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Doing Free Work for friends (OT)

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Rich427, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. Rich427
    Joined: Mar 14, 2012
    Posts: 75


    Anybody have any stories or tips or anything about this subject? I've recently been noticing a lot of my (not so car-savvy) friends using me for things they need done. Most of them ask me to just do oil changes or little things like that and stuff and they used to offer me money knowing I wouldnt take it but now they don't even offer.
    My best friend lives next door and just last month he picked up a 65 mustang (which I not only spent 3 months helping him find one, but also me and my gf drove him almost 3 hours to go look at it, in her car, and when she asked him for gas money he kind of sighed and acted like he was doing her a favor by handing over his credit card...

    The car got towed home on a sunday and that next monday we started working on it every night after work for 3 weeks straight. Monday-Friday from about 4pm-11pm for literally 3 weeks straight, and a couple saturdays of work too. The friend who bought it has wanted an old mustang for quite some time but he doesnt have the slightest idea about working on cars.
    So far I have done all the body work (both front fenders, the drivers side quarter, put the whole car in primer, all the body work is done (and there was a lot to do... No exaggeration about 80 hours in body work.. I have completely redone the interior, including a freshly painted dash, all door panels are redone, only thing we didnt touch was the seats.

    All thats really left to do on the car is paint.

    Granted he tries to help but not knowing what to do It was almost more work having him help because I was having to teach him things along the way.

    Anyways, I went into this project with him not expecting or wanting any compensation or anything, but he is starting to get under my skin. He's the type that when someone comes by to check out our progress or anything and asks about something we did, he will basically tell them that he did it even if i am standing right there, And that is starting to get under my skin. Another thing that bothers me is that he actually pretends that he knows about cars, sometimes he will pretend to know more than me about it. I guess I am just feeling like he is being ungrateful for all the work I'm doing for him. At first my girlfriend was noticing it saying he was using me and my mind was set that hes my friend and wouldnt do that, but now I am starting to notice it.

    At this point I am tempted to let him buy all the paint and get the car ready to be sprayed and then hand him the gun and say "alright you know everything, start painting" and walk away.

    What do you guys think?
    Anyone had similar problems with doing work for friends?
  2. Sounds to me he is gonna be your ex best friend very soon! HRP
  3. Model T1
    Joined: May 11, 2012
    Posts: 3,310

    Model T1

    I only have one question FRIEND. What's your address?
    HA! We all posted the same time.
    Joined: Jul 25, 2009
    Posts: 1,121


    You ALREADY know the answer! The word "friend" should be used very sparingly in life. DD
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  5. It used to be when folks found out I could repair TVs, radios, tape decks, etc, they would ask me to fix their stuff. At first, I had trouble turning them down, and it really became a pain in the ass. Eventually, I learned to tell them that I charged the same hourly fee as the shops but took much longer. As I have aged and become more curmudgeonly, I just say, "Take it to a pro, you cheap bastard."
  6. rick3658
    Joined: Feb 3, 2009
    Posts: 124

    from wisconsin

    Boy I am going to watch this post I am in in the same boat and really would like to know what to do. Little different for me is they will never help just stand and watch and then later hear about his facebook post about what he did and no mention of anyone helping. And if I donnot go there they come by me and hold me up with questions about what they should do. I have already told them that and well knew they where not going to do it. I really donot want to make them mad but I do have a life outside there car and mine. thanks needed to vent
  7. Model T1
    Joined: May 11, 2012
    Posts: 3,310

    Model T1

    I'm sure it's happened to most of us to a point. You just have to know when to say NO! Or at least tell them you are busy.
    Use the female excuse and say you have a headache!
  8. TrioxinKustoms
    Joined: Oct 16, 2009
    Posts: 551

    from Romney, WV

    Gonna sound lame.. but don't let it build up. Talk to him about it, Tell him it bugs you that he is using you.. If he owns up and makes it right he is a good friend.. if he acts like an ass just tell him your sorry but you can't help him any more. Don't hold a grudge or lose the friendship over it. Just tell him you can't help him.
  9. happy hoppy
    Joined: Apr 23, 2001
    Posts: 2,332

    happy hoppy

    it never bothers me to work on a friends car. and my friends never take advantage of it.

    perhaps this is not a true friend.
  10. TexasDart
    Joined: Oct 11, 2007
    Posts: 853


    I only help friends that would help me. Any other 'friends' I tell them the hourly rate or bid the job. Just say NO!...that's the way to handle it. Friendship isn't a one way street. When you go help a 'friend' and they don't pitch in that's not cool. People want my help they'd better be willing to help me when I need help.
  11. Sweepspear
    Joined: May 17, 2010
    Posts: 292


    I used to do work for friends and coworkers all the time.
    Then, I noticed I did most of the work while they sat back. It was very one sided.
    So, I started sitting back myself and gave them instructions while they did the work.
    Funny how they don't ask for my help as often now.
  12. Wow, when he starts telling others he did the work, he just told you he's taking you for a ride for all your work and plans to keep telling everyone how he did all the work and it's all his. He will probably be telling people if they didn't do the work themselves they can't call it their own.

    What a dick - he may well believe he did the work too - some pretty mentally ill people out there.

    I get tired of doing work for family and friends, but at least they don't claim they did the work. Wow.
  13. Mike51Merc
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 3,830


    Quid pro quo. Something for something. Otherwise you're branded a sucker and you will be trampled on. Some people are givers and others are takers.

    I have friends that I will do things for free. They typically are the ones who reciprocate with their services.
    I also have friends that I will charge. They typically have nothing else to offer and money is the universal exchanger.

    As for your "friend", I'd suggest that you become busy elsewhere right away. Your absence will leave him in withdrawal of the "drug that is you" and maybe then you can get him to pay up somehow with something.
  14. Don's Hot Rods
    Joined: Oct 7, 2005
    Posts: 8,319

    Don's Hot Rods
    from florida

    It is a very easy trap to fall into when people you know find out you know something about cars. First they ask for advice and then they ask you to take a look at it. Pretty soon you are their full time mechanic.

    I have found an easy way to stop them from asking, I simply say I am not really a mechanic, but more of a fabricator. I tell them I even take my daily driver to the dealer when it needs work (which is true). As much as I like people, we have to accept that some people are just users and will get away with as much as you allow them to get away with.

    There is also a very scarey side to doing work for people. I watched a court show on TV where a guy did a favor for some girl by installing her stereo in her car and she gave him only $ 25. Then something shorted out in the wiring and it burned up her computer and some other stuff. The judge awarded the girl $ 5,000. :eek: So here is a guy who tried to help someone out and he gets a judgement against him for $ 5,000. Garages have insurance and accept those kinds of risks, but we average rodders do not.

  15. cederholm
    Joined: May 6, 2006
    Posts: 1,621


    He sounds like a prick, to bad you're in so deep and he lives next door.

    Got any projects for HIM to do while you're working on his car? Cut your grass? Clean your garage? Paint the house?
  16. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,720

    from California

    friends help friends out and don't keep score. if you are keeping score and irritated by it, he must not be a very good friend.
  17. I feel you. I have been in the paint and body industry for about 16 years (give or take, they all run together :D). I have had more "friends" than I can count ask for help. To avoid the uncomfortable situations, I usually tell them I don't do ANY side work. I do however help my real friends that are into the car hobby. I remember one time, I worked about 14 hours at work, went straight to a friends and worked about 20 hours straight on his car to get ready for a show. Long day, but great memories.
  18. 117harv
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 6,590


    Well said...people will only use you if you let them:cool:
  19. TrioxinKustoms
    Joined: Oct 16, 2009
    Posts: 551

    from Romney, WV

    I will add I ALWAYS do FREE work for cute girls.. I am indeed a sucker.. But hey.. My girlfriend lets me.. go figure. ha ha
  20. What does this supposedly best friend do for a living? HRP
  21. I'll echo the true friend statement as well. My neighbor is a very good friend of mine and though the scales tip from side to side they do not stay unbalanced for long and that's what makes it worthwhile.

    We both have skills that the other does not have or at teh very least we have manual labor. I've come home to find him on my roof cleaning my gutters just because it needed to be done and I've done the same. When he needed to do his roof I convinced him we could do it and not to shell out teh money, it's going to be a crappy job and nobody will enjoy it but it's the right thing to do. We make sure that each other has a hand when they need it whether its asked for or not.

    When I was getting my hotrod on the road he took some time and did what he could, telling me he will take care of the woodwork for teh roof and to take that off of my plate. We have been doing this 15 years now and I couldn't imagine life any other way.

    Money or time has never come into question because we've made sure that it never has to be. If he needed something I don't question if or when it will come back - and vice-versa.
  22. Rich427
    Joined: Mar 14, 2012
    Posts: 75


    I agree with everything you guys are saying. I will give him one thing and that is when we were teenagers and I was just getting into cars and outside in the driveway he would usually come over and help hand me wrenches and stuff and when I need computer work done I can usually count on him for that too... I guess the main thing bothering me is the whole him taking credit for it thing....
    Maybe I will just wait for it to happen again and when It does I will look at him and say "ya know, I dont pretend to know about computers" or something along those lines and maybe then he will get the idea....
    as far as other people I do work for, I cant recall any of them ever doing anything for me and I am completely done with all of them....
  23. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,796


    First, it seems you need a new "friend". Of all the people I have ever met, I can count my true friends on one hand. Not counting the thumb. Sounds like what you have is a leach. He probably started out as a friend, but now he's taking advantage of you.

    As to your present situation, you need to sit him down and explain how you feel and work it out. That was the Ann Landers way. Now here's what I'd do. I'd tell him that due to things going on in YOUR life, you won't be able to spend time on HIS car. Give him the name of a couple places he can take his car to. He'll get an idea of how much he's taken advantage of you, when he has to pay for services.

    You didn't say how long he's been your friend. A real friend knows the rules from the get go. You also didn't say what he's done for you lately. Maybe he feels you owe him some how. Either way, I'd slowly distance myself, when it comes to cars.
  24. rick3658
    Joined: Feb 3, 2009
    Posts: 124

    from wisconsin

    But with me I really donot want to push someone away from our hobby, Or are we to look at it that we all be better off without some one like that with us.
  25. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

    Been there, done that.
    Show him and walk away for a while, come back and show him his errors. In time he will get it right or give up.
  26. If that is your priority, keep doing the free work for him. Predators need prey.
    Joined: Mar 30, 2010
    Posts: 3,254


    We don't keep paperwork here ....we just help each other . If somebody slacks we ease off . THE END.
  28. davidbistolas
    Joined: May 21, 2010
    Posts: 962


    Nah. The next time he does that in your presence. Turn to face him, look him right in the eyes and say this exactly:

    "Wow, that's some really good work. How exactly did you do it?"
  29. 4oldfords
    Joined: Sep 30, 2009
    Posts: 155

    from Texas

    I think this guy has it right - does your friend try at all to learn so that he can do it next time? I have had to ask for help from friends alot - I am trying to learn. hopefuly they dont feel I am taking advantage. sometimes 2 guys working on something is 1 too many and i am in the way but i try to help out however i can - beer fetch maybe?

    try pointing/sitting/drinking beer/directing and see what happens
  30. 38zephyr
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 622


    I guess this must be why I don't really have any friends anymore unfortunately . I am always the one helping with my truck and trailer , free advice , money , tools etc. When I need something , it's always a big deal and I got sick of the one way street . My 2 best friends from childhood both burned me for money and so called friends from the last 5 years or so just take and take . Thank god I have an awesome family to hang out with . I really miss Tom Sparks ! He was the only one that would always help me and be there , just out of friendship .

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