awkward, then unfortunately it makes things awkward. It'll be more awkward if you do it for nothing, don't get any further work out of it, then he asks again in a couple of months and you say no then, won't it?

ParsingFancy Mon 29-Apr-13 13:26:33


So Alan understands this is work he would usually have to pay for. And has a regular man who does it.

But rather than either a) pay or b) ask regular man for freebie, he's asked you for freebie?

That's very, very odd. It suggests he values you a great deal less as a person and as a professional than regular man.

Don't want to leap to a conclusion here, but is it possible regular man is a clue?

SarahAndFuck Mon 29-Apr-13 13:29:37

Is there any chance that Dave is too busy to accept it as paid work so Alan has decided to chance his arm asking you to do it for free?

YANBU. Either tell him you are too busy or tell him you will put a quote together for your fee.

I have to agree with ParsingFancy about the regular 'man' being a clue to why he's done this.

LessMissAbs Mon 29-Apr-13 13:29:48

He's trying it on and is a condescending twat, counting on you being embarrassed enough to do it for free. Tell him you'll only do it if he is a paying client, otherwise you're not interested

StuntGirl Mon 29-Apr-13 13:30:26

Has he explicitly said he expects it for free? I agree with those above, say "Lovely, my fee is X per hour. Would you like me to send you the contract to sign?"

Mintyy Mon 29-Apr-13 13:35:46

Can you just clarify that he definitely expects it to be done for free?

MummytoKatie Mon 29-Apr-13 13:41:59

"That's fine. For friends I charge £xxx for this type of work. Does that work for you or would you rather get Dave to do it?"

Thumbwitch Mon 29-Apr-13 13:44:18

Of course YANBU! He is chancing his arm, if he's said he wants it as a favour rather than paying for it.

Say you'd be happy to do it for him and this is the price. If he baulks at the price (and tbh I'd want to get paid up front under the circs) then say you're very sorry but you don't have the time to give away for free; times are tight for everyone and you have to make a living same as everyone else. Hopefully that will make HIM realise how rude he's being.

Lazyjaney Mon 29-Apr-13 13:45:56

Tell him you will do it at the same rate Dave does it If he is asking for it for free and won't pay for it he's not really a friend.

CandidaDoyle Mon 29-Apr-13 13:48:01


My BIL is a highly skilled tradesman. He gets pissed off by mating asking him to provide his services for free. He's self employed, so if he's doing a freebie he's losing income. He just tells them he'll consider it if they're prepared to take annual leave from work and come and work on his house for free.

Snazzynewyear Mon 29-Apr-13 13:51:29

Yes, he's trying to get it for nothing. I bet Dave is currently busy. Say 'this is my quote for the work' and see what happens then. My bet is that you won't hear anymore.

LastMangoInParis Mon 29-Apr-13 13:52:50

YABU for even entertaining the thought that YWBU to expect him to pay or piss off. Of course he's taking the piss. YANBU to be very annoyed. So, you tell him what the work will cost him. Simple as that.

BTW, Lazyjaney, I don't get the bit where you advise OP to say she'll do job at Dave's rates? Why Dave's rates instead of OP's usual rate?confused

quoteunquote Mon 29-Apr-13 13:56:59

What does he do for a job, could you arrange an exchange?

We run a construction and service company, I'm constantly amazed at how many people think we want to work for free, but I often do exchanges, works well for everyone.

just say I can do it, but I have to do all my paid work first, then if he asks again say well I can put you to the top of the pile but it will have to be paid.

I'd offer a quote, I don't think you should do it for nothing

cuillereasoupe Mon 29-Apr-13 14:01:24

YANBU. A woman I work with once in a blue moon asked me last week if I could do do a bit of work for her daughter for free. I put her off saying I was too busy, so she passed my email on to her daughter so she could plead her case. Bloody cheek.

WeAreEternal Mon 29-Apr-13 14:04:34

IIWM I would say "yes of course I can help you out, and of course as a friend I will do it for 'mates rates'"
Then I'd knock a bit of money off and tell him that's how much it will cost.

That's fair and you are still doing him a favour without giving up your time for free.

facedontfit Mon 29-Apr-13 14:05:27

Thought it was just my OH who works for people who are far far better off than us for free.

elfycat Mon 29-Apr-13 14:06:03

Is Dave fed up with this freeloader? Is that why you've been asked?

Say you can do it at mates rate and then charge 10% more than your regular fee.

CambridgeBlue Mon 29-Apr-13 14:09:08

Thanks all, I was wondering if I was being a bit churlish but it seems not smile

Alan's a bit of a Jack the Lad, very successful because he's got the gift of the gab (and is probably very good at what he does). He asked me this (making it clear it was a 'favour') in front of a crowd which put me on the spot. I managed to laugh it off but this morning he texted me saying 'how is x coming along ha ha'. I replied that I'd been too busy and why didn't he ask Dave like he normally did.

I will see him later and bet it will come up again (which is why I wanted some feedback). I can't say too much because Dave's wife will be there and I don't want to make things even more awkward so I think I will just have to say I'm too busy and hope he takes the hint even though I'd prefer to be much more blunt.

I think it's true he might see a woman as more likely to succumb to his charms and do the favour - I'm sure he wouldn't ask Dave for a freebie in the same way. He is generous with his own expertise but what he does is not something I'm likely to have a use for any time soon - if he owned a restaurant or ran a spa I might find a way of getting the favour returned but his industry is something much duller!

MortifiedAdams Mon 29-Apr-13 14:12:11

"Im too busy to take on unpaid work at the moment, but I charge X so if you need it doing I can for that price"

ParsingFancy Mon 29-Apr-13 14:12:12

Aha, elfycat, you may have it there.

ParsingFancy Mon 29-Apr-13 14:13:03

Ooh, x-posted with update!

Sugarice Mon 29-Apr-13 14:18:38

Send him an estimate for the work.

CambridgeBlue Mon 29-Apr-13 14:24:23

elfycat I like your style smile

Thumbwitch Mon 29-Apr-13 14:26:11

Well when you see him again just say that you assumed he was joking as you just knew he wouldn't have seriously expected you to work for free. See how he likes them biscuits.

elfycat Mon 29-Apr-13 15:23:30

I figure mate-rates are more effort than they're worth at times, and therefore the price should reflect the effort!

says someone who does a generous mates rates on my complementary therapy

Pilgit Mon 29-Apr-13 16:28:00

I have a rule - I don't pay mates rates. If I need work doing and use a friend I make it clear that I expect to be charged their usual rate (if they then choose to discount I don't complain but that is their choice). It isn't fair to them and takes money out of their pocket. The value of the friendship means they should be treated as professionals and is more important than getting something on the cheap.

weeblueberry Mon 29-Apr-13 16:31:56


DP is a photographer and people are constantly asking him to 'just come over and do some quick snaps' for free.

Cheeky buggers.

Areyoumadorisitme Mon 29-Apr-13 16:59:31

I think you said the right thing. I was going to suggest a comment along the lines of 'oh I thought you always dealt with Dave for plumbing/accounts etc'.

Let us know what he says later.

expatinscotland Mon 29-Apr-13 17:01:33

YANBU. Tell him, 'No. That doesn't work for me.'

ouryve Mon 29-Apr-13 17:02:51

YANBU. Mates rates are fair enough, but expecting the work to be done for free is taking the piss.

PiratePanda Mon 29-Apr-13 17:07:44

Give him your usual quote with a 10% mates rates discount - he'll never take the piss again smile


expatinscotland Mon 29-Apr-13 17:10:01

Or that response, 'I cannot take on unpaid work at the moment.' And be firm. He's taking the piss and expecting you to cave into him because he's doing it in public and you're female - he knows damn well what he's doing because he's a twunt.

thermalsinapril Mon 29-Apr-13 17:10:37

Ask him when he needs the quote by. Then when he says he thought you would do it for free, just laugh and say you don't think so - would he work for free?

pickledginger Mon 29-Apr-13 17:11:34

'I'm terribly sorry but that won't be possible.'

Or 'How were you planning to pay? Cash or card?'

ElsieOops Mon 29-Apr-13 17:15:21

I once just asked a friend about her dh doing some work for us (weren't looking for mates rates, just someone who I knew was good) and she immediately replied "He never works for friends or family". Seemed a bit sharp but I respected that as a reply - I can see that people would either want discounts or might go into a strop if anything went wrong.

kitbit Mon 29-Apr-13 17:16:11

'No' is what you should say.
And if pushed, say 'because I don't want to'.

That's very hard to push someone on without looking like an arse.

You might want to frill it up a bit though <grumpy today>

neunundneunzigluftballons Mon 29-Apr-13 17:16:27

This happens to my dh all the time. He pretends he misundertood what they were asking emails them a quote on company headed paper and waits to hear back. Funnily enough more often than not he gets the job smile and he has never fallen out with a friend over it although I would guess his ears have been buuuuurrrrrning on occasions while the friends bemoaned him. He doesn't care though.

expatinscotland Mon 29-Apr-13 18:11:17

And do not apologise. No 'I'm sorry'. For what? For his being a twat?

CruCru Mon 29-Apr-13 18:24:02

Not sure what you do but I wouldn't be allowed to do free work as I wouldn't have professional indemnity insurance.

Say you have too much paid work on. Or give a quote at your usual rate.

ParsingFancy Mon 29-Apr-13 18:55:27

Nooo! Don't say "I'm too busy." That suggests you would if you could.

Go with what Thumbwitch says: "I thought you were joking. If you really want me to do the work, I can quote you."

babybarrister Mon 29-Apr-13 19:42:44

Funny how everyone thinks it is perfectly normal and their right to have a free hour with a lawyer....envy

But the free half hour with the lawyer is not to have all the work done free. Its for the lawyer to ask some questions and decide if they want to take the client/work on, and for the client to find out if there's a legal route for their problem. Just like I go to see potential clients who get in touch via my website. Thats a free half hour for the client who wants to know if I can help them. Its not work its part of the marketing.
Op if daves wife is going to be there then ask in s loud voice if alan has fallen out with him. Put him on the spot and ask him straight out why on earth he thinks you work for free.

LastMangoInParis Mon 29-Apr-13 20:04:15

'I'm sorry'. For what? For his being a twat?
Exactly, expat! grin
Funny how everyone thinks it's perfectly normal and their right to have a free hour with a lawyer
Could this be because most solicitors firms offer free first consultations, babybarrister? Also, you know you could tell those vexatious would-be litigants that your expert advice is worth nothing (in a legal sense) when proffered in a social setting, right?

babybarrister Mon 29-Apr-13 20:33:09

When 'potential clients' ask for their free hour it is not socialgrin - what many do is then do the rounds collecting advice from various firms for nothing....
I am at the Bar so don't offer a free hour but am sometimes asked - this is not to meet me and size me up but essentially for me to advise for nothing ....

LastMangoInParis Mon 29-Apr-13 20:36:41

What are your clerks up to, babybarrister? hmm

LessMissAbs Mon 29-Apr-13 21:34:50

This free half hour with a lawyer seems to be a fiction perpetrated on the internet (on here it seems to have miraculously extended to an hour). If offered, its more of an introductory assessment so a potential client can be advised whether its worth the firm's taking on the case or not, and so the client can decide whether they want to pay for advice or legal work. Its not actually advice itself...that would require a terms of business letter to be issued, creating a contract.

CambridgeBlue Tue 30-Apr-13 07:12:37

So I saw Alan last night and I may have misjudged him (he is a nice bloke, just cheeky). He sidled up to me when nobody else was around and said in a really worried way 'did I piss you off this morning?' meaning when he had texted me. My snarky replies obviously had the desired effect! I just brushed it off, said he'd caught me at a busy moment, but I don't think he'll be pestering for freebies again - it was funny seeing him trying to talk to me without his wife noticing - he obviously hadn't told her he'd texted, probably because she would have told him to back off!

Areyoumadorisitme Tue 30-Apr-13 07:37:13

That worked well then. Glad it ended without you looking like the bad guy, him knowing that he was being cheeky you not being expected to do the work. Result all round.

expatinscotland Tue 30-Apr-13 08:45:44

It's cheeky to ask someone that, though. Just glad you didn't let him steamroll you into it. Time is money. Friends understand that.

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