Sanding our assholes with 150 grit.

Why are friends always the hardest to collect from?

3 years ago my friend (Bob) asked me to build a website for a friend of his (Joe).  I told him I'd charge him $30 an hour, and it would probably take 10 hrs.  He said cool and paid me $100 up front.  He also said he'd take care of any hosting fees and associated stuff.  Bob was my friend and I didn't think it would be hard at all.

Bob did the design in photoshop and it was incredibly ugly and non-functional.  I did the best I could to do what he wanted, but Bob's print media background made him ill-suited for designing for the web.  I tried to make suggestions the best I could, but I wasn't heard.  I built the site slow and crappy, heavy with images and tables.  I did the best I could at the time.  I never asked for any more money because it was a crappy site.

2 years later, Bob said Joe was really unhappy with the site, and wanted to have some other friends redo it.  I said great and gave them all the passwords for ftp access.  The friends bailed and didn't do anything with it.

Last summer, Bob asked me to look at it again, and begged me to redo it.  Bob said he'd pay me $40 an hour and that he just wanted it done right for Joe.  I said Ok. I built the site correctly, with the same horrendous design, but this time with good use of CSS and whatnot (I learned a lot in 2+ yrs).  It's now a fast functional site, and looks great (if you get over the butt-ugly colors and design).  Functionally it's great. 

I put about 50 hours into it, and I told Bob I needed money for hosting.  He said no problem, he'd give me all the money for back-hosting, which came to $280.  He told me to send him a bill.  I did, and he totally balked at the price.  I told him he could do a payment plan, and he said he'd get me the money as soon as he could.

That was this past August.  In December, Joe says he wants me to give him the domain name info and all the files because he wants to go with someone else.  I told him I needed money from Bob, and I'd be happy to turn the stuff over.  Bob dropped out of the scene for a few months, and now I'm getting pressured by Joe, saying he's suffering needlessly and I should turn everything over to him.

I'm really frustrated with the whole situation.  I don't think $280 is very much at all, it's exactly what I paid for hosting fees and domain registration.  What do you guys think?
Permalink Send private email nathan 
January 30th, 2006 10:47pm
"give him the domain name info and all the files"

just dont do it.  its not his fault, but its not yours either.

Id hold out for the money for the time spent as well...or at least some of it.
Permalink Send private email FullNameRequired 
January 30th, 2006 10:50pm
I think the guy is a cheap bastard and you should keep your last bargaining chip until you get paid.
Permalink raegan 
January 30th, 2006 10:50pm
Or you can just relax and get one of these: http://www.washlet.com/seethewashlet.asp#Interactive%20Demo

It has a massage setting!  So soothing...
Permalink raegan 
January 30th, 2006 10:54pm
see now, if Bob would just pay me then I could get the washlet and everything would be great.

muppet, have you seen this thing?
Permalink Send private email nathan 
January 30th, 2006 10:57pm
Either you are in business or you are doing a favor for a friend. You are not the genius who has figured out the way to do both.  Like the man with the leaky toilet, you just paid $280 dollars in stupid tax.
Permalink O 
January 30th, 2006 10:58pm
I think that if you do things for friends, you are implicitly doing things without expectation of payment. If you actually do get paid it's a bonus, but you can't get sniffy about it without destroying friendships.

If you do things as business, you get a formal written contract agreed and signed, and you get payments made in advance as the work progresses as proof of good faith.

There is nothing inbetween.
Permalink Send private email Ian Boys 
January 30th, 2006 10:58pm
Bob always said that he would pay me, that I shouldn't worry about that, he wanted to take care of his friends, etc. 

Many times he mentioned that Joe was his friend, and he wanted to pay me for my services: I specifically was not doing a favor for Joe.
Permalink Send private email nathan 
January 30th, 2006 11:01pm
Bob is an ass and not a good friend.  If he doesn't pay don't turn over the domain.  Easy.
Permalink raegan 
January 30th, 2006 11:03pm
I usually destroy my work when it comes to this. That ensures that both I as well as the cheap stingy customer learn a lesson or two about funding a project.
Permalink Send private email Vineet Reynolds 
January 31st, 2006 1:11am
don't tell me the parting game is woops>
Permalink trollop 
January 31st, 2006 7:16am
It's hardest to collect from friends because you feel so damned guilty breaking their kneecaps.
Permalink Send private email I am Jack's shark shriek 
January 31st, 2006 9:51am
Redirect his site to one of the Goatse.cx mirrors around the web for a week or two.  See if he notices...  Bonus points if you know his IP address and serve up the original site for him but redirect for everyone else.
Permalink O Canader 
January 31st, 2006 9:51am
What's the outstanding bill? I can't figure it out from your post. Is it $280 or $40 x 50 + $280 = $2280?

Tell Joe that Bob was acting as his agent and committed to paying you $2280 (if you have emails to confirm, those would help prove your position). Ultimately Joe will pay what the ownership of the domain, all the files, etc are worth to him. If he believes he can redo everything (including building brand on a new domain) for a $1000, he will only offer you a $1000. Though don't neglect the price of a wounded pride (he'd rather pay someone else $3000 than you $1000 if he feels he's not being dicked around the first way). So be professional in your dealings with Joe - divert his anger at being screwed onto Bob. Offer a discount because you want this whole thing over with too (he will like you better that you offering a sale). Find a happy medium. The lost income is simply part of the cost of doing business (and is factored into consulting rates).

I think Bob balked at your invoice because his expectations were broken. Manage your client's expectations, even when the client is your friend. Better estimates ahead of time would have been more professional from you (rememebr it only took you 10 hours the first time, so Bob prob. expected around 10 hours this time too).
Permalink bring in da punk 
January 31st, 2006 10:13am
There were two bills, one for $280, which when it didn't get paid after a couple months I sent the one for $2000 and a note explaining that I could just charge the whole amount.  He asked if I was going to try to collect the 2000, and I said, "no, just pay me the 280 and we'll be fine."  That was ~3-4 months ago.
Permalink Send private email nathan 
January 31st, 2006 10:25am
I just heard from Bob!  He said to resend the bill for 280 and he'd pay it.  I will resend and see what happens.
Permalink Send private email nathan 
January 31st, 2006 10:28am
Fire (redirect to goatse) and forget about it. Fuck 'em all!!!!
Permalink Anon 
January 31st, 2006 9:18pm
You will be happy to hand over your 50 hours of work if they pay you the $280 for web hosting and not the $2000 for the work you did? Where is the logic in that? Don't do it man. Once words get around that it's so easy to get you to work for nothing (read screwed), you will suddenly have a lot of friends like Bob.
Permalink Wills 
January 31st, 2006 9:38pm

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