Should I Work for You for Free?

March 8th, 2012 by Bob Bly

Should I consult or otherwise work for you for free?

RS seems to think so. She writes: “I am asking about the landing page on my web site at URL. I have had very low response and have sold very little product.”

Of course, I cannot answer unless I click on the link, go to RS’s web site, and analyze it.

RS expects me to do this for free. Should I be flattered or annoyed? Mostly, I am the latter.

She is asking me to do for her, for free, work that my clients pay for.

Why should I?

This happens all the time, by the way. People ask me almost every day, “Can you take a quick look at my web site?” When I tell them “No, I can’t,” they are offended. 

Never mind that their auto mechanic charges to give their car an inspection. They automatically assume I should work for them for free.

If I looked at and commented on all the web sites people want me to review without compensation, I would have no time to serve my clients, who are the ones that pay my bills.

How is that fair?


This entry was posted on Thursday, March 8th, 2012 at 4:36 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

77 responses about “Should I Work for You for Free?”

  1. Joseph Ratliff said:

    …and doctors charge for office visits, lawyers (for the most part) charge for the first consult etc… etc…

    Why should our profession be any different?

  2. Aaron Poehler said:

    Wasting time responding to these queries just legitimizes them.

    Have a basic form letter on hand to copy-paste into replies which explains the cost for your services (the same as one would use for typical inquiries): those who respond with a proper business inquiry earn the privilege of continued communication, and those who respond that they expected something for free can be freely ignored without a second thought.

  3. Ryan O'Meara said:

    As a former professional dog trainer I was flooded with never ending requests from people who wondered if I could take a look at their misbehaving pets, no mention of a payment. I am by nature relatively polite so would always try and find out what their profession was and ask whether I could (get free legal advice, get my auto parts for nothing etc) if I gave up my time. Surprising how many people didn’t have the same interest at that point.

  4. Scott said:

    A Paypal link for a $79 consultation is right handy; include it in the reply email. Complaining about the requests seems unproductive; Will Work For Money is a pretty defensible position; Don’t Ever Ask Me A Favor seems, in comparison, mean-spirited.

  5. Bob Bly said:

    Scott: Good idea in theory. In reality, it is not worth my time to interrupt my schedule for a paltry $79; I already have more work than I can handle.

  6. William Reynolds said:

    Anybody can ask for anything. We aren’t obliged to answer one way or the other. I get unreasonable requests all the time from people who simply don’t understand (or don’t care) how the game is played. One click and they go to my spam folder. No harm done.

  7. Jim Logan said:

    I think you’re overlooking the opportunity — I win a lot of new clients and repeat business from the same inquiries.

    These are people coming to you who are expressing a problem they believe you can solve — self identified leads. You don’t have to fix their problem when you click to their site, but instead use it as an opportunity to identify how you can help them for a fee. Quickly analyze the problem, describe the work you can do to fix it, and quote a fee. Again, I win new business this way all the time.

    The analogies of the mechanic, lawyer, etc. are flawed. If a mechanic fixes your car for free he’s foolish, but if he pauses a moment to listen and talk to someone who brought their car in with a question of whether or not it needs to be serviced, he probably just won a client.

    We don’t have to stop everything in our day to look at a landing page — we can do it when it’s convenient.

    For those of you who don’t like these requests…feel free to forward them my way :)

  8. Do you work for free? said:

    […] This post is in connection to a post I just read from the excellent copywriter Bob Bly on the subject of Should I work for you for free? […]

  9. SK said:

    Bob, send over the queries to me! I will charge them the paltry $79 for my time! Am currently doing my research on breaking into the commercial writing field and a friend mentioned you!

  10. Bob Bly said:

    Jim: I don’t want to convert freeloaders into paying customers. I want to work with people who already understand the value of what I do and come to me with an open checkbook ready to pay for it. That’s my preference.

  11. daine said:

    Bob, flattered. But, I would not offer any advice, nor click thru to their site. You offer lots of free wisdom for the do-it-yourselfer. I agree with Aaron .. send along the quote page via email with a nice thank you.

  12. arumdev said:

    I agree with Jim more or less, but it really depends on the nature of the enquiry. If it’s explicitly “will you look at my landing page and/or sort out my website for free”, then a simple no, or delete is fine.

    But if the same question is absent the ‘free’ clause, how do you know that they’re not willing to pay? maybe they’re trying to get an idea of what it’s like to work with you etc, in which case a blunt “now way jose” is going to put them off, and potentially may other clients as a result of word-of-mouth.

    Ok so you may have too much work on your hands at the moment, but that might not always be the case?

    I’m not saying you have to actually do anything without pay – just that it might be wiser to respond with a quick, polite, here’s my price list or something (even if it’s a copy/paste job or a link to a web page) rather than effectively saying “I’m far too busy to entertain silly questions from the likes of you”, which in the long run might do more harm than good.

    Finally, if you’re really so inundated with work (and I’m not suggesting you’re not) that taking 5 mins to reply as above is not worth $79, hire a secretary to do all that and more for you ;).

    As you were! :)

  13. Pflegeversicherung Vergleich said:

    Pflegeversicherung Vergleich…

    […]Should I Work for You for Free? – blog – direct marketing blog[…]…

  14. cheap gucci bags said:

    cheap gucci bags…

    […]Should I Work for You for Free? – blog – direct marketing blog[…]…

  15. design, websites, hotsites, publicidade, campinas, visual, impressos, folder, cartao de visita, criacao, newsletter, e-commerce, loja virtual, e-mail marketing, digital, institucional, sistemas web, identidade, videos institucionais, marketing digital said:

    design, websites, hotsites, publicidade, campinas, visual, impressos, folder, cartao de visita, criacao, newsletter, e-commerce, loja virtual, e-mail marketing, digital, institucional, sistemas web, identidade, videos institucionais, marketing digita…

    […]Should I Work for You for Free? – blog – direct marketing blog[…]…

  16. Celsa Jendrick said:

    I want to start a blog on myyearbook but i cant locate the box on my profile.. I’ve made sure i’ve checked the box to show my latest blog in the manage profile boxes section.. But it really still wont show up.. Please help.. Is there any other way to star…

  17. jaket said:

    Hi definitely good browse.
    I must admit aim pretty new to using WordPress well basically extremely new. Just starting to acquire the hang of it. Reading your submit has been extremely informative. I need to admit still not totally 100% percent clear in my head. So have just put your blog on my desktop so I’m able to go straight to it and have another seem later.

  18. mesh lawsuit said:

    Many thanks so much! That is actually great to hear!

  19. Allyson Haygood said:

    There are some attention-grabbing points in time in this article but I don?t know if I see all of them heart to heart. There may be some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish more! Added to FeedBurner as well

  20. free station cash said:

    I might move to Hawaii after which travel the world.

  21. Donald Klinkenberg said:

    I used to be very pleased to find this web-site.I wanted to thanks to your time for this wonderful learn!! I definitely having fun with each little little bit of it and I’ve you bookmarked to take a look at new stuff you weblog post.

  22. visit this website link said:

    I almost never leave responses, however I looked at a lot of responses on %BLOG_TITLE%. I do have a couple of questions for you if you do not mind. Could it be just me or do a few of these comments appear as if they are coming from brain dead people? 😛 And, if you are writing at additional online social sites, I’d like to keep up with you. Would you post a list of all of your social sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  23. Carmon Levreau said:

    you’ve got an incredible blog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my blog?

  24. Ira Hudecek said:

    I have realized that over the course of developing a relationship with real estate homeowners, you’ll be able to get them to understand that, in every single real estate financial transaction, a commission is paid. All things considered, FSBO sellers do not “save” the percentage. Rather, they fight to earn the commission by simply doing a good agent’s work. In doing this, they spend their money along with time to complete, as best they are able to, the tasks of an real estate agent. Those obligations include disclosing the home through marketing, presenting the home to buyers, developing a sense of buyer emergency in order to make prompt an offer, scheduling home inspections, handling qualification check ups with the lender, supervising fixes, and aiding the closing of the deal.

  25. Cyril Zurkus said:

    Hey presently there, I think your website might become having browser compatibility issues. When I examine your web log in Web browser, it seems fine nevertheless when opening in Ie, it has some overlapping. I merely wanted to offer you a fast heads way up! Other and then that, terrific web site!

  26. Angella Gumb said:

    I carry on listening to the rumor talk about getting boundless online grant applications so I have been looking around for the top site to get one. Could you tell me please, where could i find some?

  27. Mirella Rose said:

    I?d need to examine with you here. Which isn’t one thing I normally do! I get pleasure from studying a submit that can make folks think. Additionally, thanks for permitting me to remark!

  28. freemicrosoftpoints said:

    After research a few of the blog posts on your web site now, and I actually like your method of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking again soon. Pls take a look at my website online as effectively and let me know what you think.

  29. Reid Victory said:

    I think this is one of the most significant info for me. And i am glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general things, The website style is perfect, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

  30. pet apparel and accessories said:

    whoah this blog is great i really like studying your articles. Keep up the great work! You realize, a lot of people are searching around for this information, you could aid them greatly.

  31. Beachbody workout said:

    You will discover a lot of content inside the marketplace about this distinct, I think getting there reference may encounter decided to acquire this to place or even short article absolutely informative. Sensible aim phrase this post is dangerous. Merely I should enunciate how a data supplied the following has been special, merely repair a lot far more in close proximity to full, assisting together with other earlier info get lately been really exceptional. The actual things you will take pleasure in carressed let us go over important, hence My partner and i definitely will location several of your info proper here to construct this sort of really great for totally the certain newbie’s here. Thank you these records. In fact beneficial!

  32. Singapore blogshop said:

    You produced some decent points there. I looked on-line for any problem and discovered most individuals will go in conjunction with along with your website.

  33. furla bags said:

    Should I Work for You for Free? – blog – direct marketing blog furla bags

  34. Chauncey said:

    Excellent weblog right here! Also your web site
    loads up very fast! What web host are you the usage of?

    Can I am getting your affiliate link in your host? I want my
    website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  35. relevant website said:

    I every time used to study article in news papers but now as I am a user of internet thus from now I am using net for posts, thanks to web.

  36. dunhill pipe tobacco said:

    To properly rephrase comments, you have to be creative and clever. Convince the creator that even though the article is extremely unoriginal, it’s still information they should have it displayed on their blog.

  37. natural penis enhancement exercises said:

    Hi there. Today making use of windows live messenger. It is deemed an highly savvy post. I am going to make sure to take a note of them obtainable time for get more information of one’s helpful details. Thanks for the posting. Let me definitely returning.

  38. Joe C. Teague said:

    You’ll find it mostly impossible to see well-aware users on this niche, however , you appear like you realize those things you’re preaching about! Thank You

  39. Edward J. Bozeman said:

    I notice there are a lot of trash on this web page. Could you be gonna clear it up. It’s Possible That I can certainly help to to carry out?

  40. Joseph E. Martinez said:

    Had Been researching over . I prefer your information. Do post even more of this concern ok. Thanks a lot

  41. William A. Potter said:

    Was Actually reading around . I’m keen on your ideas. Do blog more of this theme ok. Thank you

  42. James M. Bateman said:

    I recognize there are a few junk mail on this web page. Will you be going to clean it up. It’s Possible That I can assist to implement?

  43. Edward H. Pollard said:

    I merely need to reveal to you that I am inexperienced to blogging and pretty much enjoyed your review. Very possible I am prone to store your blog post . You really have fabulous article text. Get Pleasure From it for sharing with us your website post.

  44. Cynthia R. Owens said:

    It certainly is almost impossible to see well-educated individual on this matter, however, you appear like you are familiar with those things you’re indicating! With Thanks

  45. Lauren J. Thompson said:

    We just need to notify you which I’m just beginner to posting and thoroughly admired your work. Very likely I am prone to save your site post . You certainly have magnificent article topic. Acknowledge it for share-out with us your internet webpage.

  46. Gertrude J. Hill said:

    Had Been analyzing out there . I quite like your material. Do create considerably more of this matter ok. Appreciate it

  47. Terry A. Fleeman said:

    I simply intend to inform you that I’m really beginner to posting and really adored your page. Likely I am most likely to remember your web post . You certainly have impressive article writing. Truly Appreciate it for discussing with us your web article.

  48. Marvin K. Neese said:

    I notice there are a lot of spam on this wordpress bog. Could you be planning to clear it up. Perhaps I may help to implement?

  49. Gothic Sex said:

    Advantageously, the post is actually the greatest on this noteworthy topic. I concur with your conclusions and will thirstily look forward to your next updates. Saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the tremendous clarity in your writing. I will at once grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Pleasant work and much success in your business endeavors is the best place to find weight loss news.

  50. Katrina Meltzner said:

    Great article and straight to the point. I don’t know if this is truly the best place to ask but do you people have any ideea where to employ some professional writers? Thanks in advance :)

  51. Roberto Halse said:

    Normally I do not read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me to try and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, quite great post.

  52. hack into someones facebook account said:

    Howdy I am so delighted I found your web site, I really found you by error, while I was searching on Digg for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a marvelous post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the awesome work.

  53. ?????????????????? said:

    To be sure with your presentations. With that said, a great report quite definitely. I will be going to frequently Appreciate your good display

  54. Buy Twitter Followers said:

    I think that what you posted was actually very logical.
    But, think about this, suppose you wrote a catchier post
    title? I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your blog, however what if you added
    a post title that grabbed folk’s attention? I mean Should I Work
    for You for Free? – blog – direct
    marketing blog is a little plain. You could look at Yahoo’s home page and note how they
    create news headlines to grab people interested. You might add a related video or a pic or two
    to grab readers interested about what you’ve written. Just my opinion, it might
    make your posts a little bit more interesting.

  55. www.zampouris.Gr said:

    This includes arithmetic abc instructions and logical instructions which you
    must see here before you make a submission.

  56. muscles said:

    magnificent publish, very informative. I ponder why the opposite experts of this sector do not notice this.

    You must continue your writing. I am sure, you have a great readers’
    base already!

  57. Hatteras Fishing Guides said:

    Hello I am so excited I found your webpage, I really
    found you by mistake, while I was browsing on Aol for something
    else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like
    to say thanks for a fantastic post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also
    love the theme/design), I don’t have time to
    read it all at the minute but I have saved it and
    also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time
    I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the fantastic work.

  58. Play.Google.Com said:

    An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a coworker
    who was conducting a little homework on this.
    And he actually bought me lunch due to the fact that I discovered it for him…
    lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!

    But yeah, thanks for spending time to discuss this issue here on your blog.

  59. said:

    NDS lovers and gamers can go one step further that can use them for browsing pictures and reading e-books on their Nintendo DS or Nintendo DS Lite.
    The Kids of each Koopa have slipped the magical batons each and every king, as well as made them animals.
    You’ll need to do specific searches on your own favorite internet search engine for SNESDS (a word) and you will get the official snes – DS website, which you could always download the most recent version of
    the emulator.

  60. california real estate said:

    Pretty element of content. I simply stumbled upon your website
    and in accession capital to claim that I get actually enjoyed account your weblog
    posts. Any way I will be subscribing in your augment and even I
    achievement you access constantly quickly.

  61. Nancy said:

    My family members always say that I am wasting my time here at net, however I know I am getting familiarity daily by reading such nice

  62. fig leaf said:

    Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed!

    Extremely helpful info particularly the last part :
    ) I care for such info much. I was looking for this particular info
    for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  63. herpes virus said:

    I have recently started a blog, the info you offer on this web site has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work.

  64. asher lev said:

    Thanks for finally talking about >Should I Work for You for Free?

    – blog – direct marketing blog <Liked it!

  65. Review said:

    What’s up to all, the contents present at this site are really awesome for people knowledge, well, keep up the
    nice work fellows.

  66. said:

    ? ?????? ??? ????! ??? ????????, ???
    ????????, ????????? ????!????????
    ??????? :-) ?????? ???????? ????
    ? ????? ??????? ?????????? :
    -). ??????? ???? ????? ?????? ????.

    ???? ???? ???????? ?????????????!!!

  67. pokies simply said:

    What?s Going down i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have
    discovered It positively useful and it has helped me out loads.
    I’m hoping to contribute & help other customers like its aided me.
    Good job.

  68. brave trials said:

    While The Nintendo DSi is a handheld game system created by Nintendo and launched in 2008 and 2009 in Japan, North America, PAL
    territories, and other regions. In fact, most women are very reluctant
    to talk about it with other women. Similar to the
    other With Friends games, people can enjoy playing against
    different people simultaneously and at their own pace.

  69. mp3 download said:

    As people open the files from there torrent directory the seeds run dry and the.
    The reasons for installation without CD could be anything with the two: you don’t have the Windows CD or
    perhaps your CD drive just isn’t functioning. OR that China counts for over
    34 percent of most current torrent connections to The Pirate Bay.

  70. sex and the city characters said:

    It’s usually product of silicone or mushy rubber to offer that tender real looking feeling if you find yourself using it.
    Generally, men favor the sorts of female vagina toys
    that vibrate, since it gives additional satisfaction to them.

  71. movies online said:

    you are really a good webmaster. The website loading speed is incredible.
    It seems that you are doing any unique trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece.
    you’ve done a great job on this topic!

  72. v2 Electronic Cigarettes said:

    A formidable share, I just given this onto a colleague
    who was doing a bit of analysis on this. And he in actual fact bought me breakfast as a
    result of I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that:
    Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I
    really feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic.

    If possible, as you turn into experience, would you mind updating your weblog with extra details?
    It is extremely useful for me. Large thumb up for this weblog put up!

  73. Training to make money said:

    Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve visited this site before but after looking at many of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely pleased I discovered it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back often.

  74. what is a network patch cable said:

    Hi there! I hope you do not mind but I decided to publish your weblog: to my internet directory. I used, “” as your website headline. I hope this is fine with you. If you’d like me to change the title or remove it entirely, contact me at my mail. Thanks.

  75. n scale model railroads said:

    I am curious which blogging platform you are running? I’m new to running a blog and have been thinking about using the Tripod platform. Do you think this is a good foundation to start with? I would be extremely grateful if I could ask you some questions through email so I can learn a bit more before getting started. When you have some free time, please make sure to get in touch with me at: my mail. Thanks!

  76. entry door installation said:

    It’s actually very complicated in this full of activity life to listen news on Television, therefore I just use world wide web for that reason, and take the newest news.|

  77. hud housing said:


Leave a Reply