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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?

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Flibbertyjibbet Mon 29-Apr-13 20:02:09

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.

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