should you charge family members for using your professional skills?

A reader writes:

I’m curious for your take on something that I don’t think is a big issue but some coworkers do. I have a background in design and currently work in a creative technology field. My dad recently started a new business; he hired a web developer to build his website, but the guy bailed before the job was done. I stepped in and helped my dad finish the site on a site-builder platform and was able to customize an “out of the box” solution for him. We agreed that he’d pay me for the work. To put it in perspective, he paid me about 1/4 of what the other guy would have gotten in part because my solution wasn’t totally custom.

I have no problem charging my dad for design time as I think my time is valuable and any other design would charge for the same work. Designers already have enough trouble convincing clients that their work is valuable and worth a fair price. My coworkers, however, are horrified that I’m charging my father for my services at all. It’s not like I refused to do the work without pay but they can’t believe I accepted his money.

What are your thoughts? We both agreed to that I should be paid and I don’t think being family automatically exempts someone from valuing my skill set. I’ve continued to do slap logos on photos for him and haven’t charged him for that. It’s pretty easy to do, but it’s definitely something he would have to pay someone else to do since he can’t do it himself.

I think it’s none of your coworkers’ business. If you and your dad are both happy with this arrangement, that’s all that matters.

In general, though, I’d say that it’s pretty normal to do a small professional service for a family member for free (it would be weird to charge your mom for fixing her email settings or giving her decorating advice, even if you do either of those things professionally), but when it becomes a significant project, it’s totally reasonable to be paid for your work and your expertise.

Of course, there are all kinds of other factors that go into this. If a family member has helped you out significantly for free — given you large sums of money, let you stay with them for a month while you looked for your own housing, put back-breaking labor into helping you move — it would be pretty tone-deaf to then turn around and charge them for your own help. (Although even then, if you’re making a time investment significantly larger than the help they gave you, there’s an argument that you should be compensated … although I’d still probably discount pretty heavily and explain the amount of time the work will take you so that you’re both on the same page about your thinking.)

It’s also reasonable to say something like, “I’d love to do that for you, but it would take significant time away from paying clients. I know it’s weird to charge a family member, so I’m not sure if you’d want to go that route or if it would be less weird to just find someone else to do the work.”

Plus, sometimes charging someone can avoid some of the issues that can crop up when doing free work for family (and friends). When you’re working for free, you might be rightly annoyed by requests for multiple rounds of revisions or other high maintenance behavior, or you might find that they don’t understand that you’ll need to prioritize their project behind paying work. If the person compensates you, it can put you both on more familiar ground as far as expectations and boundaries. It can also keep you from feeling resentful that everyone sees you as the free family lawyer/web designer/I.T. help/fill-in-the-blank. (It can also come with its own murkiness too, though, as mixing money and family so often does.)

There are also people who could never feel comfortable charging a family member, and that’s reasonable too.

But this is all theoretical. If this arrangement is working for you and your father, I say yay for you both (and yay for your dad for making it clear that he values your skills).

{ 205 comments… read them below }

  1. alter_ego*

    I have a coworker who is absolutely flabbergasted at the idea that I buy my parent’s Christmas presents. I think the answer is that everyone’s families are weird to everyone else. I can’t IMAGINE not wanting to give my parent’s gifts, he was practically accusing them of child abuse (an exaggeration, of course, but he was very clear that he didn’t think it was an okay expectation for them to have)

    1. Charlotte Collins*

      Wait, what?! Doesn’t everyone who celebrates Christmas buy their parents Christmas presents once they reach a certain age? Or at lease make them? Where does he think all those handmade ornaments come from?

      (Speaking as someone who just finished making my mother’s 2014 Christmas present… I bit off a bit more than I could chew there…)

      1. Sascha*

        My sister doesn’t like to get my parents’ gifts, because she thinks the money should always flow downward.

        1. alter_ego*

          That’s interesting, because you disagree, right? I wonder where she got that idea, if not from your parents?

          1. Sascha*

            Yeah I have no idea where it came from, as I think that once you are a self-sufficient adult, you pay your own way, including gifts for others.

        2. Charlotte Collins*

          I guess if you run your family like a business, that makes some sense…?

          When we were kids, the money for one parent’s gift came from the other, but it was important to my parents that we learn how to select and wrap a present for someone else. (We also were expected to help choose gifts for friends’ birthday parties.)

          Also, I come from a family that does a lot of handmade stuff – so presents of handmade items and personally created art were not unusual in my extended family when I was growing up.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            Yes, my husband and I each took our kids shopping for the other’s Christmas, birthday, and Mother’s/Father’s Day gifts. We also had them pick out gifts for friends’ birthday parties and for each others’ birthdays, which we paid for as part of having them learn how to be a friend and how to select gifts for another person.

            My daughter is 18 now and is away at college (only 5 miles from our house at the campus on which I work, but still away), and her little brother’s birthday is coming up at the end of September. I’m curious to see how her gift-giving instinct is. I’ll probably remind her by asking about what she plans to give him . . .

        3. jennie*

          I have a couple of friends who give their parents cash for Christmas and birthdays, to be used towards some treat or purchase. The parents and children are of relatively equal financial standing. I think it’s a little weird but every family has its own traditions & quirks.

          1. Anyonymous*

            I tend to send my parents cash because shipping gifts is expensive. Last year they moved into a new house at Christmastime, so they used my cash gift to them to buy vertical blinds for a patio door.

            1. Emily*

              Now that I think about it, I think my brother thinks this way, too. He’s the youngest. He makes more than his older sister (me) and one of our parents and about the same as our other parent. Thanks, Sascha, for this insight, however indirect, into his maddening behavior and attitude around birthdays and holidays.

        4. Engineer Girl*

          For a child, yes. Once I started to earn my own money it was my way of saying “See, you raised me right. I’m now a self-supporting adult who can now give back to you what you’ve given so generously.”

          1. Kairi*

            This is my mentality for giving my parents gifts as well! My parents biggest expense was putting me through college, so I like to return the favor whenever I have a chance.

          2. OfficePrincess*

            Same here. Even when I started making my own money and they were still supporting me (HS, college) I would buy gifts for them even theoretically I could have not and just asked them to spend less on me that month, but the it’s also about being thoughtful and showing appreciation.

            1. Kairi*

              I started doing the same thing in high school after I got my first job. Before that, I did what others are mentioning by using one parents money to buy for the other.

        5. Minister of Snark*

          Whaa? That does not compute. Gifts should be about love and recognizing someone’s special occasion. Not about money.

        6. Vicki*

          They’re parents, not managers. Byt the time you reach 18, the power dynamic should have shifted.

      2. alter_ego*

        hahaha, yeah, I always have high hopes of making presents instead of buying them. Somehow they’re never done on time, and cost just as much as a store-bought present, when all is said and done.

        1. Charlotte Collins*

          This is actually the one time that I was late – and boy was I ever! Part of it had to do with matching colors (home decorating), so I bought materials later than I should have. Then I ran out of some and had to reorder. But my mother will have a custom-made item, so it all works out. :)

        2. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

          There is a meme going around that’s akin to “Why buy something for $8 when you can spend $96 to DIY?” with a picture of a pinterest-fail.

          The worst was the year I over-estimated my knitting skills.

          1. Tau*

            I basically refuse to knit anything for anyone except in very, very rare situations. It’s expensive, it’s massively time-consuming and the chances of them not liking it and me being tempted towards murder as a result are far too high.

            I look back at all the (itchy, ill-fitting, not my style) knitted Christmas presents I got from my grandmother and wince at how much time must have gone into them and how little I appreciated them – I don’t want to be on the other end of that.

            1. TootsNYC*

              I’m so glad to hear a knitter say this. I’m one of those people who really doesn’t much like handknitted stuff. I live in fear that people will give it to me as a gift.

            2. Larold*

              Yeah, now that I knit myself, I’m horrified by how little I appreciated the full-sized afghans that my grandmother used to crochet for us.

            3. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

              In my dreams everyone loved my perfect, beautifully knitted scarves.

              But yeah…even with careful consideration of color and yarn weight, I never saw a lot of my friends and family wearing them.

      3. TotesMaGoats*

        My sister and I decided when we were young kids to start a system where one Xmas I bought presents for only my dad and my sister bought only for my mom and the next year we switch. We’ve done that for about 25 years. It was great when we were little and only had so much money to spread around. Now it makes it so much easier to buy gifts and not worry about duplicating. You can really put a lot of time into a really personalized gift. My husband just stopped giving gifts with his sister and her husband this year. They wouldn’t go for our system with our parents and just don’t spend enough time together to really care about presents for each other. So no gifts. More money for the kids. It’s kinda sad to me but to each his own.

        1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

          My ex’s family did this. Once you graduated from college, you no longer got individual presents.

          But they did a $10 White Elephant gift for adults if you came to the Christmas lunch.

        2. Judy*

          My sister and I decided that for birthdays our husbands would not be trading Best Buy gift cards any more. If they wished to shop for each other, that was fine, but she and I wouldn’t go out an procure gift cards to give. They are still included at Christmas, but otherwise, more $ for the kids gifts.

      4. Ad Astra*

        As children, we picked out presents for our parents with their own money. As an adult, I’ve bought presents for my parents in the years I can afford to do so. Some years, traveling to each parent’s house is all I can afford, but I would definitely be buying my parents gifts every year if I had the means. It’s a holiday about giving.

      5. Chinook*

        “Wait, what?! Doesn’t everyone who celebrates Christmas buy their parents Christmas presents once they reach a certain age”

        Hey, in my family, Santa visits every person in the house who puts up a stocking and we children (since year my Dad forgot to fill my Mom’s and she pointed out that we could have done it too) fill them for our parents and grandparents (as well as nieces, nephews, random friend and the pets). We figure Christmas is for the joy of giving (and filling up on toothpaste and fancy soaps you normally wouldn’t buy for yourself).

      6. Abby*

        My parents have explicitly told me multiple times not to buy them Christmas presents, but make time for them on the holiday instead.

    2. Chocolate lover*

      Many people I know buy their parents Christmas gifts, I don’t understand why that seemed so strange to him? Granted, I know people who don’t (like my husband, that’s just how his family is), but it doesn’t seem weird to me either way.

      I remember this conversation coming up in a class in college, many moons ago. Someone said “Whats the point of buying my parents gifts? It’s their own money anyway, they can just buy it themselves.” I didn’t think buying them gifts was obligated, I did it as a demonstration of my love and affection in general. Same thing.

      1. alter_ego*

        Well, plus, I’m 26. I’m not using my parent’s money, I’m using my own, because I’m an adult.
        But even when I was under 16 and didn’t have a job, typically my dad would help me buy my mom’s gift, and vice versa. Maybe it would have been different if one of them had been stay at home or something, but they had separate bank accounts. so I was using dad’s money to buy mom’s gift. Plus, on some level, it really is the thought that counts. Just saying “I know you well enough to know what you’d like, and love you enough to take the time to find it and get it for you”

        1. Boop*

          Exactly – even when money is tight I like to buy presents for my parents and siblings. Just thinking about them, their interests, and what might make them happy is a satisfying experience, and I consider giving gifts an expression of gratitude and love.

          The idea that money should only flow downward strikes me as a bit selfish. Our parents give us an enormous amount (money, affection, attention, etc.), it’s just good manners and courtesy to give something back when you are able.

        2. Artemesia*

          Us too. What a weird idea to not give parents gifts. We helped each of our kids from the time they were about 2 or 3 years old to make something for the other parent; kids always participated in making the birthday cakes for Mom or Dad and as they got older and had their own money even if just saved from allowances, of course they got parents gifts for Christmas and birthdays and such. Part of raising decent humans is to help them learn to please and give to others and not just be on the take all the time. We also did various charitable activities including buying gifts for others at Christmas.

          Re the web site. I know a family that basically keeps their musically inclined son above water by having him do the company web site; it is a major job for him and it works both ways — Dad gets his company website properly managed and son can support his family while also pursuing his music career which pays not much.

          I expect my son to fix our small appliances and assist with our computers but if we had a business, it would be paying for any services and if we required a lot of his time, we would pay for it. We of course provide him with services we can as well like legal advice and career advice when asked.

          But most of all — why do the co-workers know about this? And why do they care unless it is being done on company time.

        3. some1*

          Even if it is your parents’ money, the same could be said for couples where one works outside the home and one does. The stay-at-home person is using money earned by the other person to purchase gifts for their partner and no one thinks it’s weird.

          1. Ad Astra*

            We have two incomes in our household but I still consider all money in any of our accounts to be “our” money. So we’re very much paying for our own gifts, which is fine, because it’s not about the money.

          2. TootsNYC*

            I’m the major wage earner, and my paycheck goes into my bank account, and I pay the bills from there. It’s still not “my” money, to me.

      2. Stranger than fiction*

        Yeah, my BF’s mom doesn’t buy Xmas or bday presents for him or his brother, yet the two of them always go in on something big for her- I’m talking a TV or iPad, he says it’s because she doesn’t have much money and worked her butt off to raise them, but I gotta wonder like really? She can’t scra

        1. Stranger than fiction*

          Oops scrape together $20 or bake you something??

          (Does anyone else have trouble with their iPhone hitting Done instead of P all the time? Grrr)

          1. Brandy*

            I exchange gift cards with my dad, we aren’t close and we like gift cards. but my card to him is always more then he does me and I get his wife one too so they are good. They are retired and its the least I can do and even if he didn’t get me another present ever Id still do for him, because that’s what you do. Hes on a limited income, im still working. And my mom doesn’t care for gifts at all, so we each buy ourselves something we want and that’s it.

      3. TootsNYC*

        Someone said “Whats the point of buying my parents gifts? It’s their own money anyway, they can just buy it themselves.” I didn’t think buying them gifts was obligated, I did it as a demonstration of my love and affection in general. Same thing.

        yeah, because it’s the thought that counts, so spending time thinking about what mom would like is really the gift.

        An then there’s the year that my young teenage son just completely didn’t get me a present–despite going out shopping with my husband (and the only purpose t him going w/ Dad was to get MY present, and Dad simply didn’t factor it in, and Son didn’t bring it up).

    3. Cath in Canada*

      Really? That seems like a pretty common set-up among people who celebrate Christmas.

      In my family, my sister and I are expected to buy my parents a card and a gift for their wedding anniversary. I thought that was universal until I went to university and mentioned that I needed to run to the post office to mail the gift, and ALL my friends thought it was really really weird. I’ve come around to that POV myself now that I’m married – it feels really strange to me now when my parents and auntie send us a card on our anniversary!

      1. alter_ego*

        Haha, see, it would never occur to me to get my mom something for her anniversary. Maybe if she were still married to my dad, it would be different.

        But either way, she got married on 12/18, her birthday is 12/20, and then, of course, Christmas is 12/25. If I had to get her an anniversary gift as well as a birthday gift and a Christmas gift, I’d be broke, and tearing my hair out because she’s so hard to shop for that two distinct gifts is already hard enough for me, three would be impossible.

        1. Anyonymous*

          Ha. There are FOUR birthdays in my family in January. 1/1, 1/12, 1/18 and 1/25. I am always flat broke by the end of the month.

      2. Artemesia*

        I never got my parents anniversary gifts until my mother was a widow and then I sent her flowers each year on the anniversary. But I can imagine this varies by family. Anniversaries seem couple/private to me — our kids give us gifts on our birthdays and Christmas and we them but no one recognizes each other’s marriage anniversary.

        1. Charlotte Collins*

          Sending flowers is a very sweet thing to do.

          I think of anniversaries are personal and would only expect to give a gift for a big deal anniversary (like 25, 50, 70) when there’s a party.

        2. louise*

          I feel like my husband’s and my anniversary is an “internal” holiday. I don’t really need my MIL to send us a card and plaster my FB timeline with exclamation marks and prayers. Sigh. But my parents, now married more than 50 years? I get a kick out of sending them an anniversary card with a Bob Evans gift card enclosed so they can have a date night at their favorite establishment.

      3. AFT123*

        My in-laws get very mad at us if we don’t plan a party or dinner for them on their anniversary every year… It’s bizarre to me.

        1. Kairi*

          I’m soooo sorry they make you do that. It’s exhausting and get pricey to plan a party/dinner, so for them just to expect it seems so ungrateful on their part.

      4. TootsNYC*

        I think there’s something different about a child marking Mom & Dad’s anniversary, and an aunt doing so.

        I’m w/ you, I think it’s weird to get a card from parents and aunts. But I wouldn’t think it was weird for my children to send one. After all, that’s how they got their start; I consider them to be a hefty component of my marriage, or my nuclear family.

    4. Ama*

      I also think when some people realize their norm is not someone else’s norm, they start to wonder if *they* are the ones “doing it wrong,” and try to justify their own choices by pushing back.

    5. Liz in a Library*

      I would feel very uncomfortable accepting gifts from people with whom I never reciprocate. Is that really not usual?!

      1. alter_ego*

        My mom has given me so much over the years, I’d be content if she never bought me another Christmas gift, while I still gifted her at every holiday. I can’t IMAGINE how uncomfortable I’d be if she also insisted on no Christmas gifts, while still giving me stuff every year. I’d probably just start sending her “just because” gifts throughout the year, just to offset the imbalance.

    6. Hush42*

      I’ve been buying my parent Christmas and birthday gifts since I was little. Obviously when I was younger my parents are the ones who funded them but my dad would take me to the store and have me pick out something for my mom and my mom would take me to the store to pick out something for my dad. I’ve also always given gifts to all of my siblings. Once I got old enough to have money I started paying for them myself but I would never NOT buy my parents Christmas gifts.

    7. MK*

      What is wierd is judging other people’s traditions and customs. As long as no one is being taken advantage of, everything goes.

    8. Isben Takes Tea*

      I had a similar experience when a college roommate learned that my parents would send me to bed without dinner if I was particularly naughty (i.e. complained about the food). She had a very different cultural background, and to her it was akin to abuse. She couldn’t believe that I was okay with it/not traumatized.

      1. Ad Astra*

        A lot of people who are disciplined in ways that involve food (either by having it withheld or tightly restricted or being force fed) grow up to have very troubled relationships with food. It’s an excellent point that not everyone is traumatized by customs that might horrify other people, but I really would recommend finding a motivator other than food. Do your parents come from a culture/background where food is scarce?

        1. Isben Takes Tea*

          No, but hers did, and I think that explains a lot of it. And I totally get that withholding food as a disciplinary tactic is way out of line, except in this case it was a specific punishment for critiquing the food or how it was prepared (for example, screwing up your face and going “Yuuulch!”), the message being a cross between “Be grateful for the food you have” and “not liking the food is no excuse to be disrespectful.”

          1. DeLurkee*

            Like you, I can see both sides of the food punishment debate. While I sympathise with your roommate’s perspective, I also grew up with a similar rule to your experience. In my childhood home, you ate what was put before you and didn’t complain, or make faces (because to do others would be both ungrateful and rude), and the penalty for breaking that rule was slightly different – you would stay at the table for as long as necessary until you caved and ate the food. If that meant it was two-hours-cold and even more gross, then that just added to the punishment.

            FYI Brussel sprouts do not improve over time.

    9. Catherine from Canada*

      Now that all my kids are adults, and there are grandkids in the picture, we all got a little tired/horrified at the time and expense involved in everyone getting everyone a gift. So, we pull names from a hat at Thanksgiving (another reason to have Thanksgiving in early October, it leaves enough time for this to work). We also put a ceiling on how you can spend. There was some discussion about whether we as parents should be exempt, but we eventually settled on “we’re all adults, this is how we gift to adults.” (Then we go all out on grandkids.)
      I’ve received some on my “best” gifts this way, like a pillow with grandkid’s handprints embroidered on it, and a set of hand-carved salad servers from wood scrounged from a cabinet maker .

      1. teclatrans*

        That is what my dad’s family did while I was growing up, and I thought it was awesome because we could concentrate on just a few people. I was sad when we moved to the white elephant system, but with nice $10-$20 items, which I have come to loathe (everybody gets so avaricious — myself included! — and all for a mug and some lottery tickets, etc., ugh).

    10. W.*

      That’s so weird. I mean if your family didn’t celebrate Christmas and they were insisting on you giving them presents, and not giving you anything that might make a tiny, weeny bit of sense?
      Or if they tell you what to get and it’s very expensive and you can’t afford it that might make sense. But just buying presents is child abuse? Wow.

    11. Kate Heightmeyer*

      What?! I can understand having a family where children don’t buy presents for their parents, but I can’t imagine being disgusted by the practice. Not unless the children are struggling financially and the expectation is they HAVE to buy presents if they want to keep a relationship with their parents, but that seems more of an extreme situation.
      I started buying my mom presents on my own when I was precariously supporting myself in college. I love doing it. Even when I was a kid I “bought” her Christmas presents (and by that I mean my grandpa took me shopping, I picked something out, he paid for it).

    12. Vicki*

      Wow. My sister and I gave gifts to our parents at Christmas (and birthdays) from the time we were 5 or 6 years old.

  2. Sascha*

    I agree, it really does depend on the scope of the project and your relationship to the person. One of my uncles is an HVAC tech, and has repaired my AC numerous times, and he always refuses payment, even though I’m more than willing to pay him full price. Personally I wouldn’t charge for most things I do, unless it was going to take weeks worth of work.

    1. Charlotte Collins*

      When I was a kid, my mom’s BF had a brother who was a mechanic. He would do simple work on our cars, and my mom would invite him for dinner. He was a young, single guy and perfectly happy to be paid in meatloaf. (Also, looking back since my mom’s friend was a single mother, and we did a lot for her and her kids, he saw it as a way of thanking us for helping his sister.)

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        We have family members that are electricians and mechanics and for that kind of stuff we’d just pay for parts and their labor is free or we give dinner and beer. But with design work that divide isn’t so easy to make since its like all labor.

    2. TootsNYC*

      I think the fact that this is for Dad’s business changes things. I might think it was not cool to charge a relative for a minor fix to the AC in their home.
      But if you ran a store and needed the AC fixed, your business should pay for it.

      1. OhNo*

        Yeah, that’s the distinction I’m seeing as well. If it’s for a business, then it’s a legit business expense, and should be paid for. Heck, for all I know, there might even be tax implications for accepting free work from a family member for a business.

      2. teclatrans*

        Yes, this. Don’t forget, dad gets to include this as a business expense, which helps tax time and which also gives dad a better sense of actual business costs. Plus, dad gets to help out his child by being a paying gig.

  3. Charlotte Collins*

    I think not just time and effort goes into it but the fact that this was for the OP’s father’s business. Making a “fun family” website for one’s parents might be considered non-paid work (a favor you do as a family member), but once business or non-family related stuff is involved, it becomes paying work (but probably at a lower fee than from a stranger). Years ago, my mother asked me to make something as part of the holiday gifts she was putting together for her bridge group, and she gave me some money for my time and materials. But she paid significantly less than if she had bought the items at a craft show. (Then she decided that what I was made was nicer than anything that she’d seen elsewhere and gave me more money – I appreciated it but didn’t ask for it.)

    1. RMRIC0*

      Doing something for someone’s business should certainly be treated differently than doing a favor for someone personally.

      1. Chinook*

        “Doing something for someone’s business should certainly be treated differently than doing a favor for someone personally.”

        I agree with this, especially if it takes away from your time to do other things (whether at work or on vacation). I know I got quite resentful last year when my Mom assumed I was working in her store the week before and after Christmas and ended up venting to my Dad. I told him that this was my (unpaid because I am a contractor) vacation and, in exchange for a bed while visiting family, I have to work retail during the busiest season? I may have mentioned something about a hotel being cheaper on my sanity. Luckily, word trickled back and I was offered a pay cheque the following day, which did soften the blow.

    2. Original Writer*

      I really like your distinction. It was a business that *happens* to be owned by my father. Thanks for making that point! It really sums up what I was thinking when I agreed to accept money for it.

      1. TootsNYC*

        Also, your dad may have wanted to have this expense show up in his financial records, because if he ever needs it done again, you may not be available, and he wants to be sure his monetary expectations are somewhat logical and realistic, as he looks backward in order to plan forward

        Did that make any sense?

    3. W.*

      I think sometimes family members might pay you because they think it’s embarrassing not to, even if they’re only paying you a token amount, they perhaps feel like they should?
      I think some of my family members (for instance grandparents) would feel v rude/indebted to me if they didn’t pay at least something – it’s sort of a keeping face issue.
      So in some cases whether you wanted them to pay or not – they might insist (equally they could insist that they don’t pay you anything…)
      But like Alison said (or I think she meant to say) it’s none of OP’s co-workers business, or ours really. If OP is happy with the situation and so is their dad, that’s really all that matters. If he was taking advantage of her skills, or she was taking advantage of him needing those skills then it might be a bit different.

      1. Amy Farrah Fowler*

        I can see that. Especially older family members that are more established/well-off if you’re just starting out. I know my grandmother used to give me gas money just for coming to visit her. She only lived 10-15 minutes away and I was happy to visit her without it, but even after attempting to turn it down, she refused to accept no for an answer.

        It may also be that they want to “help you out” as you get started, especially if they know you have debts/extra bills. Kind family members may come up with projects you could do for them in order to help you build skills and when they pay you, you earned the money rather than being given it. Obviously, I don’t know the OP’s financial situation, but as long as both parties to the transaction are happy with the result, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with charging family and/or friends for things. Of course, if you want to give your services away for free as gifts, that’s a reasonable choice as well.

    4. Blue_eyes*

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. Doing a favor for a family member is different than doing unpaid work for a family member’s business. If they’re going to profit from your work, you should be compensated.

    5. ITChick*

      Exactly. I do stuff for the family business all the time. Just because my mom and my uncle run it, does NOT mean I’m working for family. I’m working for a business. The business pays me.

      1. ITChick*

        Incidentally, I do a lot of IT stuff for family members directly. I spent 2 hours this past weekend helping my mom and dad setup their new cell phones and get things transferred over. I spent a weekend building my dad a new computer. I did not expect payment for these things (childcare while I work on it, yes, but that’s more of a do you want this thing done? Then mind the toddler.).

  4. the gold digger*

    My uncle and cousins make sausage. Every summer, I see them and they load us up with a cooler full of summer sausage and venison brats. (I won’t eat any other sausage – my uncle has spoiled me, his is so good.) They will not take money for it, but it is their livelihood, so I take nice olive oil or nice soap or anything I can think of in exchange.

    For another family member – my dad’s cousin and his wife, who own a bakery – I have been helping them with their marketing strategy, getting their product (really good small-batch seed and nut bars) listed on, developing their facebook audience, coming up with promotions.

    I am doing this one not for money but because I want to use this experience to maybe someday have my own business consulting to small business and I can cite them as a reference. I would not take their money for what I have done, but I have not spent that much time on it and every time I go there, they fill me up with their product. If, however, I were spending more than an hour or two a week on it, I would want to be paid.

    1. Anony-moose*

      I have nothing substantial to add to this but to say i’m super jealous. My college boyfriend had a similar set-up: family friends would drop off tons of amazing food: venison brats, venison jerky, etc. They’d barter with his mom for massages and we’d reap the benefits. I was SO HAPPY when we got the cooler full of delicious sausage and I still miss it ten years later!

      1. OfficePrincess*

        I feel like exchanging non-money goods is severely underrated. When I was in high school, I would babysit for one family quite a bit. The kid was super easy and I knew they didn’t have a lot of money, so I charged a reduced rate. But every Christmas and for my HS graduation the mom would give me a gift certificate for a one hour massage since she had her own massage therapy business. SO WORTH IT.

  5. Hush42*

    I think that in the situation described it was perfectly reasonable to charge him for your services. You were charging a business for your professional services. I don’t think it really makes a difference that the business happened to be owned by your father other than that, in your situation, I would have discounted the services which it seems that you did based on your post.

    I think that there is a difference between helping a family member with their professional needs and helping with their personal needs. I would charge for the former but not for the latter. But I also think that this situation is also entirely personal preference and depends greatly on your family dynamics.

    1. Original Writer*

      Yes, I agree! My father and I have a great relationship and I actually think stuff like this great for both of us since we got to work on a project together and it gave him new insight in to what I spend my days doing :)

      1. TootsNYC*

        part of why you have a great relationship is that he’s the kind of guy who would want to pay you for your professional services.

        I have a friend who owns a marble-refinishing business. I wanted to get him to refinish the marble around our fireplace, but I wanted to pay him. The only “perk” I wanted from him based on our friendship is that I would know that I could totally trust him to do a really good job.

  6. Red Rose*

    It depends on the relationship for me. My parents, I wouldn’t charge. After all, they fed, clothed, and housed me for a lot of years, in addition to paying more than half towards my college education. The others, it would depend on the scope of work (less than 2 hours, probably not for family) and how close we were.

    1. PontoonPirate*

      I would feel odd about charging my parents for work based on skills I learned at a college they helped pay me to attend. That would be like them invoicing me for sports equipment they bought so I could play sports growing up. But if my parents insisted on paying me for my time/talent, it would be in my best interest to accept, if only to avoid my mother’s Look.

      1. PontoonPirate*

        My answer probably would be different if the hypothetical parents didn’t help pay for my college education. Mine couldn’t afford to help, but I’d probably still take on ad hoc projects if they asked. In either scenario, I’d be uneasy if I was expected to regularly set aside time to provide services to them.

    2. Original Writer*

      It was definitely way more than 2 hours of work (more like 2 weeks, a few hours a day). My parents did help pay for my college tuition but I don’t think that’s a factor for me. It wasn’t just some website my dad wanted for fun; it’s for a professional store that owns and operates. I appreciate that he values my time and my skills. I definitely gave him a discount but it’s important to both me and my parents that I learn to value my own time and develop business skills as well.

      1. PontoonPirate*

        Sure, that’s a valid stance to take. I may decide differently (and I’ve still learned to value my own time and skills; I can still know my value and choose to provide a free service), but in the end, it’s not my co-workers’ business to judge your position, or mine.

    3. Ad Astra*

      I think it’s fine to do free work for your parents if that’s what you want to do, but parent-child relationships aren’t supposed to be completely reciprocal. You don’t owe your parents anything for the years of food, shelter, clothing, transportation, etc. Even if you were lucky enough to have excellent parents. This is not a business arrangement that you agreed to, and 97% of parents took care of you out of the goodness of their hearts, not as an investment.

      1. TootsNYC*

        as a parent, i do actually expect a return of “the goodness of their hearts”–i.e., I expect my children to care about me, and to go out of their way for me sometimes. Never to their own detriment. But I do expect them to leave me with the impression that they care about me.

        1. Ad Astra*

          That’s a reasonable expectation, provided that you’re a good parent (I’m sure you are, but obviously there are plenty of abusive parents out there and their children owe them absolutely nothing). I just think it’s icky when people “keep score” in terms of money spent. I appreciate all the good things my parents did for me, but I’m not indebted to them just because they fed me for 18 years.

        2. Sue Wilson*

          I don’t expect my children to care about me because I’ve done what I was obligated, morally and somewhat legally, to do based on a decision they had no part in. I expect them to care about me because I care about them, over and above any obligations.

  7. Technical Editor*

    If the work is for a BUSINESS, I see no problem with charging the family member who owns that business. They get to deduct the cost of the expense on their taxes, and you get paid out of company funds. It’s just like any other client arrangement, so I don’t see the problem there.

    Freelancing for friends’ personal projects is another ball game. I charge more than other clients because I’ve been burned enough times to finally learn that I have to charge my full value.

    1. Original Writer*

      Yes, totally agree! I avoid offering design/web services for friends for that very reason. I’m happy to give them ideas and suggestions but even paying clients take advantage of designers and I don’t like to perpetuate poor behavior.

    2. TootsNYC*

      They get to deduct the cost of the expense on their taxes

      Well, they get to deduct it as an expense against their income when determining profit. And then they pay taxes on that adjusted (lower) profit. Isn’t that how it works?

  8. Allison*

    Sounds like a fairly complex issue, and for me it would probably depend on how much the service would normally cost, how important/necessary/urgent the service might be, and how much money they have. I can imagine helping a family member who didn’t have much money and was in a crisis where they needed a lawyer, or car repairs, and couldn’t afford the service. But someone who’s well off and looking to save a few bucks by going within the family would probably just get a discount, or a free but very basic service.

  9. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

    I think it also depends on whether this is personal help, or if this is a business-to-business thing.

    For example, if you are a nurse, and you agree to go with your grandma to several doctors appointments to help her understand what’s going on, it would be very weird to charge for that – because this is a person who needs help, and you are family.

    On the other hand, if your grandma owns a home health business and she’s short on nurses for the day and you are asked to fill in with one of her clients, then she should pay you for your services. That’s business to business, not personal to personal. You might be more likely to agree to help because she’s your grandma, but it’s still a business issue. In OP’s case, this looks like your business working with your dad’s business.

    In between those, if grandma needed a full-time home health nurse because she is sick, and your family was going to hire someone, but you are unemployed and happy to do it full time instead of continuing your job search, they should pay you because there was an intention to enter into a business relationship with someone (both yours and theirs)

    I do think that normal (small) professional favors are a different – if I have a lawyer friend and ask them a 5 minute question over dinner, I would not expect to get a bill. If, on the other hand, they represent me in a court case, I should pay them. If you do these little things for free for colleagues and friends, do it free for family. But this is more about size/scope and professionalism than about family.

    1. NickelandDime*

      This explanation is perfect to me. Everyone is different, but this is how I would handle it. My parents – everything is free. I mean, I wouldn’t be here without them. :-)

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      That’s a good point. The OP said My dad recently started a new business; he hired a web developer to build his website, but the guy bailed before the job was done. So it’s actually a good idea for the dad to compensate the OP. If, however, it was “My dad is starting up a blog for fun,” that might be a different story.

    3. Original Writer*

      Yep, this is exactly the distinction I was looking at. It was NOT a personal site but is the actual website for a store that opened and owns/runs. It was also not a small project; it took several weeks to get everything working the way he wanted. I definitely wouldn’t charge him for giving design advice here or there or for updating the site once it had been built. But creating it from the ground up was another story.

      1. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

        There’s also sometimes a benefit to working with family in these situations (there might be a risk too, but it sounds like you have a good relationship with your dad). The potential benefit is that you really care about your dad, and therefore would’t be likely to cheat him, put his project last, or walk away without finishing it. Your business doesn’t suffer for having done the favor, and his business gets the benefit of working with someone trusted. I don’t know your dad, but I wonder if he would have even asked you to help him if it meant that you would lose several weeks of income to work on this project. Not only should you feel comfortable with accepting money for the project, he should feel more comfortable with the arrangement since he’s paying you.

  10. Manny*

    I’ve helped my family with certain things for free with their personal business projects, and I’ve done things that they’ve payed me for. Both my parents are very business oriented, and wouldn’t dream of not paying me if I did a significant project for them. I most certainly don’t get payed at a competitive rate, and I don’t ask to be, but I appreciate that they respect my time and skills and treat me like an adult.

    1. Original Writer*

      Yes, I agree! I really appreciate that my family values my time and doesn’t feel entitled to my work that I normally get paid to do.

  11. T*

    I work in IT and never charge my friends or family for working on their PC, smartphone, etc. Honestly, they couldn’t afford me if I charged them anyway. Too many viruses and malware now require a full OS reinstall which takes hours. They would be better off buying a new computer than paying me by the hour to work on their $400 laptop. But I’m unlucky in the fact that few of them have skills that benefit me at all. Can’t just one of my friends be a mechanic or handyman? A 3rd grade teacher or a librarian can’t do much for me professionally.

    The way I see it we all help each other but what I have to offer is just a little more black and white. For example, my mother is a nurse and I don’t hesitate to call her for direction in medical situations. She’s always my first call to determine how serious I need to take my symptoms which is very valuable. She once literally demanded a mutual friend of ours take her daughter to the emergency room and they said the kid wouldn’t have lived through the night if her mom had waited until morning. Those phone calls aren’t valuable? If I went to a clinic for advice, I would get a bill but my mother would never consider charging me.

    Plus, the support (monetary and other ways) of my family is a huge reason I now have a successful career in IT. Very few of us are independently successful. But even if my cousin had nothing to do with my education or career, it reflects poorly upon my parents if I don’t help him out. A part of life is doing things simply to make your family (or boss) look good.

    1. Anonymous Educator*

      I work in IT, too, and I think there’s a difference between hours and months. If something is a several-hours-long project, I definitely will not charge family or friends for it (and, yes, as you mentioned, that includes cleaning off malware or reinstalling an operating system).

      I would be very wary of any kind of months-long or years-long project going uncompensated, though.

    2. AFT123*

      Yea this is tough – I agree with you for the most part, however in my experience, I’ve had to get really frank and clear with boundaries. I used to work in IT with computers and cell phones, and family would start calling me for every tiny thing instead of first trying to figure things out on their own. Eventually I started saying “Hmm I don’t know, you should go to the cell store or call customer service” even though I knew I could help… I felt bad, but helping so much had become a burden and was making me feel resentful towards them. Same goes for when my mom, love her like crazy, asked me to show her for the 4th time how to get pictures from her camera to her PC and it was clear to me she was just asking me so that I would do it for her. I just had to tell her that she needed to do it and I would help her with it, but she needed to be the one because she had to learn. She knows how now.

    3. Original Writer*

      I think comparing it to healthcare is a bit of a stretch just because medical questions are quite different in terms of outcome compared to building a website (still a valuable service, but definitely not life or death). I’ve certainly asked doctor friends for suggestions and they don’t expect payment. If they asked me to build their practice a brand new website though, that would be a different discussion. I would definitely give them a discount, but it’s a business-to-business request.

      Having worked in design and tech, I get very frustrated with people thinking that it takes “just an hour or two” to throw together a logo or a flyer or a webpage. Sure, I can slap something together but it’s not going to be good work and it really undermines the field in general. Especially when the work is for a BUSINESS, not for something personal like a blog or something.

      1. Ad Astra*

        And, while a doctor who’s a close friend or family member might take a quick look at something or suggest a home remedy/OTC medication, that doctor is not going to examine you at his/her office or provide any actual treatment outside of an emergency.

        1. T*

          Ah, that’s a good point. I guess there’s a big difference between telling you to pop the hood to take a peek and actually putting your car up on the rack to take stuff apart. It’s more of a brief consultation vs. performing an actual service.

  12. Anonymous Educator*

    Plus, sometimes charging someone can avoid some of the issues that can crop up when doing free work for family (and friends). When you’re working for free, you might be rightly annoyed by requests for multiple rounds of revisions or other high maintenance behavior, or you might find that they don’t understand that you’ll need to prioritize their project behind paying work.

    You can also look at this point from the other perspective, too. As the family member who is the client, not paying for the work may also make you feel less inclined (if you have a conscience or any sort of decency) to pester the contracted family member to do multiple rounds of revisions, because you’re thinking “Oh, well, they’re doing it for free—I don’t want to harass them.”

    It really is better all around if large-scope projects get compensated, if both parties are cool with it, and even if there’s some kind of friends-and-family discount.

    If my parents say “Hey, I accidentally deleted this file,” I won’t charge them for the time it takes to do data recovery (which may be a few minutes or may be half a day). But if my parents said “Can you set up a custom PHP/MySQL database for me? We’ll compensate you for it,” I’d be more than happy to take their money for it.

    1. T*

      This is one of my pet peeves when working for free. I’m not saying you need to accept shoddy work from me but I think you do lose the right to pester me for perfection when I’m not being paid. The biggest issue with working for free on somebody’s computer is you are sort of also accepting that you will now have to provide future support for the lifetime of that device. This is why I refuse to work on co-workers’ personal computers for any amount of money. I honestly don’t mind cleaning a virus off their laptop while I watch TV but the future support calls (even if they are paying) are what make you regret helping them.

      1. Stranger than fiction*

        Yeah but the kind of people that are high maintenance are going to be that way whether it’s paid or free IMO

    2. RMRIC0*

      That’s why you need to look at these things relationship by relationship. As someone that frequently does free work (for family and not), I’ve often found that the people you’re doing a favor for are often the least appreciative of your time and talent. Since they have no skin in the game they kind of assume your value is $0. Not all the time, but enough to make me cautious.

    3. Original Writer*

      I wish I could say that people accept free work at face-value but so far in my design career that hasn’t been the case. I take my work seriously and anything of good quality takes more than a few minutes to throw together. If only people could accept that 30 minutes of free design time will not result in work that is 2-weeks-of-work beautiful :)

    4. LBK*

      I would agree with this if most people took “you get what you pay for” to heart when it comes to free work from friends/family members but in my experience they do not. The hypothetical of people relinquishing control or lowering expectations due to not paying for the work is rarely accurate.

  13. Larold*

    My mom runs her own alterations business, and she always charges family members for work, unless it’s a super quick fix. A few people have given her work over the years with the expectation that she would do it for free, but that’s really not fair. Sewing isn’t a fun hobby for her anymore; it’s a job that takes up 40+ hours of her week, and any time spent doing free hems for a niece is time taken away from paying customers.

  14. Dan*

    I’m with AAM on this one: this is nobody’s business but the OP’s and her father’s.

    Different people feel different levels of obligations of generosity towards their parents. My parents didn’t pay for any of my college education, and I took on a boat load of student loan debt. I don’t feel the same sense of gratitude (and certainly obligation) as those whose parents paid for a bunch of their education.

  15. Christy*

    My grandmother pays family members to help her go through papers and clean around the house. Her theory is that she’d have to pay anyway, and this way she gets to spend time with family members and she gets needed help. And the money is a good incentive for the teenagers who would probably not spend as much time with her and definitely wouldn’t be that helpful on their own.

    I realize this is kind of strange but it works for all involved, so shrug.

    1. Allison*

      I’ve always thought it fairly normal to pay younger family members (kids and teenagers) small amounts of money to help with things that aren’t part of their usual chores. My parents obviously didn’t pay me to unload the dishwasher, tidy the playroom, or vacuum my bedroom, but my dad did pay me to help with the yard work in the summer. I’m not saying everyone should pay their kids to help with stuff, or that kids should never be expected to help without pay, but I don’t see anything wrong or weird about it either.

  16. MK*

    I would never charge my parents for anything and I help them as a lawyer in a variety of ways, but they have also helped me, materially and financially, all my life, above and beyond their parental obligations. If I had the sort of parents who held the view that once you are an adult, you are financially on your own (a view I respect completely), I would take the opposite view. There is no right or wrong, as long as the relatiosnhip is equitable.

  17. ali*

    My parents have this great saying, “we’re going to pay *someone* to do our websites, so why shouldn’t it be you?”

    (They are also very well off and I’m struggling to pay my Master’s degree off. But they said this even when I was financially in a much better place.)

    1. TootsNYC*

      That’s how I feel about the marble-refinishing friend, and our fireplace surround. If I need it done, I’d rather go with someone I trust to do it right.
      BUT….I want to pay him, because I want the right to ask for fixes if I think they need it. And I don’t want him to do a quick-and-dirty job because he’s only doing it as a favor.

  18. Brett*

    While doing the work for free can create complications, remember that charging can create complications too.

    For my employer, charging a family member for work (any work, doesn’t have to be related to my job) can be not only a fireable offense, but potentially a crime if any work time or resources were used. Some employers can get extremely touchy about freelancing without permission, even for friends and family.

    1. Original Writer*

      Totally agree. All of this work was done on my own time and completely outside the realm of my day job. I just happened to mention to a few coworkers and that’s where it got messy. My employer has no rules against freelancing on our time as long as their is not conflict of interest client wise and my dad’s store definitely does not fit in to a conflict category.

    2. LBK*

      Can you clarify this? I can understand a policy that says you can’t do work for a family member *without* getting paid, but I don’t really understand why they’d basically ban your family members from being customers of the business.

      1. Brett*

        I should clarify that this is policy is for secondary work, freelancing outside the agency, not for paid work which goes through my employer. This is very common in government.

        1. doreen*

          I’m getting a little confused, Brett. Are you simply saying that the rules (whatever they are) for second jobs/freelance work apply no matter who you are doing the work for? That’s very common- I need permission to work a second job whether it’s as a cashier at Walmart or my father’s grocery store. I need permission to run my own business – even if my only client is a relative.

          *there’s some wiggle room here. If I am occasionally paid to pet-sit by neighbors, or I alter some clothes on a one-time basis , that wouldn’t be considered a business. But if I advertised those services it would surely be considered a business.

  19. Syler*

    I’ve done both –
    When my dad had his own business, he used to pay me to do his accounting and bank reconciliations – which is what I was doing for a living already in a large company. I didn’t think anything of him paying me. I was a grown woman with a life (I was 25) and it required me coming by once a week for several hours. I don’t think either of us would have expected that I give up 8-10 hours a month of my off time to do that for free. I did it cheaper than it would have been for him to officially hire someone and he paid me cash or by filling up my car with gas – and he didn’t have to have someone he didn’t know going through his books and having access to his banking info. I needed the extra income and he needed the help. Win-win.

    When my aunt & uncle wanted to open a pizza shop, they wanted to pay me to give them information about vendors & products and to show them how to make restaurant pizza. I happily gave them all of the information I knew from having recently been the manager of a pizza restaurant over the phone, and then spent an afternoon at their shop training them to make the pizza. I never did let them pay me anything. It just didn’t feel like work to help them out. I instead agreed to let them give me a free lunch whenever I stopped by.

    I think it depends on the situation – how much time are we talking about? what are you giving up in your own life to do the work? does it feel like work to you? what’s my relationship like with these people?

    Finally – this is none of your co-worker’s business. I can’t imagine giving my co-workers unsolicited opinions on how they handle their personal family situations. That’s really overstepping.

    1. Syler*

      I would like to add that my parents gave me a car to drive after I graduated high school and got a job, but they made me pay the remaining payments on it (about 6 mos). Later when I moved back home for a while after getting laid off from a job in another city, they charged me $100 a month and I had to do all of the housework.

  20. Anon here*

    Yeah, this strikes me as odd. I’d never charge my parents for anything because they’ve supported me so much. I’d be confused if my dad suddenly said,”Where’s my fee for doing your taxes?” if my aunt said,”I want payment upfront for any medical advice.

    I also wonder if the OP or the father was the first to discuss money. The father could have found it distasteful too, but agreed because he wanted the OP to help him.

    The whole thing just gives me an “ick” feeling.

    1. Anon here*

      And obviously it’s none of your coworkers business, but maybe they’re like me and find it inherently distasteful.

      1. MK*

        Even if they are (and while I would never ask my parents for money either, I don’t agree it is inappropriate in any way), it was frankly disrespectful of them to say so.

        And frankly, what gives me an “ick” feeling is people judging solely others based on their own experiences. My own parents have given me everything they could, but I know of more affluent parents who expected their children to contribute to household expenses once theyturned 18. If I don’t know the background of a relationship, I don’t volunteer an opinion.

        1. Anon here*

          This is a public blog. I know that sometimes people write in for affirmation, but in this case I can’t give that. I understand that all families are different. Nevertheless, in my family we have accountants, lawyers, teachers, nurses, cost consultants,tradesmen, music producers and musicians and none of us ever charge anyone else when we offer help My family writes legal documents, does taxes, builds decks, produces albums, and gives medical advice, all for free. Would it cost money if someone else asked? Maybe, but we’re family. I can’t imagine anyone in my family ever saying,”Sure I’ll help with x, but you have to pay me.”

          1. MK*

            No one is asking you to imagine anyone in your family asking for to be paid for services. But if you understand that not all families are like your own, you should be able to imagine that within the dynamics of other families, expecting payment for services rendered is not inappropriate. Labeling it “inherently distasteful” is imposing your own experience onto others.

            Also, anyone can comment how they like, but I was mainly refering to the OP’s coworkers. If someone who presumably knew little or nothing about my relationship with my parents went ” Oh my god, how could you take money from your dad?” I would find that both narrow-minded and offensive.

          2. MK*

            Oh, by the way, all those services your family provides for each other are not really for free, in all probability; they are just paid in kind at some past of future time. When that family culture works in a functional, cordial way, it’s because it’s basically an unspoken/unofficial barter system.

          3. doreen*

            Can you also not imagine any of them offering money to another family member who maybe is in a different financial situation ? Because really, I can’t imagine my sister the accountant charging my son for tutoring him in accounting. But neither can I imagine her not paying him to repair holes in her walls. He wouldn’t ask, but she would insist on paying.

    2. Original Writer*

      My father offered to pay me. It was a very condensed timeline because the original web developer completed disappeared and stopped responding to emails. We had the site up 2 weeks later than planned because the other guy bailed.

      I absolutely appreciate all the support from parents but they raised me to be independent, both financially and in my dealings with work and business. I don’t charge my dad for simple design work (putting logos on photos) but a website is a huge undertaking and I actually think it would disrespectful for him to not offer compensation considering he was about to pay someone else 4x as much for the work. I’m lucky in that my parents are supportive of me and my work and recognize that my skills are valuable and worth paying for in a business capacity (this was NOT a personal website, it was built and paid for by the business he owns).

    3. LBK*

      But that’s different. Doing your personal taxes is a personal favor, but if you owned a business I’d hope you wouldn’t expect your father to do the company’s taxes for free no matter how much he’d supported you – because then you’re not acting on your own behalf, you’re acting on behalf of your employer.

      1. Anon here*

        Yeah, but that’s a legal issue. I think it would be a conflict of interest to have my dad do my company’ taxes.

  21. Bekx*

    Hell, I don’t even charge my friends for most things.

    I imagine I’m going to regret that once certain ones get married…Photo retouching, invitation design, wedding website….luckily the friends that have so far haven’t asked me to help.

    1. Allison*

      Maybe have a “friends and family” wedding package, and outline how much you’re willing to do for free, and which services you’ll offer at a discount.

    2. RMRIC0*

      Yeah, if you have friends that are even slightly problematic about this sort of thing just run and hide when it comes to anything wedding related. I did some engagement shoots with some “friends” (more like friendship proximity acquaintances) and the amount of back-and-forth and bellyaching that I got from that favor really crushed my willingness to play nice (no, I won’t retouch 100 images. No I won’t print and design a guest book/album or comp you a like 24×32 canvas).

  22. Margaret*

    Be sure to also consider any rules of your employer, and professional ethics/legal issues if you’re in a profession that’s licensed or otherwise has a governing body.

    Working as a tax preparer and CPA licensed by a state board, (1) my employer specifically states we can’t do paid work outside the firm without permission, and (2) there’s legal liability that I, as an individual, don’t have insurance for if I’m working on my own, but that my firm does when I’m working as their employee.

    We are allowed to do (and use the firm’s software) a small number of returns for friends and family, and I do a couple basic 1040s under that. (We can accept small gifts in exchange, like being taken out to dinner, just not payment or larger gifts that would essentially be payment.) I do that when it’s both a small amount of time, and simple in nature so I’m not worried about messing something up with the IRS on their behalf. The few times I’ve been asked or considered a more complex return, I’ve offered to run it through the firm for a discounted price (essentially not charging for my own time, but charging for colleagues time that I want to assist me with more complex issues, and/or charging to demonstrate that it’s a valuable, complex service).

    And of course I’m totally willing to give people small pieces of advice or discuss tax issues generally, with a caveat that of course I’m providing that information in the context of a private citizen, not the in the context of being a CPA, since they’re not paying me, and their rights to rely on my advice is nil if I’m not their paid preparer.

    1. aliascelli*

      I’m a CPA but my day job isn’t taxes. I do returns for friends & family every year. Most of the time it’s at a discount, but everyone pays at least a little (my mom paid $50 for years) so that I am their paid preparer and can do advice, etc. So the opposite of your last paragraph. (I did have to clear it with my employer.)

      It works well for me and is a nice extra source of spring income, but it does make the relationship more complicated – if I’m sick and slow on a deadline, I have CPA guilt and sister/friend/whatever guilt. Also, “firing” a client with whom you have a personal relationship requires a very delicate touch, lemme tell you.

  23. Sins & Needles*

    I charge for my creative work. I do have a family rate, and some minor things I for free, just part of the relationship. But major projects, I charge. I always charge businesses, even family businesses. I spent a lot of time, work and money developing my expertise; it’s not a question of needing the money, it’s about respecting my abilities. I do creative work traditionally done by women, and many, many people give away their work, to “build expertise” or because “I don’t need the money,” which has trained other people to NOT value my skills. By charging, I feel like I’m doing my part to correct the misconception that those skills have no value. I do wonder if your co-workers are horrified, in part, because you’re charging for CREATIVE work.

    My experience has been that the family members willing to pay me are the ones who see and value my expertise, and the ones who don’t want to pay are the ones who don’t value it and would be the worst to work for, even if they did pay me: the problem clients. Your mileage may vary, but there’s nothing wrong with charging for your work.

  24. jhhj*

    My feeling would be that if my father was starting up a new business, I would not charge him for work until the business started earning money (or was clearly on track to do so), and he’d probably agree to pay me for work I did earlier at that point. I don’t think it’s wrong to charge initially, but that’s not how we’d do it.

  25. Suzanne Lucas--Evil HR Lady*

    My brother is a lawyer. He reviews all my contracts for me and I pay him the same fee his other clients pay. My cousin designed my logo on my website and while he volunteered to do it for free, I paid him his normal rate.

    I have written articles for a charity my Aunt runs for free, because that’s for charity. I review all family members’ resumes for free, as I do my friends. But, if they want me to write a weekly column for their blog, that’s a straight fee for service job.

    Now, if I was destitute and my brother knew this and he charged me for reviewing a contract so that I could have income again, I think that would be a little petty. But, since I’m employed and he’s employed, I’ll happily pay a lawyer I know to be honest and trustworthy.

    1. Meredith*

      My uncle is a lawyer and handles the legal stuff regarding property jointly owned by my dad, uncle, and aunt. He takes a larger percentage of the revenue generated by the property to pay for his time. My dad and aunt would have to hire someone to do the legal administration of the property if my uncle weren’t doing it, so they pay him – he has the professional background and skill. I don’t think any of them think anything of it. Totally normal in my family.

  26. Shan*

    I agree with Alison. If it works for you and your Dad, then who cares what everyone else thinks? You know your relationship with him well enough to gauge if your agreement is fair in regards to the other factors mentioned. When you have a great relationship with your family and help each other as needed, and you’re just helping them out with one task, then it may be appropriate to do the work for free. If they’re a distant family member or you’re going far out of your way to help, I think charging for your services at least at a small discount is appropriate, and you’ve done that.

    I think it really depends on your relationship with the family member. I’m a photographer (mostly just a hobby), and everyone in my family comes to me for senior pictures, engagement portraits, etc. I gladly shot my sister’s engagement portraits for free because we do things for each other all the time, and she’s good about understanding that my paid work is a priority.

    But when my cousin got married several years ago, she asked me to shoot her entire wedding for free, and I really wish I’d said no or at least charged her *something,* even if it was just a few bucks. We’re not very close, and at a wedding where I would have been a guest, I ended up working 8 hours and editing the photos for several more. Like Alison said, some issues came up that don’t normally happen when it’s paid work, such as her texting me every day after the wedding asking when the pictures would be ready. Once I sent them, she plastered them all over Facebook but I never even got a thank you. I promised myself I’d never do that much work for free again.

  27. Lanya*

    I am also a designer. I would say that 98% of the time I have done work for friends and family – paid or not – it has bred resentment. They simply don’t understand how the industry works, and they don’t get that what they think is a small request may take hours of my personal time. So, I no longer do this type of work for those close to me, and my life is better for it. But when I did, I often wished I could charge them so they might better understand the breadth of their request. Kudos to you, OP, for establishing this job with your dad as a business relationship from the get-go.

    1. T3k*

      My thoughts exactly. As a fellow designer, I’ve had family members that think I can just whip something up quickly, not realizing it takes much longer than that so I just smile and change the subject when one asks about me doing design work for them. I’d rather not cross that bridge.

    2. Anonymous127*

      I’m also a designer. This has been a huge issue for me personally with my in-laws, meaning that it has bred resentment. They have always asked me to do design work for their business with never even a mention of compensation. It has gotten to the point where now I don’t even get asked, I just get told what they need. They don’t even ask if I have time outside of my full-time job to do it, so when it turns out I don’t have the time, then I feel awful for having delayed it. I feel like I’m set-up for failure every time because it’s never within their timeframe of needing it as soon as possible, and I barely even get a thank you. I feel like I can’t even say no at this point.

  28. themmases*

    I’m kind of surprised that the OP’s coworkers are surprised. Design, and particularly web design, has always struck me as being right up there with legal, medical, and IT knowledge in requests for free help. I know a lot of people *do* comply, but I certainly didn’t get the impression that they all always want to.

    I really don’t have the kind of skills that private individuals would want or need to purchase. But I guess if my family ever needed help designing an experiment (maybe to settle a bet?), collecting a bunch of weird data, and analyzing it with the copy of SAS I already bought, I’d probably help them for free. They helped me way more with my life and education than they had to do, and my life is noticeably nicer for it. I’d be willing to accept payment from a family member’s business, but I probably wouldn’t insist on it.

  29. penelope pitstop*

    OP–I totally agree with how you handled it. I’m in a similar line of work and have been in similar situations where I’ve handled it the same as you did. To me, the difference in a charge/no charge situation is a factor of time and action. If I’m offering perspective or ‘consulting’-like advice based on my experience or expertise, I wouldn’t charge because then it’s on the other person to do something with it (or not). If I’m creating or doing something myself, I would likely charge something. Maybe not the same as I would if working with an actual client, but still something.

    – I’m allocating time to it outside of work hours when I would otherwise be spending time however I want.
    – Your dad obviously saw a value in the service and your work; he was paying someone else. Seems not only fair to pay you something to finish, BUT it also prevents relational problems actually. With family and friends, it can be hard to shift expectations and boundaries between ‘free’ and ‘for hire.’ The two of you were smart to figure out something where you both felt good about the value of what you exchanged.
    – Presumably, your dad intends and hopes to profit from this business. That isn’t a favor situation. He needed a professional product to hang out his shingle, so to speak. You provided it.

    I can see how the payment lines get a little blurrier if your parents are still providing financial support. That is not my situation and I’m not sure if it’s yours, but it seems it could be for some of those who’ve responded.

  30. Wanna-Alp*

    Kudos to the OP for having her father value her time, and reach a mutually beneficial arrangement.

    I occasionally get friends or family wanting me to do things for them. If it’s a substantial piece of work and I’m not keen to do it, then I use one of two approaches: either they do some work for me of a similar time length (or maybe they already have, and this would be suitable payback), or I say that I could put them on the queue of things to be done, but it’s a very long queue, and it might be a couple of years or more before their request comes to the top of the pile (and I can easily rattle off 10 years or so of things that are more important than their request and earlier in the queue). That normally does it no problem. I’m happy to share my expertise and do some free work to an extent, but I do not want to get taken advantage of!

  31. Jerzy*

    My husband is the defacto computer/tech guy for his family, and, his grandmother especially, takes advantage of this. He doesn’t charge them for anything, even though he’ll often spend entire family functions in another room fixing a computer problem. He’ll offer free advice to friends on their tech questions, but if anyone wants him to use his specific skill set of coding for web design, he’ll say, “I get $x per hour.” He doesn’t want to take on an additional, arduous project that’ll take time away from his family and down time without compensation.

  32. Mary (in PA)*

    I’ve been paid for editing papers for my dad since 2003. It’s actually helped me out a lot, as far as work practices go. Dad doesn’t pay me unless I send him an invoice, and he’s also hooked me up with work from several of his colleagues and graduate students. I’ve even hired one of my younger sisters to help me out with a huge project that I wouldn’t have been able to complete myself. The work got done and she got some beer money — and everyone wins.

    Getting paid for this kind of work, even if it’s for a family member, has given me a lot of confidence in what my skills are worth on the open market and has let me set fair rates for doing this kind of work for people to whom I’m not related. This kind of mindset is invaluable for people who work in creative areas, which is a kind of work that I think gets devalued a LOT.

    In short: good for you, OP, and never mind those Nebby Debbies at your workplace.

  33. Tara*

    For me, it depends on the situation of the project.

    I’m a photographer, and so naturally if I am at any kind of event with friends or family, guess who is taking all the photos? I’ll also have people wanting some special photo of them that they can print to put in their house or some other purpose, and so I’ll do that too since we’re there. This of course will require some editing at home, but if its in the context of already meeting with them I don’t think I’d feel comfortable taking money for it.

    If I get a specific request to go somewhere and do a full shoot, and if it really starts to feel like what I would do professionally, I might be more inclined to ask for payment for my services and wouldn’t think twice about accepting if even family decided themselves they wanted to pay.

    As for OP, his father is starting a business and is going to be getting financial value out of his services through having a better design for his website, so I don’t think its weird at all to accept payment, especially considering his father offered it up freely. I don’t know if I’d be the one to ask for money unless it was a huge project, but accepting what’s offered seems normal.

  34. June*

    When I was looking for work after college, my dad “contracted” me to do some work for his small business. He would have otherwise had to have done the work himself, so he paid me. It was actually pretty valuable research experience and hard work. On the other hand, I’ve volunteered to do some work for my mother over the years. Live and let live.

    1. June*

      On the other other hand, my Dad will email me with tech questions that I solve with either five minutes of googling or a few hours consulting other tech friends….

  35. Menacia*

    I have assisted my MIL a few times with her computer problems, and she’s paid me with a good meal…I think every situation is different, depending upon the work performed, duration, effort, etc. Now that you know your coworkers reactions, perhaps the next time don’t tell them? Nothing wrong with getting paid for the work you do, no matter who you’re working for!

  36. Ad Astra*

    If you’re doing work that you would charge a client for, you should charge your family for it. Or you should make it clear that you’re doing free work as a gift, not a favor. Setting up a website, and especially finishing a project for which the father was already planning to pay a professional, sounds completely appropriate to me. It’s different from helping your mom set up her voicemail or spending 5 minutes proofreading your sister’s wedding invitations.

  37. Original Writer*

    Thank you AMA and all the commenters who have weighed in. A few points I want to clear up:

    1. While my parents supported me through college, I’m financially independent and don’t get any help from them with bills, rent, etc.
    2. All work was done outside my day job. I work a regular 9-5 and my company doesn’t prohibit freelancing since many of us have skills that we enjoy flexing outside of client work. There’s no conflict of interest.
    3. This website was built for and paid by the business my dad owns and operates. It was not a personal project and includes all the usual information that a business website offers (hours, location, services, history, etc.).

    I have a great relationship with both of my parents and while I agree that are times to offer your services to friends and family free of charge, I really appreciate that my family values my time and my skills. Spending 30 minutes photoshopping the family Christmas card is a very different ask than spending 2 weeks building a website for a legitimate store. As many of the design/creative folks have attested to, it’s slippery slope because many people don’t understand the time and effort that a “simple logo” requires.

    I definitely think my co-workers were making a fuss over nothing and if my dad or other family friended wants more design help, I intend to weigh the scope of the project and proceed accordingly.

  38. Shortie*

    And from the other perspective, I prefer to pay family members for any work they do for me. Then I don’t feel like I’m taking advantage of someone I love, and my job gets done faster because it’s not put on the back burner behind paying customers. I also hate it when people say, “Oh, pay me whatever you feel like.” They mean it with the kindest of intentions, but I have no idea how much you get for X work that I’ve never had done before, so have no idea if I’m being rude and lowballing or if I’m paying way too much. Just tell me how much it costs, and I’ll pay it. Can you tell this has happened to me? :-)

  39. Lore*

    I’m definitely squarely in the “It depends” category. My dad is a self-published novelist. He had me read his first book several times, and it would never have occurred to me to ask for money–the same is true of friends’ manuscript. (Well, until I was on the third draft and he had taken not one of the suggestions I’d made on drafts one and two…) But when he was ready to send one off to CreateSpace or whoever, he wanted to pay for it to be copy edited. He would have been happy to pay me if I wanted the job, but instead I hooked up him with one of my qualified freelancers. On the other hand, my mom was also self-publishing a book. She was approaching deadline and it became clear that no one had edited it at all, and she had no plans to have someone do so. I was visiting them and didn’t have nearly enough time to do a proper full copy-edit, but I thought whatever I could manage would still be better than not having it done at all. But I was doing it to protect her reputation, not because she asked me to, so again, getting paid felt weird (especially since I didn’t think I was doing the quality of work that a paying customer should expect!)

  40. Calacademic*

    My uncle is a contractor. My parents hired him (and his crew) to do the roof on their house. I don’t think there was any family discount — my uncle has to pay his crew. It feels different when you’re doing solo work, but what if you had an assistant you had to pay? You couldn’t pay them 1/4 their wage.

  41. Emily*

    Hands down—it’s up to you and your father. There is no industry standard here.

    To the nosy critics, you could “blame” the arrangement on your dad and tell them that he respects you and your work too much not to pay you. “But you don’t have to accept his money!” they’ll exclaim. “Oh, I don’t? I guess you haven’t met my dad . . . ” you’ll reply. Or “I’m taking him out for dinner next week,” where you’ll toast to his new venture and your continuing success.

  42. J*

    My dad would pay me for any real work (beyond favors and smaller tasks) since he has a lot more money than I do.

  43. Someone Else*

    It’s all about perception. My husband for years worked in construction, he was primarily a mason and a tile layer. He did work for his dad a few times for materials cost only – the last time, his dad asked, “So what would a professional charge for this?” That was like twenty years ago and his hackles still go up when he thinks about it. He wishes his response had been, “I’ll send you a bill and you can find out.”

  44. OfficeKnitter*

    OP, I think charging your dad is perfectly acceptable. In my family, even though money doesn’t always change hands, when we offer professional services to one another, it comes with the understanding that we will recieve something back in exchange. For example, my dad does repair an maintenance on my car and I maintain his business website.
    We learned the hard way that this is the best approach (for us) Growing up, I saw some extremely ham-fisted behavior on the part of family members who felt they were entitled to monopolize my Dad’s skill and time when he could have been taking on more paying jobs or spending a couple of idle weekend hours with his family.

  45. A Cita*

    I charge family members double–because I know I’ll be doing triple the work for them, at least. :)

    (Usual exceptions apply.)

    1. A Cita*

      OR if I do it for free, it’s under the condition I get COMPLETE design freedom.

      “Can you move that over, and add a starburst here, along with a picture of a kitten?”

      “I don’t really like that color. I was thinking something more magenta and orange.”
      Doesn’t matter. I’m not changing it.

      “Can you make that line more line-y. But circular.”

      “Why is there all this empty space. I feel like we could fill it with something.”
      Doesn’t matter. I’m not changing it.

      Enjoy your new brochure/report/website/manual that looks great and has NO MAGENTA KITTENS!!!!!

  46. mirror*

    I’m a wedding and newborn photographer, so this has come up many times with friends and family. Only my immediate family and my 2 best friends get things done for free, but my parents always want to support my work so they pay my hard costs, if any. They also understand that their free things will be finished behind paid work.

    My husband’s cousin got married recently, and they asked me to photograph the wedding. My husband was absolutely horrified that I wanted them to at least cover our plane tickets out to the wedding. He thought it should be a wedding gift for family. But who gives a $2500 wedding gift?! Some other family helped set things up on the wedding day, but that’s just 1 day of work–to treat this like any other wedding I do involves multiple meetings beforehand to plan details, and at least a week’s worth of editing afterward. I had to rent gear too. Then, there’s the vacation time we had to use (only family from out of state) and my having to turn away well-paying couples from booking that date…so it’s not like I was making money off them.

    Anyway, after some deliberation they agreed to pay for our tickets. And since I was “paid” and we’re family, we bought them wedding gifts also.

    1. Minister of Snark*

      As a hobby baker, I made a muti-tiered wedding cake for a family friend as a gift ONCE. I told the bride I would set the cake up and help the cake-servers (cousins of hers) take it apart for cutting, but other than reclaiming my pillars, platforms, etc., I wouldn’t act as a “vendor” at the reception. She invited me. I was a guest. She readily agreed, since she was getting a free cake out of the deal, she said the least she could do was arrange for someone else to serve it. I baked it, decorated, set the cake up and changed into nice clothes for the ceremony.

      The cake was served at the reception. I helped the cake-cutters take it apart for serving. (It can be tricky if you don’t having baking experience.) I took my pillars and other re-usable tools into the reception hall’s kitchen to be put away. The aunts of the bride, who were running the kitchen, shoved a plastic dish tub into my hands and said, “We need you to bus the tables. We’re running out of clean punch cups.” I explained that I wasn’t a caterer. I was a guest. I’d just made the cake.

      They said that made me “paid help” and that meant I had to help with dishes. No amount of explaining that I was actually PAID to do anything would convince them that I wasn’t their employee. Finally, I placed the tub on the counter, grabbed my cake tools and went back to my seat. One of the aunts followed me out to the table where I was seated with my family to fuss at me for being lazy and “sitting down with the guests.” I ended up leaving the reception early thanks to these yahoos.

      The bride was too busy during the reception to realize what was happening. When she realized how I was treated, she was MORTIFIED. And she said she was sorry, with gift cards to the local hobby store. I never offered to bake a cake as a gift again.

      1. Minister of Snark*

        No amount of explaining that I “wasn’t” actually paid to do anything would convince them that I wasn’t their employee. Dang it

        1. Mirror*

          Ugh that sounds so annoying!

          I forgot to mention the biggest thing that irked me that my husband and his family didn’t understand- they’re all asking me to work while they all party! I barely eat or sit down for 8 hours straight.

          1. Minister of Snark*

            Right?! You should “enjoy” doing all this work because it’s your hobby! Because your feet don’t hurt and your back doesn’t ache when you’re exercising your skills.

      2. Purple Jello*

        Thank you for doing this! One of my friends volunteered to make the cake for my daughter’s wedding, and it was such a load off my mind. The groom’s family didn’t seem to get it that my friends and I ran the whole thing: wedding planner, decorators, cake, set up the tables, washed the dishes, clean up, the whole nine yards. They were surprised when the “dishwashers/kitchen staff” changed their clothes and started dancing.

    2. Ad Astra*

      I have heard of photographers doing a close friend’s or family member’s wedding for free, and I’ve always thought that was a huge wedding gift. I’d appreciate that immensely because the service is worth a lot, but I don’t know why so many people seem to expect that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a newly engaged couple (or their parents) say something like “Oh, we can get Percival to do the wedding for free, so that means more money for centerpieces!”

      1. Mirror*

        Sadly in most situations I think they don’t realize taking wedding photos is more than clicking a button. Percival is usually a landscape photographer hobbyist who is doing the wedding free for experience (or actually thinks it will be easy! Weddings and landscapes are totally the same thing, right?).

        I’ll never understand why people spend thousands of dollars on wedding “stuff” you won’t ever see again yet won’t pay a decent rate to actually have beautiful photos of all that stuff.

  47. Persephone Mulberry*

    My mother owns a business, and I worked full-time as her office manager (W2, salaried) for several years. A few years ago I left to take a new full time job, and at her suggestion we negotiated a small monthly retainer for me to continue do some light bookkeeping as well as work on some other ongoing projects. Just last month I told her that I didn’t feel right accepting the amount of retainer we had originally negotiated as most of the ongoing projects had ended and I was just doing the monthly bookkeeping piece now – but I didn’t suggest that I’d start doing the bookkeeping for free.

  48. Minister of Snark*

    Personally, having several hobbies that people sometimes want me to put to their use, I have found that it’s better to charge relatives for this sort of work. People don’t value something that is free. And I’ve found that if I take out the “business” element of the transaction, I get treated with more disrespect, in terms of:

    -The relative requesting an unreasonable number of changes/corrections during the creative process
    -The relative having reasonable expectations of delivery, materials used, timing, etc.
    -The relative expecting unlimited future maintenance of the work, in your base, web site updates

    On the other had, some people become even more obnoxious when they’re paying because “the customer is always right.” So really, you have to determine whether you want to work with this person in the first place.

    But really, if you’re comfortable with charging your dad and he’s not objecting to paying, then who cares what your coworkers think?

  49. Crabby PM*

    I don’t ask anybody to work for me for free – parent, friend, SO. I might get a discounted rate and one time a friend just asked me to take her to dinner, but everyone’s work has value and it’s ridiculous to think that you shouldn’t at least offer to pay for a haircut, cleaning a house, or a website. Also none of your coworker’s business, but I always insist on at least trying to pay something for a friend or relative’s work.

  50. Panda Bandit*

    I charge unless it’s meant as a gift.

    My brother has commissioned me for artwork before and he is absolutely firm on paying for it. I do give him a discount though. :) If any of my relatives do something for me I will give them money or food or some kind of gift in return.

  51. Jess*

    It seems totally fine to me. My husband is a lawyer and has done legal work for his parents’ business before. If the job is small, like looking over a new clause in their lease, he’ll do it for free. For bigger jobs, like if he actually has to put on a suit and represent the business in court or handle a lawsuit with motions and depositions and everything, he charges them a discounted rate.

  52. Anonymous127*

    I have the issue where my in-laws have asked me for years to do free design work for their business, and I have done it. It’s always a rush job, a lot of work, and compensation is never even mentioned. I’m not saying that I would necessarily take money from them, however, it would be nice if it was offered.

    It’s at the point now that they don’t really even, “ask” me anymore—it’s more like I get assigned work that they need done, and I’m supposed to do it whether my life is incredibly busy or not. I’m really starting to feel unappreciated, disrespected, and taken advantage of. They almost act as if I owe it to them. They do a lot for my husband and I, but I just feel like they have no idea that this is work for me, and just don’t seem to realize or care that I’d like to do other things with my free time. I’ve basically become their in-house designer for free, and sometimes I don’t even get a thank you. It’s more like, if it takes me a while because I have other things going on, then I end up apologizing and am made to feel like I let them down.

    I think that it’s good to set boundaries with this type of work in the beginning. Or, say you’re too swamped. It can end up being a source of resentment on both ends if work is repeatedly expected for free.

  53. Giselle*

    My sister is a stylist and I pay her when she cuts and colors my hair. My appointments take away from time from other clientele, so that makes perfect sense. She helped a lot by firmly stating what I would be charged and it’s vastly below market rate in San Francisco, so I have zero complaints. If anything I try to give her more than she asks (and then run away before she can give it back).

  54. SY*

    My co-worker and I just started being a working class in the country. And he is being charged by his mother for bringing his mother’s cooked food to work.

  55. Megan Buchanan*

    Hello, my sister had just asked me to do a photo shoot with her baby who is turni,g one. She asked me how much I charge? On my business card it does say free CD of picture for one year. But it doesn’t mean I can’t charge for time. My husband says no. Don’t charge family even though my sister offered. I have only done two photo shoots, her baby when she was born was one of them and she loved how the pics turned out. And that was free. What should I do? She has bought something from me before that involved photography. A name frame (pictures of objects that look like letters spelling a name). Thanks for the advice.

Comments are closed.