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"Friends" Asking For Free Work

(127 Posts)
TheChandler Tue 18-Nov-14 07:30:07

Name-changed to avoid id.

I've been contacted 8 or 9 times in the last 6 months by friends/acquaintencies/DH's family asking for free advice/services relating to my job. Its really annoying. These requests usually come at weekends or evenings or, in the case of DH's family, on social visits ie when I'm relaxing.

Not only do I not want to give them free advice, because it inevitably involves sifting through the complex and often very personal details of their problem, it could get me into hot water professionally, as there are certain rules of engagement you should adhere to, not least for insurance purposes in case you get it wrong.

And its usually stuff they wouldn't bother paying for ie it doesn't bother them enough to actually pay for proper advice, but they obviously see me as a free source they can turn to at any time (quite often the requests come via FB). It puts me in a really embarrassing position, and I simply directed the last couple to websites where they could read material themselves which would give them the answers they wanted. I am now being called "stuck up" and a "snob" by these acquaintencies. I mean, seriously?

Any advice on ways of stopping these damned annoying requests for "freebies" coming through in the first place? Quite often I find myself being forced to be polite and give some very general comments, it wastes hours of my personal relaxation time and they inevitably don't act on it anyway.

bedraggledmumoftwo Tue 18-Nov-14 07:33:27

Could you say "sorry not my area?" i am an accountant but if someone asked me for tax advice i couldn't really help without researching.

Treaclepot Tue 18-Nov-14 07:35:22

I have the same, I have a mates rates and tell people that if they want they can book in, esp if they could potentially sue you!
, my mate is a GP they've had to accept that they will constantly be asked stuff, and when they don't want to they just 'oh shit I didn't realise I was still in clinic'

Altinkum Tue 18-Nov-14 07:35:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheChandler Tue 18-Nov-14 07:40:28

Yes I do say the "sorry, not my area thing" (and it usually isn't as I'm quite specialist now although obviously I've done all the general stuff), hence some of the snob remarks. (I actually had a really venomous personal attack on FB recently from a friend of a friend and I'm pretty sure refusing to do the "freebie" was related to this - too totally bizarre even to take seriously but I'm thinking "how on earth did I get involved in this?")

I've thought its maybe a way of bringing in business, but again, I'm specialist now, don't want this type of work, neither does my firm, and these acquainencies quite often start with the words "Can you do me a freebie"... offers of work tend to come in with the words "How much would you charge for"...

CerealMom Tue 18-Nov-14 07:46:36

OK, I'm going to assume you're a financial advisor/solicitor/accountant/architect type. Easiest way to avoid giving free advice is to either...

* Not respond over fb - ignore. Oh sorry, I don't read emails/fb late at night etc...

If you still get the rude comments then explain that you are not allowed to give advice other than through the correct channels - WORK ie ACCA accredited rather than ACA (own business). You are allowed to make this up ;-)

I used to get this all the time (finance).

purplemurple1 Tue 18-Nov-14 07:53:58

I normally just give a heart parsed response ans say I've not worked in that area but they could find info on web site x. Or just say I'm not insured and would lose my job if the info was wrong/ I'm not allowed to give freebies, blaming my employer. If they persist could you ask for a freebie back for the same value?

notagainffffffffs Tue 18-Nov-14 07:55:18

I get this alot, im a hairdresser and am constantly being asked to do little bits here and there in my own personal time. Very irritating.

EverythingsRunningAway Tue 18-Nov-14 08:05:30

How about just ignore the requests?

Like on FB - just don't respond.

I guess if it's face to face just say you can't help with that. But otherwise, just ignore the message.

EverythingsRunningAway Tue 18-Nov-14 08:06:57

Can you do me a freebie?

No, I don't do freebies.

TheChandler Tue 18-Nov-14 08:12:10

Yes, there are various ways of dealing with it, but I would prefer if people didn't ask in the first place. Its also pretty embarrassing to ignore a lengthy description of a personal problem sent to you on FB - and it is amazing the stuff people will tell you about their problem, without being asked, without being prompted, without even asking if its all right to send you it!

Theres some kind of myth going about that solicitors "give" a free half hour of advice. While some may do, I don't, and I'm pretty sure that anything you get in that half hour is aimed at retaining you as a paying client, listening to the details and giving you Terms of Business. And it certainly doesn't operate on the internet late at night and at weekends!

Aeroflotgirl Tue 18-Nov-14 08:13:12

Just say tgat no sorry you are not able to as your very busy and it could get you into trouble. Tell them you have the phone numbers of some good lawyers, accountants etc if they wish.

Aeroflotgirl Tue 18-Nov-14 08:13:42

Tge more you say no sorry, they won't ask

ArthurShappey Tue 18-Nov-14 08:15:47

If you're in law or medicine this seems to go with the territory. You're just going to have to keep refusing, unethical, not your field etc... They'll soon get the message.

ArthurShappey Tue 18-Nov-14 08:16:31

Oh and ditch Facebook.

ScrambledSmegs Tue 18-Nov-14 08:19:08

'Stuck up' 'Snob'


Disclaimer - had only 3 hours sleep. Unlikely to give reasonable advice.

sillymillyb Tue 18-Nov-14 08:20:43

Can you not just say, oh I'm sorry that's not my area - I've heard firm x are good though, their number is xyz.

That way you are being helpful, but not dismissing it out of hand.

atticusclaw Tue 18-Nov-14 08:21:20

I get this a lot too (also a solicitor). I do often say "I'm really sorry I know nothing about x" and use the analogy of asking a gynaecologist about your tooth ache. I've also told people that I'm not insured to give out advice in that way. Other tactic is to say "It's not my area but I can refer you to x who charges £200 an hour." They soon disappear. You just have to be firm I think.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Tue 18-Nov-14 08:23:22

"Sorry, am off duty at the moment, why dont you ring my office tomorrow and I'll book you in properly?"

Repeat ad nauseum.

Id be past caring if people thought me a snob for that - everyone is allowed down time. My friend is a GP and I never ask her a thing!

WaitingForMe Tue 18-Nov-14 08:23:27

I get this a fair bit and actually ended a friendship over it. I had dinner with this woman and basically gave her two hours of marketing consultancy which she then sneered at. I think a key part of the problem was that because she wasn't paying, she didn't respect my time as much.

I now only give vague suggestions or they can book an appointment at my office during office hours. I wouldn't charge as I do free consultations but I'd want them to have taken the time off work for the appointment.

whois Tue 18-Nov-14 08:26:16

And anyone who has s rant at your for not doing them a freebie isn't a nice person and isn't worth your friendship.

zzzzz Tue 18-Nov-14 08:27:40

On some level I feel sympathy, but on another I do think life is about helping other people. I don't do anything like as professional job as you, but am asked to give time and advice VERY regularly. Most of this surrounds my children's disabilities, parenting and cooking. To be honest I don't always feel like explaining the impact of diagnosis, nor "how to....", especially in my VERY VERY rare moments of relaxation. It's part of life though isn't it?

That said if someone was rude to me on FB because I was too tired to talk to them, they wouldn't be on my "friends" list.

FB and any serious profession don't really mix.

rollonthesummer Tue 18-Nov-14 08:27:43

"Sorry, am off duty at the moment, why dont you ring my office tomorrow and I'll book you in properly?"

That is perfect!

Rosa Tue 18-Nov-14 08:30:47

' I would rather people don't ask in the first place '... Well they will so you have to give responses. Or come up with good one liners - there are some good ones on here.
I can think of many careers / jobs where people will ask anyway .
Doctors / medical staff, lawyers, accountants, teachers plus many more. I work in tourism and what others pay me to do others expect I will give the advice for free.
Say you have changed your job ????

makeitabetterplace Tue 18-Nov-14 08:33:23

Could you say that your rules of employment have changed now so you can't do mates work outside of hours?

I used to do a job which people were always asking/hinting at me to do for free for them. People would even be super friendly to me for a month or so leading up to the request. This was work that I'd normally charge about £600 for and took hours of my time and at least £100 of materials.

In the end i commented on a few people's requests 'so and so asked me to do x but they don't realise it puts me out of pocket and takes me hours and hours.' I said this enough times to enough people that people no longer ask and when I do it for free for people they appreciate it a bit more!

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