A close family friend who has given my brother a lot of photography work in the past offered me some work designing and implementing some new websites for a brand new business that she is involved with.

Working for her boss, I was to write 6 websites in wix for $150 each. No formal contracts were signed, and it was verbally agreed that after the first website was completed (1 - 2 days), I would be paid $150 and begin the second, then the third etc etc, until all websites were completed.

I began implementing the first website on the promise that she would send me the pictures, text and other information that I needed to complete it. I have completed 2 websites up to this point of needing the details to continue.

After months of waiting for the details, receiving the same "They are coming soon just be patient" reply, I have still not received these details. I have accepted that these details are never coming and would now like to be paid for the work I completed all those months ago. (2 x $150)

They have been incredibly slow and disorganized in their dealings with me, and I feel as though I should not have to wait any longer.

How do I tactfully ask for this payment, given that she has helped my brother in the past?

I'm worried that if I simply send an invoice this may be taken as rude and potentially strain our friendship. My job situation has since changed and I no longer have the time or need to complete the work, so continuing to wait for the delay to conclude and then finish the sites is not an option for me.

  • 4
    Do you have the hosting passwords to shut down the websites?
    – user2135
    Oct 18, 2017 at 11:46
  • The websites aren't live because I never got the details to finish them Oct 18, 2017 at 11:46
  • 5
    Have you considered just mailing an invoice?
    – user
    Oct 18, 2017 at 11:47
  • 1
    Are these websites done or are they still waiting for content? Your chances of getting money aren't as good if the work was never accepted by the client and you have no contract.
    – Erik
    Oct 18, 2017 at 11:50
  • 2
    I think we need to know what you've already tried, with regards to asking for the details and asking for money. And as @Erik asked: are the websites done, or done to the point of you needing that input your friend said she'd provide? Without these details, your question is a bit unclear and broad.
    – Tinkeringbell
    Oct 18, 2017 at 12:08

5 Answers 5


This would best be put in the form of a question.

Tell them you are as far as you can and need input. Offer to demonstrate the work as it is. Kindly inform them that your planned time-line is getting out of synch and that you want to avoid any trouble so it would be best to proceed with dispatch.

Oh yes by the way how would you like the payments to be processed? Currently outstanding is 2 x $150 I'd like to wrap that up on short notice.

Best make sure you have a paper trail, initially by using email.


However, if you are really unable (or unwilling) to finish the work it may be more productive to let (part of) the money go and settle for credit. If you are listed as designer of these sites it will aid your professional credibility. In the long run that could be worth more than the cash in hand.

They have not yet looked at your work, yes? They may have comments. They may not like what you did. They may require loads of rework. They may even have hired elsewhere or gotten a volunteer to do it instead. In short, your work may never get to be on-line, never produce any income.

So, best leave open a back door for a quiet mutually beneficent settlement.


If this was me, I wouldn't do anything.

You've not created a contract, and with it being a family friend , what are you going to do - take them to court?

The good thing is that you have not done more than 2 websites. While you are out $300, be thankful you never did more.

It's very likely that this person is behind on their work. If this is something they do in their spare time (they havea full time job as well) then they probably haven't got their head together to pick it back up again.

They could be one of those people that have an amazing idea and want to drop everything they're doing (and expect others to drop everything) to pursue this idea, and then it falls flat.

If they are like that, then chances are they will come back. BUT when they do, be sure to remind them that while you are happy to continue doing the other 4 websites, you won't be doing it until you are paid for the first 2 you did. Hold it ransom.

I'm sorry this doesn't answer your question on 'how do I ask' but as far as I can tell you've already done everything you can. Going forward, I would leave it until they get their s*** sorted. They'll probably come back again. And then you can take it from there.


You designed the websites. If they want you to finish them, they've got to give you all the things you need in order to have the job done. When they don't do so, stop working. Even when they we helping/shooting your Brother there still is no reason for you to continue the work.

If I were you, I would send an email to the boss. If you don't get an answer, just stop working on those pages and don't give them your work till they give you all you need and/or get paid for it.

Maybe not the most polite way to handle it, but I think this is one of the only ways to get what you want.


Having business relations with friends and family can be troublesome. A lot of times we trust the other party has good intention and values the relationship more than money.

This is not always true.

So at this point you should ask yourself if you value the relationship more than friendship. Pursuing $150 or $300 may not be worth losing a relationship. On the other hand you could choose to simply send the invoice. It is a standard business practice and you basically conducting business with another person.

On the other hand there are some things you can do better in the future:

  1. Always have a well written contract that is agreed to by both parties before you start work. See Mike's video for entertaining details. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVkLVRt6c1U

  2. Start charging professional fees. When you devalue your work people will not value your time or effort.

  3. Realize that if there is a chance your family's "friend" will not pay you for your work they may not be a very good fiend. Perhaps you may not invest more time in that friendship.


Working for her boss, I was to write 6 websites in wix for $150 each. No formal contracts were signed, and it was verbally agreed that after the first website was completed (1 - 2 days), I would be paid $150 and begin the second, then the third etc etc, until all websites were completed.

I think when it was decided that you would get $150 once the first website is completed but it was never completed due to other reasons. So, I believe you won't get any amount and you should not ask them money for this small work to spoil the relationship just for the petty amount. May be in future they will give you full details and you complete the work and they themselves will pay you the full amount. Perhaps, more assignments ☺. Relationship is more valuable than this amount.

  • That's besides the point though. And where do you draw the line with what you will and wont stand for when it comes to relatives or friends of relatives?
    – Chillin'
    Apr 5, 2018 at 11:47

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