What to do if the client is a friend / good acquaintance?
Whatever profession you own, whatever kind of activity you are engaged in, there will always be a friend or good acquaintance who wants to use your services. Or he urgently needs to help something, fix, gash, clean ... And you just know how, and besides, it seems to be nice.
It’s one thing to do free, friendly help for five minutes, and it’s quite another to make an entire project for money with a period of one or six months.
And for this situation, I have several (for someone obvious!) Rule-tips that I would like to share while working in the field of website development.
1. Do not work with friends.
Yes exactly. If you have a choice (for example, a huge lineup of customers), then it is better to choose a good client than a good friend (or God forbid - a relative) as a client.
Why? Yes, because it is likely that after the project your friend will be dissatisfied, or you will be dissatisfied, or everyone will be unhappy. Moreover, even if you, from your point of view, did the job perfectly and for minimal money, then your friend can count it differently. And friendship doesn’t do it any good.
Better advise your friend to the trusted guys, or advise how you can do it yourself.
But if you still decided to work with your friend as a client, then we went further:
2. Arrange ashore. Compose TK.
My big mistake when working with some friends was that we didn’t bother with TK.
The arguments were approximately as follows:
- little work, and so everything is clear;
- We have known each other for a long time, somehow we will agree;
- let's do "like here";
- do as you already did, but here it is "such and such a thing";
and so on ...
Moreover, when I worked with ordinary clients who gave similar arguments, I still insisted on drawing up a detailed ToR, even if I worked for 5 hours, anticipating possible risks and misunderstandings. In the case of friends, for some reason this mechanism in my head turned off.
And then I learned that my friends are the same customers in terms of behavior (if you started working with them), they often don’t understand what they want and how much they are willing to pay and for what. Drafting TK removes many questions, both from him and from you. At the end of the project, it will be much easier for both of them, if this is the ToR.
3. Cooperation should be beneficial to all parties.
People often have the scheme that if you make an order with a good friend, it will be MUCH cheaper than usual. This is especially true for services, because pricing here is not always clear and obvious. And it seems to many that the cost of services generally tends to zero.
So - I adhere to the policy that friends can make a discount. You can even make a good discount. But such that the work process does not turn into hard labor for you and motivation is not lost. Agree, it’s not very productive to work on a project, constantly thinking that for the same project for a normal client you would get 3 times more.
I had such projects for good acquaintances, for which I took pennies, made a good project, and then they were still unhappy. Because they also wanted this and that, completely not being guided by the market and prices, and thinking that it was all very cheap and that "it had to be done by itself too."
4. Sign the contract!
With a friend, this is difficult and not always possible. The question of trust immediately arises, and so on. You just need to explain that the contract is a simple formality, and this is essentially an “on the table” agreement that will never come in handy anywhere. In the end - if both parties are friendly and have responsible trusting relationships, then the agreement is only a confirmation of this, and not a hindrance.
I believe that the contract should be in any case, although it is - oh, sinful - sometimes I work without it (in this case, I fix the price in the signed TK) if paragraph 5 is fulfilled.
5. Take a prepayment.
Often the level of trust in a friend is so high that the issue of prepayment remains at the discretion of this person. And sometimes, in general, payment for the entire project (for a loan, for example) - which will be made unclear when and how. In my opinion, this is a bad situation for the developer and this is no longer mutually beneficial cooperation. Work and time are the same money.
Prepayment is a guarantee that another client will not leave the race (“I'm sorry, this project is no longer interesting to me”, “I'm sorry, I have problems with money”) and will be more interested in the project. And also it is a guarantee that you will have more motivation to work and there will be a feeling of "honesty" in the game.
Friends may well be customers, but we must not forget that the rules for them should be the same as for other customers. And it is better to formalize your business relations to the maximum. Otherwise, it can hurt a friendly relationship.
Be friendly and customer oriented! Good luck!