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  1. #1
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    Charging Friends

    What do you guys do when a friend asks you to build a website? Do you charge them your normal rates, a fraction of your normal rates or nothing at all?

    A friend of mine has asked me to create a small business website for them and I'm feeling a bit awkward asking to be paid (I could do with the money though ).

  2. #2
    SitePoint Mentor bronze trophy

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    I always charge friends. I treat it like any other business relationship and follow the same procedures as I would with any client. That definitely means a contract. Whether you want a deposit is I guess down to you. Doing it this way is beneficial to both of you. There's no arguments, no confusion, no tension. You offer a guaranteed delivery date, you set up a project time table, a payment structure and make it clear what is included and what isn't.

    I would give a slightly reduced rate, but remember that time spent on this job means less time spent on higher paying jobs, so put it into perspective. If you're busy and it's going to interfere with other work, explain this to your friend so he understands why you need to charge him the going rate.

    To be honest, most of my friends are just dreamers when it comes to web sites and most of these sites never come to fruition, so I wouldn't even think about spending any time on this until your friend shows some serious intent - for example, get him to create all the page content first, get him to create a business plan etc.

  3. #3
    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    I agree with shadow, especially about the contract. You may feel awkward or think maybe your friend will think you dont trust him or whatever, but the contract is there to protect BOTH of you. Just assure him you will treat him as ou would any client and this is the way you do business!
    Sara

  4. #4
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    Thanks for that, makes me feel more comfortable asking for payment. I'll probably charge them less but will let them know I'm doing that.

    I can definitely imagine arguments and friction further down the line if there aren't clear lines drawn or if they start expecting loads of work for next to nothing. So yes, I'll get a contract together.

  5. #5
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    I certainly agree with both ses and shadow. Whenever a friend or relative asks you to do work for them, you need to separate personal from business. Although it doesn't look like you were asked to do it for cheaper even if you are, ask yourself what kind of discount they allow you if you do business with them?
    Linda Jenkinson
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Evangelist bronze trophy Derek Sheppard's Avatar
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    What kind of friend would ask you to work without money? When I ask a friend for a favor, I pay him more than the usual. Because he's a friend.

  7. #7
    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Sheppard
    What kind of friend would ask you to work without money? When I ask a friend for a favor, I pay him more than the usual. Because he's a friend.
    I agree with that. I asked a friend for some server help recently and I wouldn't have let him do the work without paying him.
    Sara

  8. #8
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    i would not charge a friend ...If he/she is a good friend they would figure it out for themselves...I persnally would pay even if a very good friend is doing this for me ,but maybe your friends have some sort of financial problems ..Then why not giving them a hand?

  9. #9
    My true identity MaxS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ses5909
    I agree with that. I asked a friend for some server help recently and I wouldn't have let him do the work without paying him.
    Agreed. I always ask friends for help with server issues/coding issues and I never accept help for free.

    On the same topic, what about family? Would you not give a discount to family?

  10. #10
    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxS
    Agreed. I always ask friends for help with server issues/coding issues and I never accept help for free.

    On the same topic, what about family? Would you not give a discount to family?
    I treat family the same way. One of the first websites I did was for my dad and it was free. Saying this, I didn't know what the heck I was doing. Fastforward several years and I built a website for him he paid just like everyone else. He did get a discount, but I made sure I was still getting paid fairly. Dad is a good customer and I'm sure I will do more in the future for him. Plus he has referred us a couple of times now.
    Sara

  11. #11
    SitePoint Evangelist DMacedo's Avatar
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    Cool

    Friends or family are an important part of our life, and while it's important to keep personal and business relations apart, it isn't a regular client.

    I agree with a nice discount, and it's as if you sold goods at the cost price, but now you're dealing with your time and knowledge.

    I always handle any work professionally, but I can't agree in ignoring personal relations completely.
    ~ Daniel Macedo

  12. #12
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    i would never charge family ,but i guess family is a really broad concept ....my father and mother and my gradparents-definitely not!of course i would be really glad to help them with everything which i can ,when they love me so much and have done so much for me ..i think love is not really measurable in money terms ,because is much more fundamental and meaningful than money-.But for distant relatives which i have hardly seen ,asking me for free favours seems like they would like to use their relatives to take some sort of advantage ,so i would give it a serios thought if i have to do something like this..

  13. #13
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Also, it depends on the friend. I have a good friend who I do work for all the time. He's a successful, experienced businessman and we go without a contract. My partner is a good friend from high school. It can be fine.

    Doing business with friends is great, as long as the friends are good businesspeople. If there is doubt, get it in writing.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

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  14. #14
    King of Paralysis by Analysis bronze trophy
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    Unless you're desperate for the business I wouldn't do business with friends, it's too easy to mess up a friendship that way.

    Trust me, been there, done that.

  15. #15
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    About 25% of my business is with friends this year., and business has never been better.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

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  16. #16
    SitePoint Addict shaxs's Avatar
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    I agree with everyone here are different parts. It really depnds on the friend or family member. I tried to give my uncle a break and cut his church a great deal. Now hes raking me over the coals and taking advantage of our relationship. Franky, I am a little miffed and have no desire to see him next month at the family reunion. I should have known better.

  17. #17
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Yea, but it's not much different from regular clients. Over time, you can tell which ones are going to be problematic. I have clients that use contracts with, and clients that have been going on handshakes for years. Family is the same.

    But, when family deals go wrong, it can be pretty uncomfortable.
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

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  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard LiquidReflex's Avatar
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    I think it depends on who the family/friend is, what the project is and what it's for.

    For example, I have plenty of friends that know what I do for a living. If every one of them wanted me to create a website for them, I'd be spending all of my time on free projects and not making any money. Just because they're friends doesn't mean that they get free stuff. If a friend works at a restaurant, I don't get free food because they work there.

    However, if it's something small or a project that sounds fun, I may do it for free. Perhaps it's a simple project that wouldn't take long or one that I'd really like to do but I know they'd never pay to have it done ... maybe I'd take it on. For example, I did a video slideshow for a friend's wedding reception. It was a fun project and they were on a tight budget for the wedding already and really didn't want to pay $500 for one, so I gave it to them as part of a wedding gift. But this is definitely not in the majority.

    Finally, it's going to depend on what the project is for. If my buddy wants a quick invitation created for his themed party, maybe I'll just do it for fun ... if it's a magazine ad for his business, probably not. If my family/friend is running a business, they should understand that I am also a business ... they don't provide free products and neither do I. It's one thing if it's a personal project, but when it comes to business and something that may turn a profit and provides a write-off, I will usually bill out as usual. That may seem harsh, but like I say: friends are friends and business is business.

    So, if you're my friend, you may have a slight chance of getting some free work out of me ... but it will have to be the right project, otherwise invoices are due net 30. :P
    Kevin Hauge : Modern Leaf Design : Follow Us on Facebook
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  19. #19
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    I once made a site for a family friend, i felt bad charging so decided not to but he payed me $300 for a $30 job :P

  20. #20
    SitePoint Addict soccerfriend's Avatar
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    if it is your real friend he won't let you work for no pay.. if it is just the guy you know but not your real friend you must charge him..

    i actually charged my friends about 20% less then I would charge regular clients
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