I love mixing business and friendships.

When Girl Ninja and I decided to begin the house hunting process a year ago, we were in kind of an awkward position. We had met with a Redfin agent, our landlord introduced us to one of his employees who was also a realtor, and then one of our good friends worked in Real Estate. We knew the general rule of thumb is that people shouldn’t mix business with pleasure, or in other words, we shouldn’t hire a friend to be our realtor.

Well we did and we couldn’t be happier with the decision. In fact, since he was a personal friend it almost seemed like he DIDN’T want us to buy a house. Each place we walked through he would give us a laundry list of reasons why he thought we should pass on it. It was really nice knowing we had someone looking out for our best interest, and not necessarily his wallet.

Hiring friends seems to be a trend of mine. 

Two weeks ago I hired a high school friend to do $350 worth of electrical work on our place. He ran power from our house out to our car port and installed three floodlights and an outdoor outlet. I had an electrician I found on Yelp come out and give me a bid on the work, and when my buddy said he would do it for the same price, it seemed like a no brainer.

Go with the friend.

Yesterday we had $1,200 worth of yard work done. A bunch of wood chipping, a huge 60 foot Fir tree taken down, and three trees high limbed to 50 ft. I’m so pleased with the company we ended up going with, but even still, I wish I knew someone personally that I could have hired to do the work.

On a side note, look at how OPEN our backyard looks now! Booya for no more claustrophobia…


after (obviously there is still some work that needs to be done like laying grass seed)…


I guess I think about things like this:

I’m going to spend X dollars on Y project so why not hire someone I can trust? Not to mention the fact that I can put dollars in a friend’s pocket instead of a strangers. Win, win!

I guess until I get burned, I’ll continue to hire friends and acquaintances for projects around the home that I can’t do myself. Until then I’m happy to hand over my benjamins to my besties.

What’s your stance on entering business relationships with friends? For or against? You ever had a relationship ruined by a business deal?


24 thoughts on “I love mixing business and friendships.”

  1. When we sold our condo and bought our townhouse, we hired my husband’s friend from work who does real estate part time (he also owns several rental properties). Best decision EVER!! He didn’t take a commission on the sale of our condo (he said it would sell itself within 2 days, and he was right), and took 3% from the purchase of our new place. Mind you, we put in an offer on a place that literally went on the market that morning, and the seller counter-offered (which we accepted), so it was a pretty easy time for him. He did take us around to about a dozen places on a Saturday, pointed out every pro/con for each one, and had us over for dinner while we prepared the paperwork. In the process, his wife and I have become very good friends 🙂

  2. Ah man…well I hired my friend as our realtor. We proceeded to buy a house. Many compromises were being made that made the house undesirable. He told us it would be impossible to get our escrow money back, making us feel like we should proceed with the purchase. Hired an attorney who got our money back. Lost a friend who I had known for over 30 years… Ya, this just happened…

  3. I always look for friends first or recommendations from friends when needed help or paying for a project. We ran into an issue after we had to have a tree cut up and removed from out property after a storm. We shopped around, but the company we went with without a recommendation did a sloppy job and was a bit higher priced then others.

  4. I live in the Middle East. NOTHING gets done without a recommendation from a friend or family member. Nothing. Every time I try to break out my North American mentality and strike out “on my own”, I get burned. And so I concede to the “employee’s-cousin-knows a guy-whose brother sat beside him in 9th grade math-and married this woman- whose uncle runs a shop way of doing business. Takes forever, and it works.

    A short of things that require this method here: car repairs, home repairs, a patio set, a hairdryer, chicken (?!), fruit, plane tickets, legal advice, the vet.

  5. Maybe I’m the only one but I liked the secluded feel to the trees in the back. Now you can see your neighbors and vice versa.

    • Well from the after picture he did quite a bit of pruning along with tree removal. Come June it won’t be so transparent anymore. Ninja, what was the bush in the middle of the lawn? Cannot tell id it was a group of ferns or perhaps a rhododendron?
      Hope you like upkeep though, grass around here in the Northwest is one of the most expensive plants you can have.

      • Yeah, the before picture was taken in the middle of summer, the after was taken yesterday, in the middle of winter. While we still might be able to see our neighbors house once the leaves have grown back it wont be as much as it currently is.

        And the pruning was necessary for our apple, hazelnut, pear, and plum trees to survive. Everything was so overgrown that most of the trees were pretty unhealthy because they weren’t getting a lot of direct sunlight.

        And yes the center island was a bunch of ferns which I think are hideous, hence why I removed them.

  6. We had family help when we needed to re-do the siding on our house so we wouldn’t get water damage. It turned out great! I think you just need to know who you can trust to do a good job.

  7. If I’m going to spend money, I prefer to support someone I know & care about rather than a stranger. I think the tricky part can be if you expect more (or a really good deal) from a friend than you would expect if you hired an outside contractor. I think it’s always a good idea to get more than one bid, even if you are hiring a friend- then there’s not a question about if you’re paying a fair price & less chance of a misunderstanding.

  8. I went to work at the same company with my best friend years ago. It was her idea. Things got very ugly very quickly and the friendship blew up in my face. Lesson learned.

  9. I love hiring friends! I also love when friends hire me for some work. I tend to work even harder when that happens because I want to do a good job for them. I know that doesn’t always happen with everyone in every situation but my experience mixing business with friendship has been very positive.

  10. i had initially written off hiring people i know. until an acquaintance from high school who is a plumber described to me a bit of the economics of hiring within your circle. aside from the benefit of employing your friend, he pays dues at the local synagogue and pays full tuition at the local day school. so not only does your project get done but your dollars help you in other ways as well. and it may not be true for your profession but you may want other local people to hire you for what you do.

  11. Despite the arguments in favor of hiring friends that I’ve read here, in general I think it’s not a good idea.

    Any kind of transaction type thing that involves buying and selling, money and payment is better left to someone you’ll never see again, so that if things go wrong, you don’t lose a friend.

    Personally I would just feel awkward paying or getting paid by a friend. Or selling them something, or buying something from them. Not really a fan.

    • This comment makes no sense. What we paid for our house? We live in Seattle. I assume you live in the Midwest and forget that coastal living comes at a premium.

  12. I’ve actually been burned pretty bad by mixing friends and family with business, either by hiring them for personal projects or recommending them for jobs. I think part of the problem is I have very high standards for my working life, but in my personal life I’m very laid back and easygoing. I assume everyone is that way, but turns out that some people don’t work very hard in their working lives either!

    But, if you’ve made it work…kudos to you!

  13. I like recommendations. However I can see how when hiring a friend, things can go off the rails with unrealistic expectations from both sides. And after working in the renovation industry, if any job is going to go off the rails, it is the friend job! I would do the whole hiring friends things with caution. But if anyone has ever done a good (or bad, for that matter) I always recommend them profusly.

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