All Replies on How do you say... NO!!

  • Advertise with us
View Richard 's profile

How do you say... NO!!

by Richard
posted 10-08-2010 10:26 PM

33 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2934 days

#1 posted 10-08-2010 10:34 PM

I can get interested in pretty much anything with the right price offered, so I don’t know.

Also, now that you have told a fib, it’s even harder to come back with “Sorry, I only do things to donate to charity”

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4182 days

#2 posted 10-08-2010 10:36 PM

I just tell them woodworking is something I do for fun, and I make things I like to make. I go on to explain that taking someone’s money to make what they want is a whole different ball game, and makes my fun more like work.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Richard 's profile


394 posts in 3084 days

#3 posted 10-08-2010 10:43 PM

Wow! That is how I feel exactly word to word. I have always thought this way deep down and you came up with what I was thinking. I guess woodworkers think alike.

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3078 days

#4 posted 10-08-2010 10:44 PM

have you try with a simpel NO!
I´m not up in that league so I don´t no
but Charlies comment makes sence to say


View NathanAllen's profile


376 posts in 3107 days

#5 posted 10-08-2010 10:53 PM

Maybe instead of money you could ask for some obscure, rare, ultra exotic stock in exchange for doing their project. I’m not talking about a blank from the keel of the Mayflower, more in line with 10bf of clear Madagascar Ebony. This way you’re not charging them money, you get stock to use in a future project and they can decide if they want to pay top dollar, wait for a bargain or don’t need the project done that much.

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1099 posts in 3770 days

#6 posted 10-08-2010 11:43 PM

If I don’t want to do a project for someone I just quote them a price that’s out of their league!

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1519 posts in 4088 days

#7 posted 10-09-2010 01:55 AM

I’m with Charlie and Richard. My answer on a whole lot of things is “I do these things for free because I find them fun. If I charged my usual hourly rate to do them, you couldn’t afford them. And I’d have to do them on a schedule and do them to someone else’s specs.”

If someone ever calls my bluff, well, I’m gonna rake in some decent dosh.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Mogebier's profile


170 posts in 2996 days

#8 posted 10-09-2010 02:49 AM

I just tell everyone that I will get to whatever project they want me to do for them when I’m done doing the projects I want to do for myself.
Then I show them the list. The “Master To Do List” that I have had for almost 14 years now. Then they leave me alone :)

-- You can get more with a kind word and a 2 by 4, than you can with just a kind word.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3038 days

#9 posted 10-09-2010 03:22 AM

I have the same problem with a slightly different twist. I do a lot of work for my church and I am well known within the church by many of the older members. They will approach me with a request to do things in their home which are, essentially, handyman work. I do it if I know them to be rather poor, especially if it is an important project for health or safety reasons.

However, recently I got myself suckered into doing some cosmetic work inside a couple’s expensive RV. There was no health or safety issues and the people who own that RV clearly can afford to hire someone. I’ve got to learn to say “no” in situations like this.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Jesse 's profile


105 posts in 2825 days

#10 posted 10-09-2010 07:32 AM

Well, you could always try to flip Murphy’s law around in your favor? Attempt to sell your work and then surely no one will be looking.

View Richard 's profile


394 posts in 3084 days

#11 posted 10-09-2010 07:42 AM

So True! You hear about woodworkers trying to go into business, and trying to find customers that will pay. Maybe I should carry some cards of some of my fellow local woodworkers and steer them towards their direction.

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

View snowdog's profile


1164 posts in 3946 days

#12 posted 10-09-2010 01:44 PM

I read here a long time ago and I use it all the time when I am asked to do some wood project for others, “I would be happy to show you how to do it, come to my shop and I will teach you” everyone so far has declined except for my sister and we had a blast working together. This only works with friends and family but anyone else (as long as your polite) really does not matter :)

You could also work out a deal with another lumberjock to do the project and get a commission :)

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3985 days

#13 posted 10-09-2010 02:00 PM

I just say “Naw, I don’t want to do that” .
Frankly, I’m rather fed up with charities.
They are becoming businesses and used by governments to offset their primary responsibilities or tax dodges for wealthy corporations.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View helluvawreck's profile


30765 posts in 2830 days

#14 posted 10-09-2010 02:00 PM

Just tell them the truth and they can’t find fault you for anything. It’s your business what you do with your leisure time.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3444 days

#15 posted 10-09-2010 04:57 PM

I would just tell them that woodworking is a hobby and that you dont do work for hire.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3267 days

#16 posted 10-09-2010 05:01 PM

Yeah, I agree with Wayne. An honest answer will do the trick and keep the issue from coming up with the same guy/gal again. I wouldn’t worry to much if they like the answer or not, you don’t need to please them….after all they are not paying you :)

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3838 days

#17 posted 10-09-2010 05:19 PM

Hey, Richard – I like Charlie’s answer.

And I’m in Emmett … should I send you a short stack of my business cards?

-- -- --

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5804 posts in 3158 days

#18 posted 10-09-2010 05:54 PM

I usually don’t say “no” if it’s a paying job, unless it’s something I’ve never built, or too complicated that I don’t want to fool with it. I enjoy building projects for my immediate family, grandkids, etc. with a “no charge” clause…I have a sign in my shop that says” Free advice…everything else is cash”. I don’t do any charity work for anyone..Here’s an example: I live in a small town (763), and a few days ago the mayor came by (he
knew I did woodworking) and asked if I could build 72 candycanes to put out in our community for the holidays. He wanted them out of plywood….He wanted me to do all the work and furnish materials for FREE…!
I said sorry…no can do!!! I’m not spending all my time making things like that for nothing…People don’t realize that you have wear and tear on machines, and if one of those tools broke down, who fixes it..? Not them!!!
At least if it’s a paying job, you have $ for repairs and material replacement..People will take advantage of your good nature if they can to save a $....I just tell them…”I don’t work for free”....They leave….grumbling…

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View WoodyWoodWrecker's profile


171 posts in 3215 days

#19 posted 10-09-2010 06:04 PM

I’m trying to make woodworking a hobby so that when I retire, I don’t just sit around and waste away. Now knowing how expensive wood can be I’ve been trying to come up with ways to get it cheaper. I thought of NathanAllen’s idea and think that would be a way to do it. But, if I didn’t want to make other peoples projects than I think I would just have to tell them the truth.

-- You always have tomorrow to stop procrastinating.

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 2790 days

#20 posted 10-09-2010 07:11 PM

People think that we get our wood for next to nothing, and that our machines will run on hopes and dreams for the rest of our life…

A girl over the summer wanted me to build her a rabbit hutch… I was thinking about it.. until she said that she didnt want to spend more than $100…. She didnt realize ACQ is about $4/ “2×4” and a design like she wanted requires alot of lumber… Then exterior stain/paint is expensive… often upwards of $20/can… Then hardware would be another $20 or so… Then chicken wire is like $10/roll… Tin Snips are like $5.. Screws are $8/lb And that would take atleast an lb…

By the time I was done, it would probably end up costing atleast $100+... With no meat on the bones for me… Not to mention ACQ is a killer on blades and cast iron/steel, due to the moisture content…

So I think I quoted her $500… She walked away; Thus fofilling my master plan…

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3985 days

#21 posted 10-10-2010 12:03 AM

newbie, one of the first things you do in merchandising is qualify the buyer.
Most consumers have an idea of what they have free for a project but no excperience with the input costs.
You could tell her what the minimum cost would be and let her decide the best path to get a project done.
Don’t be too disappointed that they don’t go ahead with your ideas as many don’t understand the difference between mass manufacturing with slave labor such as in China and one of a kind production here on North America.
Still and all it seems like a hundred bucks for a rabbit hutch is plenty.
Maybe you should get familiar with recycled materials. often thay can save a lot of expense for mundane projects like this. What’s the price of a phone call?

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3137 days

#22 posted 10-10-2010 12:05 AM

For me, the answer would be verrrrry simple:

“Have you SEEN any of my work ???”


-- -- Neil

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3985 days

#23 posted 10-10-2010 12:07 AM

Neil , and the Rabbit said…. not yet!

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3985 days

#24 posted 10-10-2010 12:23 AM

JorgeG, and the Rabbit said…. not yet!

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2960 days

#25 posted 10-10-2010 12:42 AM

Be upfront with them. Tell them why you build for charity, and why that makes YOU happy. You are the one that has to sleep at night. No need to fib to them and then feel guilty, you are not the one that started it !
Be honest about it, keep it simple and enjoy doing what YOU like doing.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View EEngineer's profile


1098 posts in 3577 days

#26 posted 10-10-2010 04:28 AM

I guess I don’t understand the question…

If it is something I don’t wanna do… “NO!”

If they can’t accept it and still remain friends, then weren’t asking, they were commanding you to do it. In that case, the answer is “Hell, NO!”

People are such wusses nowadays.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Jim's profile


253 posts in 3608 days

#27 posted 10-10-2010 04:54 AM

My response is “I’m flattered that you would ask but I do woodworking for fun and relaxation. For me the quickest way to kill that, is to turn it into a job, so I have to decline”. I’ve always had positive responses to turning them down when done this way.

-- Jim in Langley BC Canada ---

View newwoodbutcher's profile


733 posts in 2813 days

#28 posted 10-10-2010 06:17 AM

I always tell people that (a) I have a very long project list and (b) although they might love the look of that cute box I made, I would have to charge $1,000 due to how long it takes me to build it, I allways ask if they would be willing to pay that much. I haven’t had an offer yet.

-- Ken

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3137 days

#29 posted 10-10-2010 06:48 AM

Alright. Two serious answers:

First: Bob #2. I have a couple of projects up, and one in the making :-) I just move like the glaciers, is all ;-)

Second: to the original question….

You could call it honesty, but … I’m not trying to play all holier than though. My approach is a little more sales-y than that. I call it “Don’t give them anything that they can argue against.”

If you make it about price, or time, or backlog, or anything like that, then … if they’re persistent or insistent, they can come back at you with an argument.

I gather you don’t want that. I wouldn’t want that.

My real answer—were I ever to get to the point where people genuinely DID want to pay me to build something for them—would probably be something like, “I’m flattered, but that’s just not what I do.”

Of course, somebody can argue THAT, too, but … let’s be honest: some people can argue … in response to anything or nothing.

So I’d hold my ground. “No. Really. I’m very flattered, but that’s just not what I do …” or ” ... but I’m really not interested.”

In the end, it IS honest. It’s also the sort of position that’s MOST likely to keep EVERYBODY happy, in the end.

-- -- Neil

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3985 days

#30 posted 10-10-2010 07:00 AM

Neil, don’t tell me, tell the rabbit! :-)

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4278 days

#31 posted 10-10-2010 07:43 AM

Try telling them yes you would love to do it. Make sure you figure all the time it would take including getting materials, building jigs, shop drawings, time spent with them and time spent cleaning the shop. Tell them many cabinet shops charge $60.00 to $75.00 an hour, but you will only charge them $55.00 that is a lot less than a plumber or electrician would charge….plus materials. Then if they still want it done call me, I’ll only charge you $45.00 an hour!

View Edziu's profile


151 posts in 3014 days

#32 posted 10-10-2010 07:43 AM

I have become very selective about my donations. I also have a small stock of production items that I don’t mind throwing into an auction, raffle,etc.

I did donate a larger item to a school dinner auction, but the couple who solicited me for the donation, well, the husband’s father is a famous actor. Footloose, The World According to Garp….those are some of his movies. I’m going to ask someday for “Him” to be the auction item at MY church, you know, to be a dinner guest or something.

View BertFlores58's profile


1694 posts in 2885 days

#33 posted 10-11-2010 07:25 AM

I had refused several times work that are really worth for a living because I am so frank telling them that I have no time available. If they are willing to wait, I start asking about it. I plan first if it is good to do it or not. Most of the time, TIME is always a problem…. As a hobby is not always a good reason because they even wait longer and maybe years.. When you meet again, he or she will remind you. If you really dont want it… be frank and SAY no. THE TO DO LIST is nice to have with given priority rating.

-- Bert

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics