Working for friends

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by DanaMac, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    I know we have discussed this before, and many of you think it is best to not work for friends and their sprinkler system. And I partially agree on that. When I do actually work for friends, I usually don't charge them. Here is what I have been doing lately. Since they usually try to insist on paying me, I ask them to instead make a donation to a local charitable organization - local food bank, animal humane society, Red Cross, etc. Maybe they can reimburse for parts at cost, then make a donation for my labor. Just something we've been doing recently, but will continue with it going forward. Might be something a few of you could think about if you get asked by friends as well.
     
  2. txirrigation

    txirrigation LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 977

    I refer friends and family to my buddies in the industry. It is a good way to reciprocate business, and keep good company.
     
  3. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,909

    It's a sad line, but I've heard of too many friendships that went south: "Never do business with your friends".
     
  4. txirrigation

    txirrigation LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 977

    Take that line a little further:

    Friends are Friends, Family is Family, Charity is Charity, and Business is Business. Never compromise the boundaries, or confuse them.

    I think I have said this before, but I had a client that owed me money. She said she could not afford to finish paying, as she had a small child etc. I threatened a lean and she came to the office and gave me a check. I took the check with my left hand, and handed her a personal check out of my right hand for much more than I was collecting. I knew she was in a pinch, but she was willing to make the sacrifices to pay up. She owed my business money... PERIOD. She needed financial help and had no family so I helped her personally... PERIOD. A few months later I got a check in the mail from her, she had gotten another job and felt like she needed to pay me back. Keeping the lines clear between business and charity made this situation a positive one.
     
  5. DanaMac

    DanaMac LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,156

    Each situation is going to be a little different. But most often I will do the work for friends. If it is an install or needs major work, I tell them I am not doing the work - WE are doing the work as friends, with you buying the beer and grilling the food. But NOT during my work days when I make real money. They are assisting me by using a shovel and pick, so they can understand why we charge what we do.

    Another thing we will do differently next year. Quite often I will get asked if we give a military discount, especially since this is a highly concentrated military area. I get tired of the guy in a $500k-$1m home, asking for a frigging discount on a $60-$80 blow out or whatever service. So next year, we will say we are not giving out individual discounts, but instead will be pooling all military discounts into one fund. That way at the end of the year, we can give one check to a military assistance organization. A $500 check goes a lot further for them, than the $5-$10 discount for that individual.
     
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Screw my friends, they can all go to hell.
     
  7. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 47,363

    problem solved :laugh:
     
  8. Mike Leary

    Mike Leary LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,909

    Prolly the best way to screw up a friendship is to trade labor for labor. Someone always thinks they got the short end of the stick.
     
  9. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,575

    Neighbors , no . If they insist I tell them to get 3 estimates and I will recomend who to go with or I refer them to a friend in the business . I dont work in my neighborhood . Friends are different , they will be my labors , but its when I have the time , they have to take off work from their job . They usually tell me that they wont get paid for those 2 days , I say well join the club I am working cheap for the next 2 days too..
     
  10. greenmonster304

    greenmonster304 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,076

    My wife volunteered my services to her friend who just bought a house this past summer. They cleared the yard that was overgrown and wanted to plant a lawn and have a system put in. I went and looked at it and figured it would be about a $4000 job if I was charging full price. I told them they pay for the materials and pay my guy cash for the day and I would donate my time and the husband would work with us digging holes. So we did the job and he got his system for about $1500.

    Fast forward to my wifes birthday in September. We Were going to my wifes fav place and she invites this couple to come along. So I figured he would at least offer to pick up the tab for diner.... No such luck.
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