Crowdsourcing Solutions

What to Say When You’re Asked to Work for Free?


For individuals who are self-employed and booming their field always face problem, where they get a number of request to work for free. It is either their friends or colleagues who come up with such requests. These freeloaders can be changed into something optimistic by following certain useful tips.

There may be situations where you would like to dedicate time for friend and donate your service. Not all times does an individual work for free, unless it benefits him in some way. Here are a few tips on what to say when you’re asked to work for free.

asked to work for free

Don’t want to Work for Free? Strategies for Saying No:

1. I can’t pay you but you can get an excellent exposure:

This is one way how borrowers ask for help without paying. They give a positive add on point as they are not going to pay. Instead of working for free you can ask them the kind of exposure you would get for the work. You can ask them the method where their name and designation would be added.

You can also ask them if they would be associated with your website. You can ask the freeloader for testimonial and brochures for website. You can thank them and mention that you possess the required experience rather than working for free.

2. Lacking budget for time being:

Some people start this way, they clearly start that they don’t have a budget. The apt way to tackle this question is that you ask the concerned person when their fiscal year would start.

Once the fiscal year starts, discussion about the project can be done. This answer can be a perfect one. You can also ask the borrower if anybody in their organization has a budget presently so that you can work.

3. We are startup company, and do not have funds:

When you get request to work for free, you can tell your friends or colleagues that you’re drenched with projects for now and ask them to call after a month or two. For example, you can take stock at times for Startup Company if you’re free.

4. Promising for employment:

When you’re given promise, you can make sure to ask your friends who asked you to work free for written agreement. In other ways you can clearly say sorry and you do not need such aspects.

5. We’re friends:

Few come up with the relationship that we are friends and so you can without fail work and give me free. You can make a direct explanation that you can keep a list of items that you work for money and for ones you work free.

Other way to answer your friend can be to tell them that you’re working on paid projects and you do not have time. You can also wind up saying that you’re looking for paid projects only.

6. Contacting free people:

Well your answer when a borrower asks you for help can be that, you can direct them and mention that there are many people who work for free and they could contact them.

By this way, the people who ask you for free service would never ask you again. They would know that you aren’t interested in working for free by your reply.

7. Speaking about charges:

When someone approaches you to deliver free work, you can very well intimate that your charges for work is “x” and if in case you are hired, you can make the payment as half of “x” for the commitment. By this way the people who asked you to work free would think twice.

8. Postponing:

At times when you’re asked by your colleague or friend to work for free, you can tell your friend that at present you do not have time to dedicate and can meet up some time later and discuss about the project.

9. Charges:

You can mention that you charge $2 for a minute for never ceasing borrowers and if your opponent is interested to start the work now.

You can tell your opponent that your happy and are they ready to pay by mean of cash or check. This reply makes your borrower puzzled.

10. Pro-brono:

Another reply can be that you can mention that you’re already doing pro-brono work for your client who needs financial help. You can tell that you would add them to the list and work on later.

11. Asking help instead:

Mention that you have a lot to do for your borrower who asks you work without being paid. You can mention that the work is similar to ‘y’ client and doing for you is also simple. Instead you can ask your borrower together to formulate a market plan.

12. Hiring options:

You can ask your friend who asks you help if he is looking to hire you. If so then the fee per hour will be ‘x’. By this the others will know that you’re looking for fees and would never do it for free.

13. Call up:

You can tell your friend that you’re confused over the issue and need to think over the issue. You can tell your friend to call later for a 15 minute talk.

14. Do not answer:

You can also mention that you cannot answer until your fee is paid for the work.

15. About rate card:

You can say that you are very happy speaking about the project and you’re more interested in helping your friend. You can ask your friend about sending brochures and rate card.

16. Budget:

Once you listen to the request you can ask your friend if there is any budget in mind for the help required. You can ask your friend about budget details.

17. Cost estimates:

You can just turn away the topic asking your friend if they are aware of the cost estimates from their friends. And if there are people who would help them solve their problem regarding cost. By this way your friend will find out that you’re not interested.

18. About time and fees:

You can tell your friend that this is not the apt time to discuss about the project. You can ask your freeloader when they would find time to discuss about session and fees.

19. An email:

Regarding the topic what I can do is send a link of an eBook (audio or email or CD) which I can send you to your email. I can also refer you to other free resources site or link.

20. Your value:

You can say that you earn so much per hour and you can never move a step forward without fees. You can mention that you are slammed and would prefer to be insane.

21. Professional:

You can also mention that like a service professional I charge for my services and I do not work for free. Wish you best of luck.

22. Time consuming:

You can mention that it is a time consuming product and there are no chances to do it free of cost. It require more of necessities and working free cannot be imagined.

23. A straight forward no:

When freeloaders ask you for help you can very well say no without any intention. By this way they do not come up to you for help in future. Whenever you’re asked for any work from some of your friends make sure you send the work with a bill attached to it from the start.

By this way they will make sure that you work only for money and not free service. Hard work is work and no one can do it simply for free of service unless required at some moments in life.


For ones who are muddled about saying no and do not know to handle such situations in life, can read through the tips mentioned above. These tips can be helpful in maintaining your professionalism and teach you to answer in a way that freeloaders do not approach you again.

Try to be realistic when you’re asked to work for free, speak what comes to your mind in a polite and gentle manner so that the borrower does not come back to you. Always make sure to speak about your charges to others in the beginning so that they don’t come to you for free help.

Mention that you’re tight with work and have no leisure time for free work. People approach you for help without payment many times in your life, make sure to read the above mentioned pointers and use them at times required.