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Walsh Construction Svcs.
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just wondered if anyone here has done work for their family and how did it turn out? I did a total gut and remodel kitchen for my in-laws. Room was 13x25 and was totally gutted, including ceiling that had to be re-framed due to center beam that they didn't want to see anymore. Plumbing was changed to a center island and all electric was upgraded. I charged $7000 and that included all material (lumber, sheetrock, new subfloor, stained/poly trim, paint) and labor.

I had estimated approx $4000 in materials and wages to my helper. Here's the kicker...It's 6 months since the job was completed and I'm still waiting on $1800 bucks. :evil: At the end of the job they said they owed $$$ on thier taxes and were "tapped-out". Of course since it was family I didn't think I needed a contract, so I guess I'll just put this job in the live and learn column and patienty wait. :rolleyes:

Needless to say I don't do anymore work for family 'cause there's just too much of a chance for "stuff" to happen.
 

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I work for family for free, they buy materials. Mom is an exception, she gets it all for free.
 

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Custom Builder
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L'sD, guess we could just call ya LSD:cheesygri, how the hell did you pull a turn key kitchen off for 7 grand? Man! they must have really cut some corners. I could see maybe new construction with below builders grade products, but a complete remod? Looks a little lite in the figures, unfortunately unlike my previous wives:cheesygri

Then you wait to wait on 1800?

Just ask then in-laws if they'd ever dine and dash, or pump and stray. Cause what they've done to you is JACK YOU UP.

Tell them if there's ever a next time you'd prefer dinner and a movie first.

Man, I just oooze class.

Bob
 

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...jammin
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I try and just do it n/c
But on a job with lots of materials or that eats up a lot of time I really can't
I'm not that rich yet ;)
I'll always give a "gift" price and they'll always ***** (Well, depends on which family members, some appreciate it), usually not till I'm done though
I really try and get the check before they have time to think about it
But I know those family members are like that and I expect it
In a case like what you describe I would not have started w/o a check to cover expenses (not a case of 20/20 hindsight, it's just I know my fam. lol)
Looks like you got some of that anyways

I think a friendly reminder that you never did see the balance of the remod is appropriate
If not an actual bill
I'm sure they will never bring it up
Or have forgot or figured you forgot about it, or have "called it even"
 

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I've mentioned this in a post once before, - - a 'buddy' contractor does work for my family, - - I do work for his, - - has worked out real well for 15+ years now.
 

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In-laws...Seems to me your wife needs to lean on her parents. Either that or next time your wife brings up the subject of "You know we really need a new....." just tell her "Sorry, until your parents pay up we can't afford it". Of course you can kiss your sex life goodbye if you use that strategy :cheesygri :cheesygri :cheesygri
 

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Had a painter one time tell me he does all his jobs at full price or for free ...no in-between's. I asked him about his reasoning. He said he did a large apartment job for a friend one time and gave him the 'friend' discount. As the job went along the costs began to mount and he was going deeper into his own pockets to pay for things. He went to his friend and explained, but it fell on deaf ears. This guy almost lost his house and barely made wages. So he now makes a distinction between family and friend, full price or free. I have used that lesson for myself. It has made me think about how much of a friend a person really is and clears up any gray areas where business is concerned.
R
 

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I can't see working for 'free', - - any more than my family members would care to discuss paying 'double'!! :Thumbs:
 

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Walsh Construction Svcs.
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Glasshousebltr, yea, the $7000 was based on the fact that they both are retired. Normally I would have charged a least double that! I thought being family and all I would give them a great price. Hindsight being what it is I should have realized from previous conversations with them that they really have no clue about what things cost to get done! I don't even think they realize I only made $3000 on the job!

And we must ooze the same class 'cause almost everything you said I have said myself!
 

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My expierence as to what best works for me is to have family member pick up and pay for materials. I tell them to have a stack of twenties to pay the helpers daily while my time and efforts are free.
It give them a sense of what is going on as to costs and don't expose me to any loss of cash.
 

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Think of it this way. If your relatives owned an appliance store would they give you "free" appliances? If they owned a gas station would you get to go there and fill up for "free"? Better yet, if one was a banker how about a "free" loan? I have a friend who is an electrician and he gave me the best advice about working for free for family and friends. He tells them, "If you want me to help cut down a tree, or move some furniture or something like that...no problem. But, I am a professional electrician and that is how I feed my family and pay my bills. Please don't ask me to lose money on a job by not charging what I need to so I can make my living." Best advice I have ever received from another contractor.
 

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Or, - - like when my cousin once asked me, - - "could you help work at my house for just one week?? I can't afford to pay someone", - - and I replied, - - "Well, let's see, would you be working with me"??, - - he says "No, I can't afford to take off work for a week", - - to which I replied, - - "You think about that answer, and I'll talk to ya' later"!!
 

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Carpenter/fencing
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pay up front

I do work for my brother in law and its simple I get paid at the end of the day,
this way he pays what he can afford and i don't have to chase him down for the money,I do this with most friends too,it keeps the peace :Thumbs:
 

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Flooring Guru
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You would think that friends and family would want you to make money.
Instead of working for nothing or nearly nothing.

I would arrange a trade before I do something for free.
Unfortunately nobody in my fam works for the IRS :)
 

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i did a complete gut AND addition of the kitchen, AND a complete re-roof for my aunt a couple years ago. (the roof was a 4 layer tearoff, new sheeting, everything.) $12,673.22 , materials AND labor.(kitchen went from 6' x 10' to 12' x 16' - roof was 23 squares.) i had 4 guys plus myself on that one. i charged her right at $6000 for labor. it took 10 days, and after paying my guys i still made about $2800. one of the very few times i went without a contract. no problems though. 15 minutes and one beer after we finished, i had a check in hand. not that i would do this for just anyone in my family though. she's my favorite aunt,(kind of a second mom) and i'm her favorite nephew. for her, i'd do it for free.(if she'd LET me! stubborn woman!)
 

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I have done stuff for cheap for in laws.But once they told me HD would do it for x amount of dollars. I won't work for them any more
 

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Custom Builder
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JustaFramer said:
I have done stuff for cheap for in laws.But once they told me HD would do it for x amount of dollars. I won't work for them any more
Next time ask em if they want Burger King to install their roof.

Bob
 

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shopdust said:
My expierence as to what best works for me is to have family member pick up and pay for materials. I tell them to have a stack of twenties to pay the helpers daily while my time and efforts are free.
It give them a sense of what is going on as to costs and don't expose me to any loss of cash.
This is how I handle it also, it works very well.
My family also knows they are low on the work list and are ok with that, knowing that they are getting a bargin and a half.
 

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Working Arrangement

I'm with Tom R on this one. I've got an old buddy in the business he and I worked out a "family" rate. We work on each others friends and family for a discounted rate. Materials are always paid upfront and labor is paid at the end of each day or week depending on the job.
Family is Family
Business is Business
You mix the two together and you loose some of both!
 
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