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Mates Rates

(40 Posts)
GrandMarmoset Tue 26-Apr-16 11:36:00

AIBU to be getting royally pissed off? I have always struggled financially (single mum, lowish income etc.) and a year ago decided to quit and start my own business. This was never going to make much money. I accepted that I would be far worse off, but it was more a quality of life issue. My charges are competitive and people I haven't met previously never question them. However, my friends who are without exception, far better off than me, invariably ask for mates rates. Some even tell me what they will pay me, not even asking my rates. Now, I do appreciate them giving me the business, but if I was supporting a friend in a new venture, I would absolutely insist on paying the going rate. I have done all these jobs at vastly reduced rates but as I am living hand-to-mouth, I am beginning to get fed up. AIBU or am I a mug? I'm really bad at confrontation and discussing money.

TheoriginalLEM Tue 26-Apr-16 11:40:20

my dp is a carpenter and i go very quiet when friends ask for work to be done. we just cannot afford to do mates rates but would feel uncomfortable charging friends full price.

BarbaraofSeville Tue 26-Apr-16 11:49:28


One of the reasons DPs business failed was that too many people expected mates rates. It was simply impossible to make any money as he knew almost all of his potential customers and it left us in debt for years afterwards.

From now on you need to be very clear that it is your livelihood and you cannot afford to supply your product/service on the cheap.

Shoxfordian Tue 26-Apr-16 11:52:13

I think you shld be straightforward with people asking for mates rates and just say how much time/materials it will cost you and that you can't take less than your normal rate. I know it's awkward but this will save you from future work that isn't paying you enough. Think you have to just be honest and refuse to do it if they're not paying you your usual rate.

ImperialBlether Tue 26-Apr-16 11:55:33

They are being really cheeky. Tell them there's no such thing as mates' rates.

tangerino Tue 26-Apr-16 11:55:43

I definitely wouldn't agree to mates rates- people are cheeky to ask. Noone would dream of asking you to give them cash from your pocket but somehow it's ok if it's a discount on a product.

I'd just say no. If they push it, say your margins are already so low that you can't take anything further off. If they say anything else, fuck 'em.

charlestonchaplin Tue 26-Apr-16 11:56:15

Just say in a jokey tone, 'I'll go bankrupt if I keep charging mates rates. You don't want to see me and the kids on the streets, do you?'. I don't think they'd dare after that.

tangerino Tue 26-Apr-16 11:56:49

"I tend to find my mates are all keen to pay the full asking price" wink

Nocabbageinmyeye Tue 26-Apr-16 11:57:23

Yanbu but you need to nip it in the bud or it will become the norm. We had work done recently by a friend, when we asked for the quote we made sure to say your rate is your rate and that's what we pay, the perk of asking a mate is knowing the quote will be fair and we won't be fleeced not to get it cheaper just that we were clueless and had we asked another tradesperson we wouldn't know if they were embellishing the work required. That security is perk enough, cheeky sods

nilbyname Tue 26-Apr-16 11:58:26

My friend started a business and did everything for quite a bit less than market value, then when she was established she put her prices up. It worked and no one questioned her about it.

Could you do something like that- say you've been happy to offer reduced rates for good experience and word of mouth but now you're going to be raising your prices in line with market values as you're more established and need to make the business pay for itself now?

Falling270 Tue 26-Apr-16 11:59:11

If they ask for mates rates just laugh it off and say "any margins are so small I'd be doing it for you at my own expense/ loss for that price! Sorry I can't afford to do that. It's £xx let me know if you want to go ahead I do really appreciate the business smile"

Don't be taken for a mug. You're not being "mean" by refusing to work for free.

AddToBasket Tue 26-Apr-16 12:02:29

Are you getting promoted by these people? If it's to increase business by word of mouth then sometimes mates rates is worth doing. Also, I like helping my friends so I do stuff for them at the weekend. However, it depends on your fixed costs and also how busy you are - obviously you can't take mates rates work over full paying customers.

RaeSkywalker Tue 26-Apr-16 12:04:38

Tell them no!

It's ok if it's reciprocal- my DH often helps his friends out and they then do something for us in turn. It's always in their spare time, it doesn't take up business hours. This is eating into your only source of income- it needs to stop.

One of my friends does my gel nails every fortnight. I pay her the going rate and wouldn't dream of doing otherwise!

whois Tue 26-Apr-16 12:07:24

exactly what Falling270 said. Worded that really well.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Tue 26-Apr-16 12:08:36

I believe in paying a fair price. I expect to be paid properly for my work so I couldn't not do the same in good conscience.

Don't take on work from friends until you have agreed a price and don't agree a price that doesn't work for you. Then it's up to them. If you get any push back you say "sorry I have to prioritise customers paying full price so I can't fit you in at the moment you cheeky article. If things get less busy I'll see if I can fit you in which I won't unless you pay a fair price "

You wouldn't dream of going to a mate and demanding £50 and yet this is exactly the same thing.

ChihuahuaChick Tue 26-Apr-16 12:10:50

We're really skint, but would never ask for mate's rates - that's something to be offered, never asked for or expected. The most I'd expect is not to be upsold to in order to keep costs down.

RB68 Tue 26-Apr-16 12:11:28

I have just said mates pay the asking rate cos they are my mates. I would also say I charge a fair price and if you do offer a discount for multi buys or special offers say you will let them know first.

I think it is worth all of us being aware if we ask for cheaper or better pricing how we would feel if the "favour" was returned and we were asked to take less salary as we are mates with the boss!!

Moomintroll85 Tue 26-Apr-16 12:14:46

I would never ask for mates rates. It's surely down to the person doing the work to offer them if they wish to otherwise it's the normal price!

IAmNotAMindReader Tue 26-Apr-16 12:15:03

You could always quote an inflated price first of up to ten percent more to those who are asking (for mates rates) and then if they whine for more discount reset back to the normal price.

MrsHathaway Tue 26-Apr-16 12:16:49

If it means you can't take some properly paid work, you should absolutely refuse.

If it's something you could do on top of normal work then you might consider it a gift - eg a baker might do her friend's wedding cake for the cost of materials, and the time/electricity etc would be the wedding gift. DM's friend made my wedding dress at cost in return for DM helping her with a non-work project.

Or if friend was on bones of arse and you would be making the difference between eg getting the roof mended or having rainwater pouring into the bedroom, again you might be happy to donate your services at cost.

But if you're just saving them money, hmm. There are disadvantages to working for friends, like awkwardness over disputes or expectations, so it may be easier just to say you prefer not to work for friends. Depends what your business is of course.

GrandMarmoset Tue 26-Apr-16 12:19:37

Thank you all for really useful input. You have given me the confidence boost I needed to be firmer. I accepted a job this morning at vastly reduced rates but said as an introductory offer. That will be the last time though. Thanks once again. :-D

PointlessFriend Tue 26-Apr-16 12:21:36

I love having 'mates' do work but I wouldn't want to pay mates rates as it would feel wrong. I'm delighted to have someone do something for me who I can trust to do a good job and who won't rip me off.

If someone asked for mates rates I'd decline.

thedancingbear Tue 26-Apr-16 12:25:36

What everyone else says. If it's a mate I'd expect to pay/be paid full whack. That's what mates do for each other.

I mean, I might (and have) knocked 10% off or something like that - I'd do that for any customer who asked nicely - but I can't afford to work at a loss.

AnUtterIdiot Tue 26-Apr-16 12:29:33

Mates' rates are a favour, not a right. I do work at mates' rates when I have the capacity and if they are a proper friend. If I don't want to do it, I just tell them I don't have the capacity at the moment and recommend someone who can.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Tue 26-Apr-16 12:31:08

I used to be self-employed and would offer a small reduction in cost for friends, but not a massive one (think £5 off sort of thing).
Most of my friends appreciated that it was my source of income and that it would be unreasonable to chouse me out of my income though!

If yours are all so willing to take advantage of you, then they're not that good as friends!

DH has a friend over here who is a plumber. He doesn't do mates' rates, as such, but he does give us cost price on the items he gets for us. So it doesn't cost him anything in real terms, we're still paying him properly for his time, but he doesn't get the "top up" he would get if he charged us "retail" price on the goods.

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