My feed

to access all these features


Mates Rates?

66 replies

kensington09 · 26/09/2022 20:50


I have recently started up a small business from home. A family member (keeps on) asking if I am charging family / friends full price.

Does everyone give family / friends 'mates rates' while you are still trying to build up a decent profit?

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


You have one vote. All votes are anonymous.

Theredtoyphone · 26/09/2022 20:53

I have a couple of friends who have small businesses and I always make sure they charge me full price. I value their time and skill. Sounds like your family member is being a CF to me.

Pumpkinpatchlookinggood · 26/09/2022 20:54

Cleaner here. No family rates

kensington09 · 26/09/2022 20:58

Thank you. That’s the thing it is taking up a lot of time (alongside full time work) and I’m not wanting to give everybody a discount before I’m actually seeing anything from all the hard work. Hopefully a few months down the line, if things have increased a lot, I’d be happy to give away a few freebies to the people who have been there ordering from the beginning but Although it’s not being said I’m being made to feel stingy for charging the set prices

OP posts:
wtfisgoingonhere21 · 26/09/2022 21:04

Tell them no such thing as mates rates and actually if they were your friends they would want to support you by paying full price.

Discounts come with full paying loyalty

kensington09 · 26/09/2022 21:07

@wtfisgoingonhere21 thank you all. This has reassured me that I’m not being stingy here. Nobody else has actually asked and have all been happy to pay, saying it’s very good value. So I guess I’ll just continue as I am and if the business takes off, then offer something later down the line

OP posts:
Goldunicorn · 26/09/2022 21:14

No, now is the time you need the business.
if it’s a business that you’d budget for some marketing / promotional activity, then perhaps a discounted product / service in return for promotion might be something you’d consider …… but only if you can see the benefit too.

daisycup22 · 26/09/2022 21:22

I don't believe in mates rates! I believe in supporting your loved ones business. The only way I'd support that is if the discount was from them being able to get materials at trade prices. Eg if you knew someone in the plumbing trade fitting you a bathroom or kitchen and they got the bathroom at trade price but you still paid full price for the labour. I guess the rule is that you shouldn't go short for your friend or family member.

wtfisgoingonhere21 · 26/09/2022 21:25


I am self employed in my own business providing a service to clients.
The very loyal ones will get extras and treats etc as and when.

I've worked within the industry for over 27 years now and very early on I found it difficult to say no and wish I had more often as it made it harder further down the line however believe in your business and skills and start strong

kensington09 · 26/09/2022 21:28

@daisycup22 yes I agree with that. And I suppose because I wouldn’t expect anyone to give me it free I wasn’t sure if that was clouding my judgement

OP posts:
kensington09 · 26/09/2022 21:31

@wtfisgoingonhere21 that was another thing I was thinking - if it’s free / discounted now, is it forever because at what point can I turn round and then ask for payment / full price. It just makes it much more awkward. Where I suppose the discounted prices / free service will be a nice bonus when received. I’m just going to stick to my guns now & say that I will be charging the set price. Thank you all 😃

OP posts:
Coucous · 26/09/2022 21:33

Why are you telling the world? Your family and friends are not your customers - look elsewhere. Tell them when you are sold out.

DillonPanthersTexas · 26/09/2022 21:37

'Mates rates' are what cheeky fuckers ask for.

I'm a chartered engineer and I have lost count of the number of times some vague acquaintance has asked me to essentially design an extension or similar for them as if it is something you knock out over lunch. I'm not even that kind of engineer anyway.

MugginsOverEre · 26/09/2022 21:38

"I'm sorry, my business isn't established yet and turning over enough profits to do discounted work. I need to focus on paying customers"

Brokendaughter · 26/09/2022 21:58

Everybody will want 'mates rates', including the mates of mates & it never ends.
Don't even start it.
First it will be your brother (but he's family), then his girlfriend (she's my family too), then his girlfriends brother (you did it for her, he's her family) etc.. & they just seem to pour out of the woodwork.

No matter what discount they get, they'll somehow expect it to be bigger.

What stays the same though is how ballistic they'll go if they don't like the job & they'll be more inclined to mess you around because you are 'mates'.

The only people I ever did work for that wasn't full price were my parents (who I didn't actually charge at all) & one old pensioner who wanted something very special for herself that she'd saved years to try & get (but didn't actually have enough for the job).
That particular pensioner, it was only because I knew of her & the amount of help she'd spent her life giving other people & she never even knew she got a massive discount.

Don't do it if you want to retain any friendships or stay in business.
Friends wouldn't dump your friendship just because you can't afford to offer discounts.

Chattycathydoll · 26/09/2022 22:01

When I pay my crafty friend mates rates, what I actually mean is I pay her extra because she’s my mate and I want her to succeed.

ToffeePennie · 26/09/2022 22:02

In my business everyone’s already at “mates rates” prices anyway. My profit margins are stupidly slim because many more people open up a similar business and charge less for a crap service that people think is worth it!
people who I genuinely love get my services for free (my parents, inlaws and grandparents, siblings etc) because they babysit in return.

notanothertakeaway · 26/09/2022 22:03

Start as you mean to go on. You're running a business, not a hobby. Woukd these friends and family give you money from their own pocket?

tral · 26/09/2022 22:08

My best friend is a cleaner who used to do mate rates to like everyone 🤣 she would do mates rates for me, for my mum, for my dad, for her sister, for her sisters friend etc. However, with the cost of living crisis she understandably had to stop that. However, last time she did my house she did an extra hour and didn't charge me for it (she's too kind for her own good bless her). Wouldn't take money so I just dropped her a nice bottle of wine off.

Moonshine5 · 26/09/2022 22:12

I avoid using friends if I can help it as I can be quite pedantic/ particular (lol) therefore I have no issue tackling any quality/ standard issues that may occur. I like my friends and want to keep them!!

Heyisforhorses · 26/09/2022 22:15

If a friend sets up a business, I buy from website and not through them directly so theres no awkwardness. It's about supporting their business not grabbing cos they're friends. Once you're established run a 24 hour discount etc. To say thanks to all but that's when you're in a position to do it. Good luck with the business

NewPapaGuinea · 26/09/2022 22:16

Mates Rates is such BS. Your friends are basically saying they’d be willing to pay a stranger more and/or take away an opportunity from you to earn more from full paying customers.

Spidey66 · 26/09/2022 22:19

A close family member wanted mates rates on a business I had, and was quite shocked when I refused. Fortunately we managed to resolve the dispute but it could have become nasty.

Friends and business often don’t mix.

DelilahBucket · 26/09/2022 22:20

If you are serious about running an actual business, never ever mix it with friends and family, don't advertise it to them, and if they ask for discount then say no because they don't respect what you do.

caramelsauce · 26/09/2022 22:20

I think mates rates only works if it’s reciprocal. So I wouldn’t mind doing a discounted price for a friend/family member if they are in a position to give me a discount for something. This way it’s mutually beneficial. Unfortunately this is seldom the case and it’s just CFs asking.

badbaduncle · 26/09/2022 22:24

I provide a sought after niche service for young people so am inundated with requests to skip the waiting list, get a discount or freebie. I tell people who are chancers that 'the board' won't allow it 😂I let people I like skip the wait list and usually knock off my profit, I help my bffs kids for free. One man, the most chancey of all chancers is a slippery customer. I told him I charge double what I actually charge, but I'd do it half price for him, he was delighted and thinks I am even more successful as I can commend such a ludicrously high fee, so appreciates what we do far more than he ordinarily would. In fact, when I have helped this man for free in other areas of life - moving house etc - he was bloody rude! It's up to you what you do, you are quite entitled to charge for your work.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.