Considering hiring a friend or family member to do some work for you? You may be hesitant to hire someone you know in case something goes wrong. Here are some tips to avoid a messy situation with a dear friend or family member.

  1. Ask yourself some important questions first.

    Whether the job is building a deck at your house or a full-time position at your workplace, it’s important to ask yourself some questions before hiring a friend.

    • Are you comfortable giving them bad news?
      If you’re not comfortable telling them you’re unhappy with their work or offering constructive feedback, a professional relationship will be hard to manage.
    • Does the opportunity outweigh the risks? 
      Make sure you’ve considered the worst-case scenario and weighed it against the exciting opportunity of working with or hiring a friend.
    • Are you worried? Remember it’s okay to say ‘no’.
      If you are worried it will damage the relationship, don’t be afraid to say no. You can explain that their friendship means more to you than a great deal on contractor work, or the excitement of working with a close friend.
  1. Have a frank conversation with your friend.

    Are you both on the same page? Have an open and honest conversation with your friend about any concerns you have and encourage the same honesty in return.

  2. Set extremely clear expectations.

    When you set objective standards, it’s easier to have those difficult conversations if something goes awry because there’s less room for interpretation and misunderstanding.

  3. Get it in writing.

    It’s always a good idea to get everything down in writing, that way – it’s very clear what you both expect. Include information like how disagreements will be addressed. You also want to make sure you both agree on pricing if it’s contracted work (like building a deck or having a necklace made). Same goes for deadlines.

  4. Encourage a debrief chat.

    If a project wraps up, or the work is over, set some time aside to have a conversation about how it went for both of you. This will give you both a chance to share what worked and what didn’t and can help clear the air. Having a frank post-project conversation also sets you both up to succeed for any future work together.

Have you worked with a friend before? Feel free to post any tips you find helpful in the comments section below.


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