Why Hiring Your Friends is a Recipe for Disaster

Picture this. You’re looking for a new logo, but your mate tells you not to bother paying because she can throw you one together in a pirated version of Photoshop. Sounds tempting, right? You can get content ridiculously cheaply from someone you know and (presumably) trust.

But sadly, all’s not well in paradise; it’s not as cushy a deal as it might first seem.

And why’s that? What’s wrong with hiring your friends to make stuff for you? Let’s find out.

Hiring your friends isn’t cost-effective

Money’s a tricky subject, and it’s even trickier when you’re hiring your friends. Any number of awkward situations can quickly arise:

Problem #1: “Mates rates”

Mates rates are often seen as the main benefit of hiring a friend rather than an unknown freelancer. If they’re already creative, they might offer you work at a reduced rate.

But if your friend charges you less (or nothing at all) than they would a normal client, what’s the real benefit to them? There’s no incentive to get it done quickly – they’re basically doing you a favor, so rushing them is just a dick move really.

And if you do, the whole thing will probably end in a messy, mostly passive-aggressive feud that leaves you both a friend and a logo/video/whatever it is down.

Problem #2: No mates rates

“What? But you just said mates rates were the first problem?!”

Well, here’s a second fun scenario for you. You hire your friend, expecting them to give you mates rates, but lo and behold they’re actually trying to make a living from their work and they want you to pay their normal price. Now you’re outraged and offended, and your friend isn’t best pleased either. And can you blame them? Would you work for half your normal salary?

If it all goes really downhill, one of you might even end up having to send a letter into a money advice column, like this person.

Article headline: 'My friend owes me £300 for some work I did but won't pay: can I use Facebook messages to prove we had a deal?' This shows how hiring your friends can go wrong.
When hiring your friends goes wrong.

The bottom line is that mates rates (or even the possibility of them) don’t make anyone happy, yet they’ve become an expectation when hiring your friends.

Mixing friendship and business is a serious recipe for awkwardness and it’s pretty much guaranteed that someone will end up pissed off. You’re better off working with a procreative, who gives you a set price you’re both happy with.

Problem #3: Limited choice

If someone offers you work for free, or for much less than usual, it’s hard to say no. It’s even harder when that person’s your friend. So what if they’ve never made a logo before? You know they can draw…

Unfortunately, when it turns out that actually they really don’t know how to create a logo, you’re the one who is going to have to explain why you’re not using the abomination of a logo they produced for you. Have fun with that.

This is made worse by the fact you’ll probably have to get the work done again, by someone else. This means more money is wasted.

On the other hand, hiring freelancers you don’t know means you can select exactly the right person for your project, without worrying about personally offending them. For example, we’ve got 200,000 creatives on Twine and you can browse their portfolios to your heart’s content. Plus, we manually vet pitches, so you know everyone who pitches in meets our very high standards.

Hiring your friends can waste a lot of time

Problem #1: A project that never ends

As we said earlier, your friend might not feel any sort of pressure to get a project done on time. If they aren’t professional creative, they probably don’t realize how time-sensitive these projects are, and don’t understand the workflow and communication structures required.

Working with a friend can also end up with endless iterations because you’re not comfortable giving them honest feedback. For instance, imagine that the first iteration of a project is completely and utterly wrong. Rather than just starting again, you’ll end up suggesting tiny alteration after tiny alteration until it’s sort of right (or you give up).

Problem #2: If the project doesn’t work out, it’ll take even longer

Hiring someone who isn’t a pro means you can end up with an unprofessional result. You’ve then got the double whammy of having potentially ruined a friendship and having to get it done again. A simple project ends up taking twice as long, as you’ve got to find someone new and start the process all over again.

Hiring your friends doesn’t guarantee quality

Problem #1: No creative control

As we already said, it’s difficult to tell your friend that the work they’ve done is of poor quality. This means creative control basically goes out of the window. All those cozy nights you imagined chatting about your project? Replace that with tense silence when you accidentally let slip that you hate their work.

Problem #2: Your friend isn’t a specialist

Things like branding and explainer videos for businesses take professional skills to do properly. You can’t just pick up a pen and start designing. Unfortunately, that’s what friends who offer to design stuff for free are doing. They may well be good at art or animation, but there’s more to it than that. You need to be able to visually communicate an idea, and that takes practice and experience. Do you want to be their lab rat?

Here at Twine, we’ll help you find a professional every time. From branding specialists like Sandra Milojevic to expert explainer video producers like Lunamik and Nutsy, we’ve got it all covered. We’re on hand to help you too, with our personalized concierge service. From writing a brief to selecting a creative, we’re with you every step of the way.

Branding by Sandra Milojevic. Coffee packaging based around an original character design.
Branding and product design by Sandra Milojevic.

On Twine, we have thousands of talented creatives who are ready to start working on your project. Whether it’s branding for your company, an explainer video, or a new logo, we’ve got expert creatives who can do the job. We guarantee quality (and promise we won’t ruin any of your personal relationships either.)


Becca is the Marketing Executive at Twine. She loves literature, music, film and make-up. She spends a lot of time complaining about the mismatched angles of her winged eyeliner and stalking drag queens on Instagram. Otherwise, she’s helping Joe by writing blog posts and keeping Twine’s social media running.