Every designer comes across the issue of working with friends and family. People often misunderstand the amount of time and work that goes into your projects, for that reason they either want your work for cheap or free. While a designer shouldn’t give away their work, it’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth doing work for this “client”.
The friend/family member that wants to pay you.
It’s a great surprise when you finish a project that you thought was probono and are asked how much they owe you! However when you’ve neglected to discuss price up front it can be tricky not wanting to gorge family at the end. When a designer’s hourly rate can range from $25 to $300 an hour and countless hours are put into good work it can add up pretty quick! A suggestion is stating what you would normally charge a client and cutting it for the friends & family discount. If you get a shocked reaction you can always just ask for whatever they think if fair, after all you were thinking it was $0!
When you just don’t want to work for free.
Rather than saying you’ll get to it, blowing it off, and most likely hurting your relationship, it’s better to be upfront. Just have a few excuses prepared for when someone starts to ask for free work (because someone will). “I’m sorry I’m just slammed with big projects right now” “I’ve found it’s better to not work with friends or family, but have you heard of [inset local designer here] they’re really great and could help ya out!” so on and so forth.
When you price it out upfront and you’re “too expensive”…
After pricing out a project for someone have you gotten the shocked stare? Yup…they think you’re way too expensive. If this is a person worth doing free work for (or maybe they just had a near death experience) decide if you want to do it. Otherwise gracefully bow out with some excuse and perhaps refer them to another designer.
Ultimately you decide what you’re worth.