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Moxie

I HATE mixing business and relationships

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I do not do business with friends. Too much potential for things to go wrong.

 

Case in point.

 

We're planning on putting in a new kitchen this year. I casually mentioned that while in a crowd of people without realizing that one of women there is a cabinet salesperson/contractor. Ugh. Had I know, I would have kept my mouth shut. She looked at our kitchen, did a ton of drawing work and has designed a lovely kitchen that is way more (like, double!) what we want to spend. So now I'm in a pickle. I don't want to look cheap or be insulting and I know she has done a lot of work but I'm not paying that much. If she were just Joe off the street, I'd say thanks but no thanks and move on. I hate these awkward situations!!

Edited by Moxie

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Did you in any way ask her to even through implication? Or did she mention she could do this and you sort of just said maybe or let's talk later or...?

 

Just trying to understand why she would go to so much work based on a comment made in a group having a casual conversation. Most people in that business would need to work with the person and need exact measurements etc. She started this without notifying you at all? Seeking info from you such as budget/measurements?

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If she just randomly on her own took it upon herself to do this, without even implied consent from you, then you are not obligated to do anything but say thanks but no thanks in whatever way you think would work best.

 

If you like her work but cannot afford what she designed you could tell her that and see if she can come up with something more in your budget but you are NOT obligated to do so.

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Yeah, it doesn't mix well.  There's another thread going about a difficult customer who is the hiver's friend's daughter, which makes everything extra tricky.  

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"Looking cheap" is not a problem. If she's in the business she should be accustomed to working within client's budgets and it matters not at all why your budget is what it is.

 

What she is doing here is worth a shot because you miss 100% of the chances you don't take, but she's well aware you're more likely than not to turn down her offer.

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She should know in that line of work, that a budget framework is crucial before taking paper and pencil in hand.

 

I'd say (with a smile) "we should have talked budget first" and ask if there is anyway she can drop the cost XYZ amount by choosing different materials and finishes.

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Oh, it is my fault. I mentioned that we were doing the kitchen, she said "Did you know that that is what I do? I'd love to help you". She asked to come over, I said sure. I thought she would just look and say "yeah, put the fridge here, blah blah blah" but she was here for hours measuring.

 

ETA-Budget. Part of the issue is that she is the first one we've talk to so we had ZERO idea what it could cost.

Edited by Moxie

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Ugh, I agree. Right now I have a friend, I'd consider her close, who I did pet sitting for in June and July. I already gave her a nice discount because we're friends. So what would have cost others over $300 she was charged under $200. But there is some dumb argument going on with her family and the owners of dh's work that I think is making her not pay me. This issue is not about dh or myself at all but it sure feels like she'd holding my money until things are settled over there. I may just count it as a damn wash and just be happy to get rid of a person like that. Time will tell.

 

I've told a really close friend that we couldn't get windows from his family's company even after a nice discount because it was too darn expensive. Luckily, he knows how expensive it is and took no offense

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Oh, it is my fault. I mentioned that we were doing the kitchen, she said "Did you know that that is what I do? I'd love to help you". She asked to come over, I said sure. I thought she would just look and say "yeah, put the fridge here, blah blah blah" but she was here for hours measuring.

 

ETA-Budget. Part of the issue is that she is the first one we've talk to so we had ZERO idea what it could cost.

Then be bluntly honest and explain what your budget actually is. Communication, honest, clear communication is paramount. Don't be embarrassed at sharing what you can actually afford. Her job is to work with her client within whatever budget they can actually afford. She was shooting in the dark, now you have a better idea of what you can afford, so share that with her. You've already started this process, she already knows your kitchen, so just see what she can come up with.

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This doesn't help with your friend situation, but before doing anything read the Gardenweb kitchen forums. It has a lot of helpful info. Also, consider an IKEA kitchen. We've done it twice. I don't have one yet in this home but I wish I did.

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Oh, it is my fault. I mentioned that we were doing the kitchen, she said "Did you know that that is what I do? I'd love to help you". She asked to come over, I said sure. I thought she would just look and say "yeah, put the fridge here, blah blah blah" but she was here for hours measuring.

 

ETA-Budget. Part of the issue is that she is the first one we've talk to so we had ZERO idea what it could cost.

 

That seems very strange that she would spend hours without asking the simple and obvious question that everyone asks, "What is your price range?" This is all on her. Don't feel bad at all. She didn't do her job very well, imo. 

 

You have your first price range now, so just think on it, get a couple more quotes, do some researching and pricing, and don't feel guilty or bad at all. You haven't done anything wrong. 

Edited by wintermom
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Yeah. I avoid using neighbors too. One of my neighbors is a roofer, but we didn't use him for our roof.

 

My boss and I were having a general conversation about social media and advertising and how our agency is missing customers over not having a social media presence. He turned and asked why I wasn't his friend on Facebook. I told him I don't friend supervisors (I don't). That felt awkward.

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I think the person who did the design work set up this situation badly. She knows there are budget for remodels. She probably encounters people over and over who are surprised by costs. She's the expert. She should have asked a budget range or suggested one to start.

 

Given that, I think you have to be up front and say what your budget is.

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This doesn't help with your friend situation, but before doing anything read the Gardenweb kitchen forums. It has a lot of helpful info. Also, consider an IKEA kitchen. We've done it twice. I don't have one yet in this home but I wish I did.

The closest ikea is 4 hours away. And, we're tired of diy. Tired to the point that we spend lots of time on realtor.com.

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say thanks, it's lovely,  but that's really out of my budget.  I need something simpler.  and move on.

 

business people need to realize - not everyone has a huge budget for a remodel of any kind - and if they're going to insist on extravagant plans - they're going to have people go elsewhere.

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I don't think it's one person's fault. Both of you could have acted differently (find out about cost before tape measure came out/she could have asked budget).

 

If you think it's worth perusing then I would just tell her about your budget concerns and see if she can come up with anything. Otherwise maybe just thank her for her time and say that you don't think you can afford that scale of work.

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When she offered to come by, she knew how long it would take, so she knew what she was getting into.  Did she ever ask you anything about budget?  Did you mumble any amount?  I'm thinking she must have asked *something* about it.  You may have even said, "We don't have a clue!"  And she must have been ok with it.  She decided to go ahead and create a plan and give you a price and then you could come back with whether that was something you could do or not.

 

I'd just tell her, "Ok, you know we were clueless going into this and now that we've seen your (gorgeous, by the way) plans, we realize it's beyond our budget.  Here's what we'd actually be able to do:  $X.  Can we modify your plans for the new budget?"  She'll most likely say, "Of course I can modify.  We'll switch up X and Y and use a different material for Z."

 

That's if you want to work with her, if you like what's she's done/how she's been so far.  If not, then you'll have to come up with a polite way to extract yourself.  

 

 

 

Edited by Garga
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I agree about mixing business and friendship, but in this instance, I would say, "I love your design, but my budget is ----. What aspects of your drawing can we incorporate and stay within budget?"

 

If she is a professional, she is very accustomed organising a renovation according to budget.

 

My guess is that she was showing you her best work because you are her friend and she wants to show what she is capable of, but she will happily redesign according to budget.

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Yes, and also, it sounds like you're early enough in this process to not necessarily HAVE a budget for it.  So this is a good part of your investigatory work.  It might be that she gave you a really economical quote.  It might be that she gave you a really expensive one.  You have no idea until you get a second opinion.

 

Some people do a really good, inexpensive job for their friends, and some look at them as captive customers.  We once got a quote for termite work from a guy DH worked with who did it on the side, and Terminex was 1/3 (!) of that price for a more thorough treatment.  

 

Personally, I would not use her design and, say, go to the local Lowes contractor to save 10%, but 3X is more than I can stomach, by far.  That was darned abusive.

Edited by Carol in Cal.

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Oh, it is my fault. I mentioned that we were doing the kitchen, she said "Did you know that that is what I do? I'd love to help you". She asked to come over, I said sure. I thought she would just look and say "yeah, put the fridge here, blah blah blah" but she was here for hours measuring.

 

ETA-Budget. Part of the issue is that she is the first one we've talk to so we had ZERO idea what it could cost.

I'm sorry it's awkward. I totally agree that it's best not to do business with friends.

 

But I've also discovered that everything is WAY more expensive than I ever would have imagined. We wanted to retile our bathroom and shower and add a tub. It's already plumbed and everything. Yeah. Over $15,000 for a relatively small master bath. That doesn't include the cabinets or counters. What???

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We own a couple construction-related businesses and I absolutely hate mixing business and friendships. I cringe whenever a friend or acquaintance asks for a quote. 

 

I try to head them off politely by saying, "Oh, we're booked for many months. You'd be better off working with xyz company so you could get the work done more quickly."

 

But some of them are persistent and insist on getting a quote from us, and then it often turns awkward when they see the price.

 

Ugh. Wish I could find a way to avoid those situations!

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Awkward but I'm on team Her Fault. She does this professionally right? She has to realize people have budgets and that's a huge consideration. You don't buy cabinets professionally, so you were the clueless one here and she should have expected that.

 

"Wow, this looks amazing but it's literally twice our budget. I appreciate all your work on this but is there any way to get it under X amount? We're totally new at this so any information you can give us is a help."

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