I guess this being the general discussion area it's OK to put this here.
I came across a woman friend of my mothers the other day , and she asked me do look at some electrical work she wanted done. To make a long story short , she has and old house ( old plug fuse panel ) and alot of sub panels coming off of it . Any way I told her that I would bring it up to code from the service connect to a new main breaker panel and gave her a price of $ 800.00 . I was just wondering what anyone else in my situation would have done about the price being it a friend of there family . I guess this is friendship vs. business.
I have a friends and family rate. But I get cash for those jobs. No invoice and no checks. If you are going to pay with check, it is regular price. Don't mix friends and business together b/c you will get burned. You have to make money also.
I actually have three rates... one ("full price") for "regular" customers, one for friends & family ("half price"), and one for co-workers at the Fire Department who provide (cash) grunt labor (such as trenching by hand or old work rip-outs), or who run their own businesses on the side that I might use personally in the future, like painters, drywallers, HVAC, etc. We cut each other breaks when doing jobs at each other's houses, in return for breaks when they work at our house... usually about $10/hr plus materials.
If we're on a job, and require their specialized services for a customer, however, we usually refer each other, and then individually charge the customer usual (full) rate - usually referral "fee" paid to our buddy is pizza and beer, or dinner the next duty night.
Of course, helping out a buddy in a non-electrical manner? Pizza and beer is the standard currency.
You've got to do what you feel is right. Yours isn't an uncommon situation. Most family and "real" friends understand what training you went through, and that your license, insurance, tools, etc. cost $$ (and that your knowledge and work are worth $$). IF they give you too much of a hassle, despite you cutting them a break - explain it from that perspective - tell them that you;re not at other, full charge jobs, so you can help them out. If they still bitch (freebie seeker), tell the to get bids from your competition, and you'll meet /beat the lowest. If they still cry / kvetch / whine?
Caller ID is a wonderful thing, isn't it?
[This message has been edited by DougW (edited 03-29-2004).]
I will warn everyone here against doing "free" jobs or completely off the books work. The reason is lawsuits.
You go and install a new light fixture for a neighbor and do it for no charge. 2 days later their house burns down and the fire marshall asks if they had any electrical work done recently and they say yes. The fire marshall determines the fire must be related to that, case closed. Your liability insurance will not pay because the job was off the books.
For the above reason alone, among others, always charge a nominal amount like $5 for changing the light and write an invoice. I know you're not going to do anything that you think will cause harm, but sh!t happens, so CYA.
Eagle, That is good advice, but for all my cash jobs and freebies, it is said to the customer and understood that I was never there. I also try not to leave a paper trail. This is done with only a select bunch (ones I know will say I was never there). But you never know, s**t can happen. When I do things off the books, I do them personaly, not through the company. I don't know if that makes a diffence. I am trying to do everything in the books, seperating them is to much of a hassel.
It's okay to offer a discount to help folks on fixed incomes or a family member. For all others, you have to ask yourself if they'll be willing to cut your lawn and pull weeds for a few weeks in exchange for the free work you're performing in their homes.