Should you ever work for free in business?
Should you work for free?
It’s a tough one – Should you ever work for free in business? Is it wise to donate your services for free? There is of course a value to your work, your products and your services – there are certainly costs – so are these devalued if you work for free? Not always.
Making a decision on whether to work for free
If approached to do free work, here are the questions you might like to ask before making a decision:
- Will it lead to more work down the line?
- Is it for an cause or company I believe in and want to support?
- Do I want my work associated with this cause?
- Will what I am doing help this organisation in the long run?
- Can I publicise my involvement?
Then you can work out the benefits or otherwise to getting involved. Most organisations accept the fact that for free work there has to be something in it for the benefactor. You can decide whether to take advantage of that, or to remain behind-the-scenes – being able to publicise your involvement could be a really good way to raise your business visibility though.
The benefits of working for free
Sometimes, there are benefits to your company when working for free. Working for free can give your company credibility, inspire a sense of trust, and also loyalty from businesses, which will pay off when they are in a position to pay for a project. Although sometimes of course, when the issue is something very close to your heart, or something that you passionately believe in, you know you would do it for free anyway!
Setting expectations on free work
Make sure that both sides know what is expected of them. Neither side should be afraid of setting boundaries or expectations. It’s when we are unsure that doubts or awkwardness can creep in. If both sides know what is expected of them, then both sides can walk away from the deal happy!
Publicity for free work
Ask if your company can provide branding on publicity materials, or be mentioned in some way. If you are helping a start-up company, find out the benefits to both parties of the free work provided. Check that you can talk about it on social media platforms and make the most of your good deeds!
Is free work good for your business?
Only you (and your accountant or CFO!) can decide this. If it is for something that you believe in and you can really see how your work will benefit the organisation that you are donating it to, then go for it! We regularly work for local charities and community projects in Banbury, and we’re just about to finalise an involvement with a major UK charity which excites us all.
After all, it’s nice to be nice!