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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.

badbaduncle · 26/09/2022 22:25

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.

My bff gets a freebie because she always helps me - DS stayed with her for a month in the summer when he did work experience in central london!


WhileMyGuitarGentlyWeeps · 26/09/2022 22:27

I get you @kensington09 DH has a bit of a niche job that people want his services for, and he does another job part time. Both completely different skills. If I had a pound for the amount of times he had had someone say 'you can come do mine if you have a spare hour/few hours, ha ha ha... ' Grin we would have enough money for neither of us to work again. When he says 'I can email you my rates if you want,' they looked shocked, and somewhat slighted. Like 'whaaaa??? You're going to charge me?!' Shock

I also have a job where I have been asked and expected MULTIPLE times to do it for someone for FREE. It boils my fucking piss tbh. Who do they think they are, that me and DH will do our actual JOB free of charge for them? A+ cheekyfuckery. But yeah, no-one wants mates rates, they want it for freeeeeee.


FourChimneys · 26/09/2022 22:34

I run my own business and have done for 20 years. No mates rates here.

I have occasionally charged a client less when I know they are struggling financially but that always comes from me, not them.


LimeTwists · 26/09/2022 22:38

No - my time is worth what I charge. Me being friends with someone doesn’t alter that. If people wish to pay someone else to do it for less then that’s their choice.


baffledcoconut · 26/09/2022 22:42

My friends always pay a little more even if I refuse to accept it. My mates support what I do. They’ll get bonuses and little extras because they clearly value our friendship.


Sonineties · 26/09/2022 22:52

I think it’s OK to charge friends and family full price
BUT if so
don’t be like my CF osteopath friend who charged me full very serious money whack but then was

a) late
b) spent first 10 minutes of the appointment talking about her kid
c) finished the appointment 5 mins early so she could go and fetch her kid because she “knew I wouldn’t mind”


RainbowSlide · 26/09/2022 22:52

My mate runs her business and always feels bad charging her mates full rates, but we all insist as we value her time and want to support her business. Its massively cheeky to ask for mates rates! I agree with other posters that mates rates probably only works when the mates offer things reciprocally.


DosCervezas · 26/09/2022 22:58

I have a few friends and family in various trades, who are all busy and doing well. I don't actually use any of them for jobs I have as I know they'd not be comfortable charging the going rate, but I don't believe in hiring people and expecting mate's rates, so I use other people instead. It works for me.


Lbnc2021 · 26/09/2022 23:04

I’m self employed and when I first started I did offer mates rates/free sessions. These were the ones who least valued my time and effort, late, not following anything, or just not turning up, basically just taking the piss. So now it’s top dollar or hee haw.


caringcarer · 26/09/2022 23:16

Better to offer a small discount for repeat customers. That way you generate future business.


nonstoprenovation · 26/09/2022 23:21

Mates rates is the equivalent of you asking them for some of their salary.. which of course you'd never do!


AdoraBell · 26/09/2022 23:24

I have a friend who is an accountant, she doesn’t do work for friends. Never has and won’t change her mind.


Moonshine5 · 27/09/2022 03:27

Most people I know who have their own business always charge their friends / family more favourably i.e. less.
It appears to be the opposite case here on Mumsnet versus actual real life experience. As cited earlier my view is that in case I'm not happy if I accepted I would feel uncomfortable complaining so prefer to go elsewhere given a choice.


WiddlinDiddlin · 27/09/2022 04:54

No way.

I worked out under what circumstances I would do free/discounted work - that is for reg. charities and a set number of people on means tested benefits per year.

I only started doing that after the business was afloat and I was actually earning money and in a position to do that.

Then if people ask me I can say 'I'm sorry, I've done all my charity work for this year but if you're in need I can point you to someone else suitable in case they have a slot/put you on the list for next year's consideration'.

Then I let them know about doing this work for reg. charities and those on means tested benefits and as such requests almost NEVER come from either, they shuffle off!

None of my actual mates would ask, and family don't need the things I do (and there is only two of 'em anyway).

If a close friend were in need, I would offer, if I had the time and the desire to do so and if I thought it wouldn't risk the friendship - I would not leave them to ask in the first place.


washingbasketqueen · 27/09/2022 08:19

I wouldn't charge my close friends or family for my services, but I have a niche skill and it's unlikely they would need it- though I have been talking to one friend about it due to her sons difficulties. So I think it depends what your business is- photographer/ builder/ spark then you would be useful to many people so You could spend a long time doing people favours.


mountainsunsets · 27/09/2022 08:31

I run my own business and don't offer any discounts to anyone.

My time isn't worth less just because someone is related to me!


Wonnle · 27/09/2022 08:43

Depends on whether they have any skills/services that they could repay the favour with


chipauchoc · 27/09/2022 09:00

If you offer then mates rates or gift, if they ask then they pay the same as everyone else. Amazing how many 'friends' you'll have wanting things on the cheap. I've been stung many times and then don't hear from them until the next time they need your product/service. I've also had friends cut me off because I've said I can't do it for them at less than going rate. People are CFs


Alwayswonderedwhy · 27/09/2022 09:02

No. If they value what you do they won't ask.
Do employed people sometimes work below their hourly rate? Nope


MotherOfWhippets · 27/09/2022 09:05

I always think it must be a right pita to have a business like this or something like hairdressing - where everyone who has the slightest connection to you expect a discount.

I have a friend who is an artist - he doesn't do mates rates but for friends he will do a slightly bigger piece or help you frame it or whatever. That's nice enough.


KassandraOfSparta · 27/09/2022 09:08

Agree with everyone else - full price.

The only caveat would be if you were doing something like baking cakes and you typically added in a bit of "profit" to buying the ingredients as well as the labour costs. I probably wouldn't charge a premium for materials I had bought to a close friend but labour would be full charge.

If your business is a service one where in essence people are paying for your time and expertise like a dance teacher, website designer, artist, then there are no materials to be bought and everyone pays full whack.


AuntSalli · 27/09/2022 09:12

It’s actually taken me ages to get my father-in-law to come round and quote me for a bathroom because I think he thought I wanted him to do it for free where as I’m actually perfectly happy to pay, I just wanna keep it in the family and of course I can trust him to do a good job.


2bazookas · 27/09/2022 09:37

Don't do mates rates. Charge the same rates for all.

If you offer variable charges, you'll then have the embarassment of people you don't even know introducing themselves as a friend of your friend/brother/work colleague who has told them you only charged £100 and did a great job. When you reply, the charge to you will be £120 then you immediately have a disgruntled client who thinks they've been overcharged or taken for a ride.

Even worse, is offering a one-off freebie rescue to some poor deserving person .......who then tells her pals that if they play their cards right they can get the same at no cost :-(.


AloysiusBear · 27/09/2022 10:43

Im not a believer in mates rates.

However, I do think its worth being aware that lots of people asking for discounts etc can indicate that they don't perceive your pricing as representing good value, in which case you might want to rethink what you offer, whether the demand is there at a price point that makes you a decent profit.


Lastqueenofscotland2 · 27/09/2022 10:47

My friend does my nails for me and I’d not dream of asking for a discount!

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