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Thread: Can I ask a question about family?

  1. #1
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    Can I ask a question about family?

    How do you deal with family or close friends that "expect" you to build them something?

    I believe I'm going to be losing some friends.

    (they offer to pay for all materials, so that justifies it in their mind. Afterall, its a hobby, I'm not a professional. People are weird.)
    Last edited by allen levine; 09-22-2008 at 03:12 AM.

  2. #2
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    This may sound "hard", but a long time ago I learned to say "no". I say it politely but firmly, and if they insist, I explain that my spare time is my own, and if they expect me to work for them during my spare time, then it's going to be expensive for them. The only exceptions to this system of mine is if I am dealing with someone whom I can trade favours with. Barter works for me. I've found that a firm but polite answer not only gets the desired effect, but also only loses friends who aren't really friends....real friends would understand and not insist.

    chers

  3. #3
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    I only had one situation like that. I ignored their comment about paying for material. The conversation went something like the following:

    Me: "I'll be happy to build that display case for you but you can buy an equivalent case at a store for much less than I'd have to charge you. The most expensive furniture is custom furniture because of all the labor that goes into it. But if that's what you really want, I'll work up a price for you."

    Them: "Let me check the prices at the stores first."

    Of course, they never mentioned it again.

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  4. #4
    Just tell them that you'll do it when you get around to it. You have a bunch of others projects in the works. Or tell them "I'd love to but honestly I really don't get into the shop as regularly as I would like and I may start it and never finish it."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by allen levine View Post
    How do you people deal with family or close friends that "expect" you to build them something?

    I believe I'm going to be losing some friends.

    (they offer to pay for all materials, so that justifies it in their mind. Afterall, its a hobby, I'm not a professional. People are weird.)
    Quote Originally Posted by John Shuk View Post
    Just tell them that you'll do it when you get around to it. You have a bunch of others projects in the works. Or tell them "I'd love to but honestly I really don't get into the shop as regularly as I would like and I may start it and never finish it."
    Allen,

    Everyone I know that would want me to build something for them also knows how busy I am. I simply smile and say, "sure, I think I can get to that in the spring or summer of 2010." That's always either too late, or forgotten about in short order.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
    www.wrworkshop.com

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by allen levine View Post
    How do you people deal with family or close friends that "expect" you to build them something?
    Hasn't happened yet.

    I tend to head that sort of thing off very early in my relationships. When I get to know a person and we talk about hobbies, they eventually ask something like if I build for money or for friends... I always laugh and say that I don't have enough time to build the things I want to for my own family, let alone for others. That always seems to stop that sort of inquiry before it even gets started. Everyone I know understands that I just don't go there.

    But I like Rennie's comments also.

    ...art
    There's usually more than one way to do it...
    www.wordsnwood.com ........ facebook.com/wordsnwood

  7. #7
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    Immediate family I say yes. Especially my parents. But they pay for all materials, including any incidentals like finishes and sandpaper which we just kind of work out--i.e. I buy two things and they pay for one or I keep any leftovers. Even then the cost of materials is sometimes shocking to them.

    Friends usually aren't serious and my wife helps with that by pointing out what the materials for some of my projects have cost.

    I did recently get contacted by a former co-worker to do a project for my former employer. I'm going to quote them full cost of materials plus $50/hour for the time I think it will take to do the project including buying materials and delivery. I think they are going to be quite suprised at the cost, but if they are I'm going to refer them to two local businesses that could do it as well and I think their quotes will be just as high if not higher.

  8. #8
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    Like Rennie, I usually say I'll put you on the list, but it's a long ways out. Depending on who it is, if it's someone that needs some mentoring I'll work with them on the project
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  9. #9
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    2 years ago, I put together a chair.
    I really loved doing it.
    And to be honest, it was a great ego(as far as woodworking goes) boost when Id build one for someone and theyd fawn all over it like theyve never seen an adirondack chair.
    I was never sure if it was sincerity, or just showing thanks for the chair.

    I never really gave it much thought, Id just keep cutting and building.

    Then I got asked to build a coffee table, a little side table, a makeup vanity, blanket chest, and a few other things,and as amateurish as they were, they are all still in use, and appreciated, or so I think.
    And there was nothing I enjoyed more than making something with my own hands for someone, something Ive never done or even attempted.

    And now, I find myself avoiding pesty people who say things like, Id rather see you have the money than give it to them(meaning some low end furniture place, Im not talking custom built quality furniture, keeping it real)
    I try to explain that although I have alot of free time(they know I do), Im trying to keep my time open for things I finally feel I could learn now, and would like to try. afterall I tell them, Im not getting younger or healthier.
    Then the next remark, is but you can probably make this in no time, and Ill pay you for youre time as well, I dont expect anything for free.

    So I ask them how much they make an hour, if thats ok for me to charge them the same for every hour I put in on their project, reminding them that a simple table with 4 legs could take me 30 or 40 hours easily. Maybe and probably more.

    Im not sure if thats an obnoxious answer , but it seems to get a little steam out of them, and the subject gets dropped.

    Twice, in the last month.

    Mr Bartley: Bartering would be great, but the ones that ask, really dont have anything Id be interested in.
    Last edited by allen levine; 09-22-2008 at 03:09 AM.

  10. #10
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    Fortunately I have not had that specific problem. My gratitude to the forum for helping me prepare for that eventuality in advance ;-)
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