One of the hardest things about a home business is deciding what to charge your friends.
When you have a home business, especially one that offers services, it can be difficult to know when to draw the line. Are you helping a friend? Or have you been drawn into providing valuable services for insufficient compensation? It’s easy to tell someone who is a relative stranger that they need to pay you more, or that you have higher rates. But when a friend asks for a little help, or a little discount, or even free services, it’s hard to say no.
Because no one wants to get in a money confrontation with friends.
So far, I’ve been pretty lucky in terms of what I’ve been asked to do for friends. I had one friend ask me to look over a school essay for her, and I occasionally help relatives with their school papers. But it’s not usually onerous, and it hasn’t been much of a problem. And, even though I relax my rates in some cases, for very specific clients and in very specific cases, I haven’t had the difficulty of trying to explain my rates to friends.
But what would happen if I did?
Do Your Friends Value What You Do in Your Home Business?
The inspiration for this post comes from someone I know. She confided to me that one of her friends occasionally asks her to watch the kids. My friend is was ok with occasionally taking the kids, but her friend recently told her that she needed to bring the kids over once a week, from 8 – 5:30. They didn’t discuss payment, and my friend was reluctant to approach the subject with her friend.
I told her straight up: It’s not fun, but you need to talk about it. Because of the following:
- You are expected to provide a regular service now.
- You are expected to be available for a set period of time each week.
- Your day is commandeered for that time period; you can’t do anything else.
The most important point, though, is that she is being asked to provide a regular service for her friend. And her friend doesn’t seem to value that. Yes, there are other ways to value things. Money isn’t the be all and end all. At the very least, my friend’s friend should offer to babysit in return. There needs to be some sort of compensation, otherwise you’re getting into a situation where you have said that you don’t value your time and effort, either.
Before you provide services from your home business, think about what is being asked of you. Doing a favor on occasion isn’t such a bad thing, and it can build good will. However, you don’t want to be taken advantage of. And you don’t want to end up in a situation where you don’t have time to actually grow your home business.
What do you think? Would you provide free services to friends?