As a Designer, Coder, Copy Writer, Photographer (all professions actually) we get asked to help out friends by lending them our expertise. The question I had today was: What are the limits when it comes to charging them? I have been on the short end of the stick a few times when it has come to doing projects for friends and family, as I feel guilty charging them but 50 hours later, I am cringing at the thought of the next email. Those “quick jobs” become costly of your time, your mental energy and usualy end up destroying relationships.
Don’t get me wrong, a quick logo or picture, banner or tweak I do not mind at all. But as Garry Stewart and Alistair Pugin pointed out – when that one quick thing becomes 50 quick things, you are looking at a time consuming issue.
So after a twitter conversation, and some thought I came up with some pretty simple rules for this.
- When asked to do something by a friend or family member, think on how long it is going to take you.
- Consider the person asking. For example: If that person is a OCD perfectionist – double your time in your head
- If the time is over 5 hours, then tell them it will cost them (be up front at all times)
- Consider a “Friend Rate” – and stick to it! In my case I give a 50% discount for family and close friends and about a 30% discount for friends on my radar.
- ONLY accept projects when you have the time. When you get home from work, some times the last thing you want to do is do MORE work
- Give the person a time line. You say 10 hours, some times in their head they think “oh thats a day and a bit” without factoring in your other work, or even your day job.
- Always do a professional invoice if you are billing. I would suggest using Fresh Books, it is free and very easy to use, you can even track your time on it.
I welcome comments on this, as it is an issue which many people have different solutions for. What are your rules and guidelines?