Author Topic: Doing business with friends. Shop local etc.  (Read 1377 times)

K-ice

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Doing business with friends. Shop local etc.
« on: December 29, 2016, 04:07:41 PM »
I thought I would start this so we could share advice & stories.
We are a pretty generous but frugal group so I am looking for good & bad stories.

I would like to "support" more of my friends in the coming year but also like a good deal.

How do you go about doing business with friends?

The way I see it is if you run a small business, or you are a professional, if you can't count on your friends to be clients who can you count on?

Sure some people think never mix business & friendship. This may work on big partnership deals but I am thinking on a smaller scale.

What kind of deals do you give or expect when "working" with friends?

Are you frustrated with friends & family asking you to do things for free?

I can think of a few personal examples.

My friend ownes a flower shop. For Mother's Day I said my budget was X and could she make me two bouquets within that limit? I got 2 beautiful bouquets & I gave her some business. Sure my X was more than 2 large grocery store bouquet because I didn't want to be cheap, but I still think I got great value.

I have another relative. They are a professional. They will Volounter to fix your fence & multiple other manual labour things.  They are generous. But don't ask them to provide their professional services for free. I think that's fair.

I think photographers & artists are often asked to work for free. Can you donate to this? "It's great exposure."

What about lawyer, accountant, vet, doctor, advice?

Restaurant owners must get their friends always wanting a free meal deal. It could get frustrating.


How do you balance supporting your friends, getting good deals, & not being a Mouch?

Business owners, what advice do you have for your friends & relatives?






BlueHouse

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Re: Doing business with friends. Shop local etc.
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2016, 04:23:42 PM »

I would like to "support" more of my friends in the coming year but also like a good deal.

How do you go about doing business with friends?

How do you balance supporting your friends, getting good deals, & not being a Mouch?


I'm not sure I understand where you are coming from.  Are you looking for good deals from your friends who own businesses?  or are you a business owner and feel you are being taken advantage of?

To answer your question:  I don't do business with friends or family.  If I do business with them, not only do I pay them the going rate, I often try to do more so that I'm not a pain in the ass to them.  (Bigger tips than normal, etc).  I don't look for special deals because that would be taking advantage of my relationship with that person. 

swick

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Re: Doing business with friends. Shop local etc.
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2016, 05:49:03 PM »
There is a lot to unpackage in your OP.


I would like to "support" more of my friends in the coming year but also like a good deal.


Pretty certain this is going to rub a lot of people the wrong way. If you want to go the capitalist route, shop at a bigbox store if you need/want to find the best deal. It costs more to do business locally - that is just a fact. Local places can't depend on massive volumes. But they provide jobs, more of your money stays in the community, they volunteer/donate to your community, will probably save you money in the long run because they know you and your need (not always, there are always exceptions)


What kind of deals do you give or expect when "working" with friends?

Are you frustrated with friends & family asking you to do things for free?


If you are going to do business with friends you need to be very clear on if you are an asker or a guesser, and which one the person you are seeking to do business with. I think if we all understood this, we'd all be more successful at having our needs met and our relationships preserved:http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/05/askers-vs-guessers/340891/


My friend ownes a flower shop. For Mother's Day I said my budget was X and could she make me two bouquets within that limit? I got 2 beautiful bouquets & I gave her some business. Sure my X was more than 2 large grocery store bouquet because I didn't want to be cheap, but I still think I got great value.

I have another relative. They are a professional. They will Volounter to fix your fence & multiple other manual labour things.  They are generous. But don't ask them to provide their professional services for free. I think that's fair.

I think photographers & artists are often asked to work for free. Can you donate to this? "It's great exposure."

What about lawyer, accountant, vet, doctor, advice?

Restaurant owners must get their friends always wanting a free meal deal. It could get frustrating.


Your flower store example is a good way to do it. You didn't go in and say: "I want the best deal you can give me and this is exactly what I want" You allowed your friend to use their expertise, knowledge of what you would like, knowledge of what was in their inventory and what needed to be used and gave her a set price point. This is great.

Your second example makes total sense too, they should be compensated if something is work related. Now you can always suggest a barter or something, if you think they would be open for it, but it is work for them. They may enjoy the opportunity to get out and do manual type things and if they are willing to help out on things like that, awesome!

Telling anyone with a skill that they make a living from that you are giving them "Great Exposure" is one of the most insulting things you can do. Great way to tank your business deal AND your relationship. 

As with the restaurant, there is no such thing as a free lunch. A physical business has overhead, wages, and a multitude of other expenses to cover. A Photographer, a painter, everyone has supplies and overhead that must be covered, time and money invested in education and so on. They also need to make a living wage so they can continue to offer their service.

How I usually approach things, is quick advice is free. If it is going to take up my time, or resources, or supplies, I am going to charge for it - and you should expect to pay a fair price. Now I'm flexible, and more than happy to discuss alternative forms of payment or barter or whatnot. But it shouldn't ever be a given that you will get an amazing deal. Those tend to cost in the long run in one way or another.

Really, it is all about how you ask. It never hurts to offer a barter, or say you have x amount available, or things like that. If you assume you should get a good deal because you are a friend, or act like you are doing them a great big favor, then no, that's a crappy move and you should be shopping at a big box store if lowest price is your biggest concern.

We have a carefully cultivated network of friends who all have skills and experiences we can call on, and who can call on us. It's more of a skills share sort of thing, and with our group it works great. But knowing that Asking versus Guessing personality bit is HUGE to making it work.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 05:51:23 PM by swick »

K-ice

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Re: Doing business with friends. Shop local etc.
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2016, 11:04:24 PM »
Thx.

Good points BlueHouse & swick.

I am coming from both sides. I am asking as a customer but also my SO is often solicited for free work.

Admittedly, I am a bit all over with my thoughts. It's a struggle to support friends & still be frugal.

Of course if someone has a store front & prices it's a little clearer. If they are a consultant or professional asking for & getting a real quote is the best way to go.

I do expect to pay more for local. I've bought some clothing the past few years from a Canadian designer & made in Canada so I'm willing to pay more but purchase less.

At the same time I can't always handle Farmer's market prices.

When we eat out I try to go to local places not chains. That chain is probably owned by a local franchisee but I think I have more impact & enjoyment at a mom & pop place.

I think much of the North American local economy is the shits right now.
Look around at your friends, is there any way you can better support your local economy thru them?

Just wondering how other Mustacians have experienced this.


stashgrower

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Re: Doing business with friends. Shop local etc.
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2016, 01:09:42 AM »
Depends on the friend :)

I exchange or barter goods/services with a couple of friends in a friends plus business arrangement. I don't feel taken advantage of. They continue to ask for my help. So I assume they feel it is fair too.

swick

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Re: Doing business with friends. Shop local etc.
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2016, 09:11:55 AM »
I regularly navigate both sides, so I can see the struggle :)

As far as your SO, they should NEVER give her work/skills for free. If they are solicited a lot, and most artists and such are, the best way to deal with that is to have an established number of pieces for giving/donation. Once they are gone they are gone.

Or you have a list of nonprofits/events you support and that is it (and with that support, you make sure you include business cards and does get some of that "exposure") Bombarded by donation requests?  "Sorry, through my work I support xyz, if you would like to be considered for next year, send me a follow up with some information about your org" <---follow-up is rare, and if they do yu can discover if they are a good fit for you.

If it is individuals, having a strong firm answer sorted out ahead of time helps. What is the base rate they are willing to accept for their work, taking into account materials/labour etc.? Never go below this, for anything. This usually involves gently educating the person asking. Having a script for this helps.  (I use to teach a course on this for artists) and I've been on the other side of it as a nonprofit with limited funds to work with that are dependent on donations for everything.

I hear you on the farmer's markets. My general rule of thumb is if I am buying from the farmer directly, and it is slightly less than I would be paying for the same thing in the store, I'm happy to since the quality and supporting local is important to me. If it is being sold at a market through a middle man, I expect a better deal and don't mind asking for one. Generally, I have found other ways to support my local farmers, through CSA or buying direct. These are also folks who ARE agreeable to a work exchange, especially if you have some business or tech development skills and they are trying to grow their business.

A few maybe 5? years ago They were really trying to promote the idea in Canada of a 10% shift - which was the idea that if you shift 10% of your household spending to local, for every dollar it is a 5x local economic stimulus compared to spending that dollar at a chain or foreign owned business. The quick google is telling me it isn't really catching on, although in many areas lots of folks are already doing this, at probably higher numbers.

I think it is all about finding a balance. There are tons of hidden costs to the economy and ecology of buying stuff from overseas (While perhaps a bit US biased, the documentary "Death By China" on netflicks is worth a watch) I think it comes down to how much do we need to consume and where should we be putting our dollars for the things we do?

If there is something I need and I have shopped around and I am getting gouged simply because I'm in Canada, I have no problem shopping around. Recent example. Stress-relief kitchen mat at Costco in the US 18.99. In Canada from costco.ca? 109.00 That extra $$$ is now available for investing or shopping locally.