I usually take care of my brother and wife's (large) family.
My acid test for friends? Will they watch my children at a moment's notice without as much as a question asked.
Many friends I really didn't know I had until the truck was parked in front of my house.
I remember when I was a boy. My dad was in a car collision late one night. Mom called the neighbor behind us and ask if she could sit for a while. She was tall and slinder. She cleared the back fence with out breaking stride. That is the definition of a friend.
Everyone one else goes through the company.
Beware of advice given by some guy on the Internet.
Just looking for some opinions. ...This time they say that the unit was "struck by lightning" and their insurance co. asked them to get a estimate on repairs.
I had a few calls like that, all from a small country in the middle east (think of a country in the middle east having problem getting alone with their neighbors). They told me, if I can help them out, they can recommend me to lots of their friends. I told them, "I am not interested".
Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work." H.L. Hunt
"In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of it. And they must have a sense of success in it." John uskin
Had this happen to me Mom and Dad called in the middle of winter and said boiler is not working and water is leaking from inside boiler, stop what I was doing, ran to supply house picked up boiler and installed in all with in 3 hours.
5 years latter they sell house, new owners want city to inspec house everthing checked out ok, Dad told story of how boiler let go and boy came over and installed new.
City stoped sale of house unless permit and fine were paid for new boiler.
City stopped sale of house unless permit and fine were paid for new boiler.
Ouch! Went over to the friends house last night. Replaced on stat, moved location of another, rewired air handler(had not been wired to use emergency heat), replaced zone control, added transformer, and oh by the way the condenser fan motor is not working...replaced that. Left with a sweat soaked shirt and a promise of payment..not holding my breath. You may think I would be really upset, but I was glad to be done with it. No money, no more help.
Let me share a piece of wisdom I've learned over time. Years ago I had my own electronics repair service. I repaired everything at the component level including, but not limited to: radar systems, mainframe computers, N.C. machines, etc. At that time, I was a sucker for helping friends,relatives, and neighbors. Not only did I do the repairs, I bit the bullet on low cost parts and provided no charge labor out of friendship.
One day, a good friend asked me to look at a TV set that went on the fritz. I didn't normally repair tv's but what the heck, electronics are electronics. I invested about about an hour and diagnosed his problem to be a failed power transistor in his flyback circuit. I quickly replaced it and adjusted the set for optimum preformance. I then gave it back to him at no charge and he was tickled pink. 3 years later give or take, it failed again. He called me, and asked in anger: "What the hell did you do to my tv set"? He took it to a shop and they gave him an estimate for repair that gave him sticker shock.
It was on that very day that I decided how to handle freinds, relatives, and neighbors. I have only two prices for the above mentioned groups of people. It's either free, or triple in price! Free is only for my children. Everyone else will fall in the triple pricing category because it has to be perfect and last forever. I've come to the conclusion that I can only offer a fair and honest price to a total stranger.
Never argue with an idiot: They'll drag you down to their level, and beat you with experience!
I can see that you have been where I am...I have a hard time saying no, and a hard time asking for money from those who I know don't have a lot of money. I have had the same type of experience. Two years ago I spent 2-3 hours for 4 nights after work helping a neighbor get his air conditioning running. I found a used outdoor unit, fixed a leak on the evaporator coil, installed a stat, and got the system up and running. About a month ago the same neighbor came over and said his unit was not cooling, and wanted me to take a look. The unit was low on charge, and I checked the leak that I had fixed earlier. It appeared to have been worked on again, so I asked. My neighbor said that he had a friend come over and look at the system and fix the leak. I told him I would charge the system at X dollars per pound, and that he would have to have his friend come back to fix the leak. He said he couldn't afford it, and I went home and had dinner. Another no pay, no thanks kind of help...oh well.
Back when I first got out of trade school in 1982 I would get 2-3 calls a week from so called "friends" about problems with their HVAC. After getting burned from "friends" just looking for a free ride I stopped doing "favors for dead beats" ( too many to list ) People that won't pay you the going rate for work done don't respect you or your skills. Now between work, rentals and family I don't want to make any new "friends" thru my HVAC skills. I was cleaning out my truck in the driveway of our house, guy comes up and asks if I could check out an apartment building that he owns. So I gave him one of my company cards and told him we would be happy to do it and I could set it up for him. He looked at me like I just kicked his dog! He got real irate and asked why I couldn't do it on my own for alot less cost to him. I told him I wasn't in business for myself and didn't carry any liability ins. for any work on my own. He couldn't understand why I wouldn't want to give up my time off to work on his apartment building for alot less alot less money then the going rate.
So now if some "good buddy" from the past calls up wanting his HVAC worked of for free I just tell them to "go pound sand"
New to forum , lots of interesting posts & info. I try to help people out when I can. People on my street, etc. I try to help & make a little $ if I can, but I look to help & if it turns into more I am thankful. I usually end up getting screwed!