It’s been awhile since I’ve chimed in on a piece of business advice. I’ve thought long and hard if I even want to post this, because this is a public forum, but I feel its valuable information. I’m sure as many read this the light will go on and they will have an ahhhh moment of being able to relate. The Topic: Doing work for friends and family / hiring contractors that are friends. And boy this is a tough one. I should make this part of our round table meeting at ETW in the future, I’m due to have another one. Here’s my philosophy on this: 1. I will choose vendors based on quality of what they do, not necessarily on price. I’m in an industry where all the time I see what cheapest price gets you. As long as contractors treat me fair, do the right work when they say, and stand behind what they do I’m ok with that. When I have personal jobs done at my house I’ve been told I’m pretty easy to work for. Will I do my homework up front yes. Will I waste 5 contractors time on getting estimates, no. Will I beat them down on discounts or deals? No, because I know what that is like. 2. Working for friends and family, in other words them being my customers. As if we don’t bring our A game to every job, I feel we have to step it up an even higher notch when working for people we know. It’s very hard to do. They want to use you for their project, but then immediately feel like there needs to be a “deal” on the job or a “discount” If I gave out “deals” to everyone who knew me I might as well be a non-profit organization. I’ll do what I can do, don’t beat me down. 3. Over the course of business, and I say this in the most sensitive way possible, we have been burned more times by friends and family than our regular customers. Why? I don’t know. My wife and I have talked for hours upon hours on this and have never really come to any solid conclusions. Friends and family have committed to jobs, backed out last minute, demanded schedule slots, told my staff one thing and me something different, played games, and the list goes on and on. It literally sucks the energy right out of you at times, and worse yet I often get emails out it over a weekend which derails my thoughts. I rarely email clients or employees on weekends, wish it went both ways sometimes. 4. Should you do contracts / formal proposals for everyone? You should, and I press it more and more. My staff even charges consult fees / design fees for my friends. Do I do this all the time? No I’m at fault. I met with a friend / business owner that we use in the area 6 weeks ago before our NY job who wanted a small patio. We agreed, shook hands on it, I ordered materials, lined up equipment, put it in the schedule, etc. to do it the week we returned. I contacted him last week to tell him we're coming soon only to find out he had someone else do it 3 weeks ago. Never even bothered to call me. I remember Marty Grunder once saying “I don’t do work for dishonest people” I feel there’s a lot of good to that. It protects everyone. The bottom line in all this is business is hard. It’s a lot harder doing work for people you know, there is so much pressure. I just wish at times people would treat us how they wanted to be treated. When I hire someone to work for me personally, I look at it so much differently. I want to make the experience so pleasurable. When I commit to something or someone for a job, no matter what else I discover, if I gave them my word I stand true to that. I’m sure this will get some responses. Have a great week all.