Open Thread: Do You Ever Work for Free?

As freelancers, we need to earn a profit or we’ll go out of business.

But, if you’re like me you also get a lot of requests from people who want you to do work for them for free. Sometimes, they offer something or some service in exchange (barter), but most often they simply want us to do something for them because they can’t afford to pay for our regular services.

I can thank of a few instances when a freelancer might decide to offer work for free:

  • The freelancer wants to get some exposure by guest posting on a popular blog
  • The person making the request is a personal friend or family member
  • The project is for a charitable cause that the freelancer cares about deeply
  • The freelancer is doing something for his or her own business (such as updating their website)

Looking at yet another such request for free work today got me to wondering. How do other freelancers handle such requests?

Do you ever work for free?

Is working for free ever acceptable? If so, when? How do you respond to those who ask you for free work?

Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.