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We’ve all heard enough horror stories when we hire a friend to do our bridal photography, our home interior designing, wedding catering, insurance or any other professional line of work and it has gone horribly wrong.
Believe me, I have been in at least some of the above scenarios and it has cost me friendships, time and money.
We are always put in a place that is either a win win situation or lose lose situation. How so?
Well, if you are fair in paying for good service and your friend is fair in giving his/her good service you’d both definitely win. And if you’re unfair with payment , your buddy might just do a $h!t job. If your buddy treats you unfairly, you’ll basically be left to pick up the pieces and figure out a solution on your own even though you paid good money.
So how do we know if we can trust a friend and how can we decide on whether to engage him/her ? Through my own experiences, I’ll share with you exactly what I learned.
Here are three simple rules of thumb on whether to HIRE a friend:
1. If your friend is an established professional who is known for his/her integrity and quality of work.
Now when your friend has such a solid background of his/her work and ethics, YOU should in turn, pay him/her as how he/she is deserving of.
Please do not ask your friend whether how close, intimate or related you are, for a discount. That’s a BIG NO.
He or she will automatically in his/her own goodwill and heart offer you a good price. Asking him/her would just be an utter turn off and it shows some what of a disrespect without even saying much.
If they don’t give you a discount, it’s ok. They have every right because their work is that good for you to pay such a price for.
So HIRE and treat this with seriousness and treat them respectfully. Business is business, nothing personal. So be adult enough to not take it personally.
2. If you are not sure of your friend’s capability and trustworthiness but would like to help him/her out just because you know them or want to help them build their portfolio, you might want to keep in mind that they most probably be just starting out or doing this part time.
Ok now, YOU jumped into this head first, remember that. Nobody forced you to help them and please don’t be obliged to help anyway. If you’re afraid of letting go of money that “might” go down the drain and end up in the gutter then don’t.
Don’t take the risk just because you want to be seen as the “good guy” who helped out a buddy in need. At the end of the day, if anything cocks up and it goes down hill, you only have yourself to be blamed because you wanted to please others by taking a leap of faith.
Sometimes it was just not meant to be. It’s like putting your hopes on an ex boyfriend or girlfriend to not go back to his/her bad circle of friends and habits when he/she wants to come back to you. You just don’t truly know how it’ll pan out. You know the risk but you chose to take it, so face the music and hope for the very best that this friend of yours doesn’t screw up the chance given. Have some faith in them.
If he/she does, it’s a lesson learnt and never again will the trust be there but that’s their loss.
For cases like this, draft out a written contract (time designated to get the project done by and what it includes) to lock in the commitment placed on the table so that your friend have no other choice then to make sure that they don’t screw it up or else, he/she can be brought to civil court or CASE. So for this one, HIRE at your own risk and que sera sera.
3. If your friend is someone you happen to know that is in the industry and they work in it full time.
This case is usually for casual friends. You might be thinking, “Who do I know, that can do this job?” And you chose to hire them. You don’t even know them that well enough to even expect any kind of discount and they won’t even give you one, let alone let you smell the scent of a discount. Haha…
They happen to be someone you know who’s in the industry and they can do the job. Pay them as how everyone does. It’s only fair and they are obliged to do their work as professional as they always have.
HIRE them because you know that this is their full time job and there’s no hidden agenda.
Here are some tips you should look out for if you should Fire them or Never Hire your friends:
1. If your friend has a list of bad rep from other friends.
If this isn’t obvious enough, I don’t know what is. Do not hire them. It’s that simple.
2. If your friend or acquaintance is known to be or has proven to you at some point in your friendship that they are shady or dodgy. A character that doesn’t carry much integrity.
I remember an acquaintance that went on holiday with the group and kept asking for money from another guy during the trip. There was friction and uneasiness. He also never kept to his word, canceling without informing and so on and so forth. A person with such bad ethics is someone you should NOT HIRE under any circumstances no matter how good their work is cos they’re going to screw you over one way or another, it’s just in their blood.
3. If your friend is treating your project hire as none important or not as a priority.
A “friend” will always take you for granted, it’s the same with loved ones. They’re used to being with you, they know you well enough to be that close and so on and so forth. They don’t treat the project as important or significant. They’re going to take their own sweet time, they expect you to accept mediocre work cos you’re friends. They will not consider your hire as something that is bringing them income. To them, they’re doing you a favor and not the other way round. Fire them if you’re not happy with the results and just pay for whatever that’s been used.
Politely draw the line, “ I tell you what Bob, you just finish the framework for me and I’ll pay for the materials used and labour costs for the period of the last two weeks.”
What if they insist ?
Just kindly decline, “ I know you guys are very busy and have a lot of bigger projects, it’s ok. Alls good. We just finish up the framework and we pay for what’s already been used so far. How about that?”
From this honesty, your friend will eventually get the point. He will feel a bit guilty for treating you in such a manner and hopefully make it up to you or let you go.
Don’t worry about losing friends, they are literally a million other better humans out there. There’s no shortage of good relations if your intentions are sincere and in good faith. Trust me. This will be a good time to know who your true friends are. Only keep the creme de’la creme in your company.
So that’s how you know whether to HIRE or FIRE a friend.
Remember, decline politely and use kind words because as much as your friend is not professional or good with their work or ethics, at least YOU have to be. Don’t make enemies. Be gentleman, be kind, be respectful and be cool.
Hope this helps.