I'm feeling a little ripped off - lesson learnt from doing business with friends.

35 replies
I've asked a really old friend of mine who is starting out to do some work for me. It's stuff I don't really have time to do and it's pretty mundane.

She met with me and agreed on a price and send me a quote (which was the first quote she has ever sent to anyone) and it was all A-ok.

The task was supposed to be over 4 days straight and after giving her a deposit I decided to break it up over 2 lots of 2 days periods so I could do some testing in the middle.

Now that the first half is done she has sent me an invoice for the total amount we originally agreed on - I emailed to check that amount was for the 2nd part of the task as well (paid in advance) and she's said no that will be 50% extra now as the project is essentially two parts and not one.

WTF.

The amount of work is the same, the task is the same now she wants me to pay extra because the structure has changed.

We are already half way into the project but I am feeling pretty annoyed as there was no updated quote sent and no discussion about the fact she would charge extra.

I will probably keep the peace and pay it but I find this really poor business practice.

It will certainly make me wary of working with old friends again. I think she thinks because I have been in business for a while she can charge me premium rates, either way I'm considering giving her a heads up about basic business etiquette re quoting etc.

Hopefully I am not overacting.
#business #feeling #friends #learnt #lesson #ripped
  • Profile picture of the author boblyle
    IMO you are not overreacting , business is business. Unless your "breaking the work in 2 parts" caused any additional effort on her part, as you say it did not, I feel the original agreement should stand.
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  • Profile picture of the author William2010
    First of all, if she really was a friend of yours..she wouldn't have done this. Second of all, unless breaking into parts, caused her to double her efforts.. you shouldn't pay a dime more than you agreed!
    If she doesn't agree ask for a refund and try your project with somebody else.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
      Originally Posted by William2010 View Post

      First of all, if she really was a friend of yours..she wouldn't have done this. Second of all, unless breaking into parts, caused her to double her efforts..
      Interesting....then why doesn't it work like that in the real world. If you hire a temp agency worker for a week and find out you don't want to do all the work you had for her/him on day two - do you get to tell the temp agency after you reserved the week - sorry only paying two days?

      Sounds to me like the OP (at least the way he worded it) hired someone for four days and then said ooops don;t need you for the four days - sorry that was time you already reserved.

      Now if the OP hadn't specified time of days but the job then thats fine . She'd be totally in the wrong - but if he said reserve four days for my work and then he backs out - he's the one in the wrong not to pay for his change.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    Originally Posted by AussieCoz View Post

    The task was supposed to be over 4 days straight and after giving her a deposit I decided to break it up over 2 lots of 2 days periods so I could do some testing in the middle.
    I don't know about her final numbers but you DO owe her more. By your words above you secured her time for four days and then afterward changed it to two and then two at a later date. Thats not very respectful of your arrangement and her putting aside the time for you for four days. Can she rearrange and recoup the two days you cause her unemployment? Don't know - don;t know the nature of the job.

    Whats more the way you worded that makes it sound like "you decided" without consulting or conversation. Doesn't sound very old friendly.

    The amount of work is the same, the task is the same now she wants me to pay extra because the structure has changed.
    Again you changed her time schedule. I don't know the nature of the job but some people have things to do and will move other things they had to do to secure the time.

    There are also many jobs that are easier and flow better and faster done together than starting and stopping. At any rate. You really should have decided to split it before not after making a different arrangement. Again I don't know about how she arrived at total pay for two days but again I don;t know neither have you indicated what the job was and that matters. If you made her waste two days (because she gave up other work for those days) then you very well might be responsible to pay it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mehdib
    Dude the worst idea ever to have friends as business partner unless you feel comfortable enough to put everything in black and white with a lawyer. I was ripped off by my friend as well, at the time I was 19 and making some good money but didn't have enough experience and guts to write everything down so it was all gone. You got that too and that sucks but you are not doing anything wrong here, go ahead with it and make sure you can protect yourself and your assets.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    The OP was NOT "ripped off" - read what he said. Except for Mike, did anyone thoroughly read the thread?

    They had an agreement on time and price....HE changed the timing. He says "same amount of time" but it isn't. If she kept 4 consecutive days clear to work for him and he splits the days without her prior agreement - he's using MORE of her days.

    It's too late for her to schedule something else for the last 2 days - and he didn't consider she might have other work or plans for later days in the week. If he didn't stick to the agreement - why should she? I realize it's touchy because it's a friend - but business is business.

    If a client changed an agree upon time frame without getting my prior approval - I'd charge him double.

    kay
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  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    I do not even understand why we are even talking about this crap....This is a MARKETING forum. Handle your employee/employer, Contractor/Subcontractor problems elsewhere

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  • Profile picture of the author SummerDaze
    That's a tough one.

    You did change the job, so you do need to probably pay for two jobs essentially.

    It's a bit crap that they didn't revise the quote so you were aware of what you need to pay.

    I'd chalk it up to experience and just ask them to be more clear next time so you don't get a surprise.

    It depends how much notice you gave them too.

    Always two sides to a story so I would say that if you discuss it you'll come to an agreeable outcome. Not worth losing a friendship over it, but at the same time it needs to be agreed upon so I would say both of you are in the wrong in this case.
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  • Profile picture of the author AussieCoz
    Thanks everyone for your opinions - it really is good to see other perspectives.

    To be fair, I gave a lot of notice about the change from 4 days straight to 2 days - like a few weeks, so this shouldn't really penalise me.

    In any case, I resign to the fact that we are both guilty of probably not having a firm agreement in place. I should have asked for a revised quote (which I didn't) and she didn't outline that there would be any change in price. It's a shame and while I will just end up paying what she ends up charging me I do feel like I am being taken advantage of a little.

    I would have honoured the original agreement as the work is still being done, however I respect everyone is different and perhaps she doesn't have the pipeline of work I do.

    I can't deny it has left a bad taste in my mouth and I will probably be less inclined to help her out in future. My aim was to give her some work while she was starting out, but now I will just engage the people I usually get to do this work as they have a more efficient process and are clearer with their expectations.

    I can chalk this one up to a lesson learnt, just a shame as I am basically paying double now for the same job which sucks.
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  • Profile picture of the author alldigitalbiz
    Hi there
    I completely understand your points, working with family or friends is the worse because probably your friendship with her wont be the same after this. I prefer to work with strangers and build trust on time that working with friends. You are not overacting, you are absolutely right. I have bad experience with this too in the past but I learned my lesson now.
    Good Luck
    Andres
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    • Profile picture of the author AussieCoz
      Originally Posted by alldigitalbiz View Post

      Hi there
      I completely understand your points, working with family or friends is the worse because probably your friendship with her wont be the same after this. I prefer to work with strangers and build trust on time that working with friends. You are not overacting, you are absolutely right. I have bad experience with this too in the past but I learned my lesson now.
      Good Luck
      Andres
      Thanks Andres,

      It's hard because I have been in business for a while and I remember quoting and invoicing for me at first was hard and sometimes I assumed people knew what I was doing but this just rubbed me the wrong way a little when I went out of my way to offer them some work and do the 'right' thing.

      The work they have done for me is fine, I'm very comfortable with it. However, the assumption that they can just charge almost 100% more that that's fine is not sitting comfortably for me.

      It's something I have balanced before with other people, however I think you just don't know how friends operate until you work with them in a professional way.

      I'm going to step back now and just liaise with people that aren't my friends, lesson learnt. It's annoying as I am sure that there are plenty of people that would be transparent and I could work with but I don't want a misunderstanding ruining a friendship.
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  • Profile picture of the author Danny Cutts
    working with friends is always a headache... I have people I have worked with that have become friends and that works well because they know the score... but friends that then become people you work with does not work ever!!!
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    • Profile picture of the author AussieCoz
      Originally Posted by Danny Cutts View Post

      working with friends is always a headache... I have people I have worked with that have become friends and that works well because they know the score... but friends that then become people you work with does not work ever!!!
      Yeah, I am seeing that now.

      Everyone knows the score when you work with people that gradually become associates and friends, but if you go from being a friend to a work colleague it opens up areas that have never been tested and it's a real worry.

      I will just leave this for now, do the remaining work, pay her, keep the peace and learn for next time I think.

      Shame to have to learn this way but I'll take it as a life lesson.
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  • Profile picture of the author aizaku
    Originally Posted by AussieCoz View Post

    I think she thinks because I have been in business for a while she can charge me premium rates.....
    sorry but..


    ..what kind of friend is that?


    live and learn, pay her and cut her off from your business and ur life.


    i would at least

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  • Profile picture of the author TeaCozy
    That's a pretty crappy situation.

    Your friend won't be in business too long if they change the fees and doubles them for every project, things change that's inevitable but if you are open to a bit of change it always works out in the end.

    Not cool man.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ellen Chedid
    Business is business. Stick to what was originally agreed to. It shouldn't matter how the days are planned out. If you agreed to pay a certain amount for 4 days then that is what should happens regardless of how you decide to separate the days.
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  • Profile picture of the author discrat
    I never mix personal friends with business. Had bad experiences in past

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  • Profile picture of the author Hippos
    First of all, I feel it's her job to tell you the price would change in the new situation. You told her the new situation, she agreed and started the work, without mentioning the price would increase.

    But I don't do business with friends.
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    • Profile picture of the author AussieCoz
      Originally Posted by Hippos View Post

      First of all, I feel it's her job to tell you the price would change in the new situation. You told her the new situation, she agreed and started the work, without mentioning the price would increase.

      But I don't do business with friends.
      Spot on. I was under the impression everything would stay the same.

      While she may have made the assumption I would know there would be a change in price, I was oblivious. It is basically her first job, so in fairness I am assuming she doesn't really work as transparently as I have learnt to work - it takes a few issues with clients questioning invoices etc to understand how important it is to document everything, get it all accepted etc.

      It just sucks really as the project is now basically double.

      I will live and learn.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    I gave a lot of notice about the change from 4 days straight to 2 days - like a few weeks, so this shouldn't really penalise me.
    Reading the first post it sounded as if you changed terms at the last mintue but seems that was not the case.

    When you gave the notice - that is when she should have mentioned changing the price. Problem is, sounds like she did a good job and you are happy with the results.

    I have done business with friends 3-4 times over the years and though it got rocky a few times, it worked pretty well. A friend may have more concern about the quality of work she does for you and that's a bonus.

    If you want her to do more work - have a candid conversation about price, agreements and providing notice of changes. If she has a problem with the conversation - hire someone else. If she is new to freelancing, it's good to learn from you that unexpected price hikes won't be tolerated well by clients.
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    • Profile picture of the author AussieCoz
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post


      If you want her to do more work - have a candid conversation about price, agreements and providing notice of changes. If she has a problem with the conversation - hire someone else. If she is new to freelancing, it's good to learn from you that unexpected price hikes won't be tolerated well by clients.
      She did a great job, not something I would pay double for but I do want her to complete it.

      I've asked her in future for my accounting and budgeting to advise me in writing of any updates or changes in price. I think sometimes with friends you don't want to talk too much about money, however I think she understands I don't want any nasty surprises or shocks.

      She has spoken with me and said she doesn't want me to think she is 'ripping me off' and that she is learning the ropes so hopefully the experience will teach us both.

      I've got a fairly good team of people I work with on a regular basis and everything is pretty automated, I think this new arrangement caught me off guard as everything usually flows nicely.

      It's not worth losing a friend over, I will just be more hesitant for next time and go overboard clarifying things.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    Thats how I read it and think thats how it went down based on his own words

    The task was supposed to be over 4 days straight and after giving her a deposit I decided to break it up over 2 lots of 2 days periods so I could do some testing in the middle
    He made the arrangement, she secured her time to do it, the arrangement was cemented in a deposit and then HE DECIDED )whether weeks later or before doesn't matter)to change the arrangement. I don't trust the OPs point of view. He seems to change the story to suit himself and get more pity posts to his perspective (which obviously what this thread is about). There was that and then he changed the reason he hired her from - he didn't have the time and it was too mundane to do himself to he was just trying to help her out as the main reason.

    His description of the work gives me the impression he wasn't paying good money for the work either. Working for friends is as problematic as hiring a friend. Seems to be a pretty good chance that she has something to complain about doing business with friends too.

    the problem with coming on a forum and ratting on your "old friend" is that you knew coming in you were only going to give your point of view with zero consideration of the other party being able to balance it out with their own side of the story. Then when you go back to your "friend" you'll be all goosed up that you are entirely in the right because you got backed by people who only heard and bought your side of the story.

    If one of My old friends charged me like that I have the discussion with them and iron it out not rattle on about it on a forum with strangers. Even if it were not fair ( it is because he made the arrangement to secure 4 straight days) I'd be more likely to be concerned that maybe they were having a tough time.

    Bu then the definition of friends these days has fallen on hard times.
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    • Profile picture of the author AussieCoz
      Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

      Thats how I read it and think thats how it went down based on his own words



      He made the arrangement, she secured her time to do it, the arrangement was cemented in a deposit and then HE DECIDED )whether weeks later or before doesn't matter)to change the arrangement. I don't trust the OPs point of view. He seems to change the story to suit himself and get more pity posts to his perspective (which obviously what this thread is about). There was that and then he changed the reason he hired her from - he didn't have the time and it was too mundane to do himself to he was just trying to help her out as the main reason.

      His description of the work gives me the impression he wasn't paying good money for the work either. Working for friends is as problematic as hiring a friend. Seems to be a pretty good chance that she has something to complain about doing business with friends too.

      the problem with coming on a forum and ratting on your "old friend" is that you knew coming in you were only going to give your point of view with zero consideration of the other party being able to balance it out with their own side of the story. Then when you go back to your "friend" you'll be all goosed up that you are entirely in the right because you got backed by people who only heard and bought your side of the story.

      If one of My old friends charged me like that I have the discussion with them and iron it out not rattle on about it on a forum with strangers. Even if it were not fair ( it is because he made the arrangement to secure 4 straight days) I'd be more likely to be concerned that maybe they were having a tough time.

      Bu then the definition of friends these days has fallen on hard times.
      Hi Mike,

      Always nice to hear everyone's opinion, however in this case it is genuinely a case of the person I engaged to work not updating their quote and terms.

      I have agreed to pay to keep good will.

      The forum is a place to share and exchange - that is what I am doing.

      It's always good to get more perspective as being charged double for the same task is a little bit of a shock when the deposit was paid 3 weeks before the job started and the changes were made in advance. The agreement stipulated a total price and there weren't any conditions. Lesson learnt

      Thanks for your input.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
        Originally Posted by AussieCoz View Post

        Hi Mike,

        Always nice to hear everyone's opinion, however in this case it is genuinely a case of the person I engaged to work not updating their quote and terms.
        No one in this thread knows if thats really the case. We only have your word for it as you set this thread up to be a one sided story and there is always two sides to a story. I go off what you yourself said though - that you changed it after the deposit was made. Doesn't matter if the job was weeks away. By your own words it was to be four continuous days you were reserving and you decided to change it without transparency.

        You really can't talk about transparency when you make one arrangement and then change it. Seriously though since this was an old friend you should have just worked it out with her not come here to say how unfairly you were billed by strangers who have no idea whats what.. Creating a thread on a forum was just to get sympathy for your side and only your side of the story.

        The forum is a place to share and exchange - that is what I am doing.
        No the forum is a place to share and exchange things that helps everyone in regard to internet marketing preferably with some hard facts. It really not to bring all our little personal squabbles with us and our friends. This thread has no actionable facts or take always unless you want to be cynical and say friends and business are always a disaster. From the beginning to the end its just been about getting people to agree with a basically one sided story where one "old friend" is putting down another "old friend" to complete strangers that cannot independently verify anything.

        Finally just a question for curious people - How is continuing to post about it in this thread "not dwelling on it"?
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  • Profile picture of the author RonGold
    OP, not to be blunt... but tell your friend to eat a plate of poop (lol).

    I hate people who practice like this. If you're going to be a true professional, this isn't the kind of stuff you should be doing.

    Maybe pay her, so that she doesn't bad mouth you and such, but leave a lasting impression on her. Make her work her fingers to the bone for that money.
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    • Profile picture of the author AussieCoz
      Originally Posted by RonGold View Post

      OP, not to be blunt... but tell your friend to eat a plate of poop (lol).

      I hate people who practice like this. If you're going to be a true professional, this isn't the kind of stuff you should be doing.

      Maybe pay her, so that she doesn't bad mouth you and such, but leave a lasting impression on her. Make her work her fingers to the bone for that money.
      I've paid it all, I don't want any bad blood but next time I will be seeking a very, very detailed quote with conditions.

      She's new and honestly I am probably her first real paying client so it's all just a massive learning curve for her. I have worked with a few friends but we have a very professional arrangement and an agreement of the process. It can be dicey but when it does work it's great, I just need to be wary.

      I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed but that's life and I don't want to waste energy dwelling. It is good to hear everyone's perspective though.
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  • Profile picture of the author anayb
    Originally Posted by AussieCoz View Post

    I've asked a really old friend of mine who is starting out to do some work for me. It's stuff I don't really have time to do and it's pretty mundane.

    She met with me and agreed on a price and send me a quote (which was the first quote she has ever sent to anyone) and it was all A-ok.

    The task was supposed to be over 4 days straight and after giving her a deposit I decided to break it up over 2 lots of 2 days periods so I could do some testing in the middle.

    Now that the first half is done she has sent me an invoice for the total amount we originally agreed on - I emailed to check that amount was for the 2nd part of the task as well (paid in advance) and she's said no that will be 50% extra now as the project is essentially two parts and not one.

    WTF.

    The amount of work is the same, the task is the same now she wants me to pay extra because the structure has changed.

    We are already half way into the project but I am feeling pretty annoyed as there was no updated quote sent and no discussion about the fact she would charge extra.

    I will probably keep the peace and pay it but I find this really poor business practice.

    It will certainly make me wary of working with old friends again. I think she thinks because I have been in business for a while she can charge me premium rates, either way I'm considering giving her a heads up about basic business etiquette re quoting etc.

    Hopefully I am not overacting.
    Your task was enough complicated. When she started working she must be realized the pay isn't worth it. So this happened. No harm to pay extra especially she's your friend. Treat your freelancers as real employees, such problems will vanish.
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    • Profile picture of the author anayb
      You can do that task yourself instead of spending too much time in forums in case you got marginal budget for outsourcing now.
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  • Profile picture of the author RefuseToLose
    It can go both ways...

    Sounds you screwed up for making changes to the arrangement, but at the same time. That's a dick move from a supposed "friend" to charge 50% on top of the agreed price.

    Lesson learned. Pay the extra cost, and drop the "friend".
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  • Profile picture of the author customerblast
    This reminds me of a time when I had a friend renovate for us, and once the project was almost complete he wanted another $2000 more then we agreed on. Being friends we paid him and let it go, although I feel your pain its annoying for someone to change agreed upon prices at the last moment.
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    • Profile picture of the author AussieCoz
      Originally Posted by customerblast View Post

      This reminds me of a time when I had a friend renovate for us, and once the project was almost complete he wanted another $2000 more then we agreed on. Being friends we paid him and let it go, although I feel your pain its annoying for someone to change agreed upon prices at the last moment.
      That's exactly what I've done, if it was a contractor that I didn't have an existing friendship I would have pulled them up and probably had a bit of a word about it... in this instance I have just had to take it on the chin.

      She has sent me a note today outlining her new costs and that she hopes she is more clear now, at the very least I know for next time to be very, very clear and not make assumptions.

      It's a shitty position to be in for both parties but it must happen all the time.
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  • Doing business with relatives and or friends can always turn prickly. Your intentions were well though out as you explained the project needed done as well as the time needed for completion. What I will say on your part where you failed is your lack of communication on what you were willing to pay for parts 1 & 2, you left the door open for additional charges to be tacked on simply because of dividing the project into parts. I understand you mentioned initially 4 days would be the time commitment needed but you have to keep in mind while your friend was working on not 1 part but 2 their still needs to be some for of compensation simply because of the nature of the work and the level of commitment needed for completion.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
      Originally Posted by hardworker2013 View Post

      What does that have to do with Internet marketing?
      absolutely nothing
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      • Profile picture of the author AussieCoz
        Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

        absolutely nothing
        I think it has a bit to do with marketing actually as this is what I do.

        I'm interested to hear everyone's feedback and to be honest, the support I got from the WF member on here made a pretty crappy situation a whole lot better and shed some light on the other side of the coin.

        Lucky for you if you never have any lessons learnt from working with people you know, I just needed a little bit of a sounding board with a group of people that would know where I was coming from.
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