Working For Free

Can You Charge Friends & Family For Your Expertise?

Our dear friend Abby is a successful and well respected massage therapist in Los Angeles.  She has given all of us a free massage at one point or another, and she takes pride in helping those close to her in pain when she can – FREE of charge.  But recently Abby has found herself in a predicament….

Over a year ago, she offered to work on her aunt as a gift for her generosity and kindness over that last few years.  Her aunt had recently been injured playing tennis and found that Abby’s approach gave her tremendous relief from his pain, so she scheduled another treatment.  Abby was thrilled she could help her and did not dream of charging her for that next visit.  However, over the last year, her aunt has continued to call to make appointments during her prime office hours and has never offered to compensate her for her time or expertise.

Abby is beginning to feel taken advantage of, but she also FEELS CHEAP for considering charging her own aunt – even her discounted ‘Friends & Family’ Rate.  She doesn’t know what to do.  How should Abby handle the situation?  Is she wrong to charge family member, even at a discounted rate?  Is her aunt wrong not to offer to pay at least something for her ‘prime’ time hours?  Is there a better way to handle this situation so everyone feels taken care of and no one feels cheap?

Tell us Your Thoughts!

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One Response to “Working For Free”

  1. Melony says:

    Always awkward. I admit I have a hard time charging friends and family for my services, and personally, I don’t really think I should charge them. However, if someone is coming on a continual basis, they should really offer to compensate you. They are taking time that you could be earning money from a paying client. Would I ask a family member to pay…no, most likely not. But it would be nice if they offered…but even that, I wouldn’t be able to accept unless it turned into a weekly event. Then I might accept payment.

Any Thoughts?