Should You Do Business With Friends?

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do business with friends

If you want to do business with friends, I’ve noticed there are many differing opinions. One one hand, there are people who strongly oppose it. They say it will ruin friendships, tear apart life long relationships, and leave both parties stressed and unhappy.

Then, there’s the other side where people say doing business with friends is a great idea because it’s fun to work with people who you enjoy talking to and there’s already a built in trust. Here are some more pros and cons that you might not have considered when it comes to working with friends:

Why You Should do Business With Friends

You already know your friend. That means you don’t have to do the awkward networking thing or sales pitch. You don’t have to call in favors or ask people to introduce you to someone. Your friend is there already and will more likely than not answer your call and give you the time of day. Plus, you know what makes them tick, what makes them upset, and how they operate. Chances are you’ve observed them working, and you like their work ethic or their tendency to create great ideas. Otherwise, you wouldn’t consider doing business with them to begin with. All of these things will enhance a work relationship and make transactions and contracts run a bit smoother.

Also, when there is a problem, it might be easier to confront your friend, although some might argue that it’s harder. Still, you will be in tune with their personality, and thus, you should know the best way to approach them or talk to them if a problem arises.

Why You Shouldn’t do Business With Friends

The cons to working with friends really depends on the friend. We all have those friends who sometimes take advantage or take things just one step too far. Friends might expect special treatment or special pricing, and that can be really hard when you are trying to run a business but keep your reputation pristine at the same time.

Another con is when the line between friends and business gets blurry. For example, your friend might be more comfortable calling you at night to discuss a business transaction instead of waiting to have the conversation during normal work hours. They might also give unsolicited advice, which some people find to be a bit frustrating.

My Take on It

Ultimately, I think working with friends can be a really great, positive experience as long as the lines of communication are open and each party knows and understands their role. For example, John works with his wife every day for their business, and they do a great job together! Other people wouldn’t be able to work with their spouses at all. (Editor’s note – Thanks for the compliment Cat! Having worked with Mrs. Frugal Rules for two years now I can attest to how communication is a huge part of working well together. That, and I’m glad I don’t have to work with myself. 😉 )

What it really comes down to is your own comfort level and how willing you are to stand your ground or negotiate when it comes to dealing with someone who is close to you. Some of the best friendships have gone sour from doing business with one another while other ones have been really strengthened by combining forces and creating amazing ideas.



What’s your take on doing business with friends? Have you ever gone into business with a friend? If so, how did it turn out? Did the business thrive? Did the friendship fall apart?

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Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for parents who want to better their finances and take on a more active financial role in their families. Check out her award winning blog,


  • The Phroogal Jason says:

    I’ve worked with friends which led to great results and deepened the friendship. I’ve also worked with friends that completely broke the friendship. A few years ago, some of my friends reported to me.

    As you mentioned, communication is key. it’s important to be direct about expectations.

    When it comes to business partnerships its important to set very clear objectives and an agreement the moment both of you agree to work together.

  • I’ve started a number of businesses (mainly websites) with my best friend. They never got too far off the ground, and I don’t know if the partnership was to blame or not. Recently I’ve realized that there are some serious pitfalls to partnerships, especially if it’s with friends, so I avoid them.

  • We have found that doing business with friends can some times be more than it is worth. The key is to be honest up front. Establish guidelines like you would with any other business transaction and don’t make any assumptions or presume anything. You don’t want to ruin a great friendship. Our last suggestion is to not expect anything more than you would from anyone else. A friend may give you a discount, but would you do that for them? They may not be able to afford it so don’t put them in a tight spot by having to say no.

  • Dave Lalonde says:

    I wouldn’t want to start a business with a friend. Things get bunched up and it interferes with personal and business. But contrary to that, my family and I run a business together and it’s great. Effective communication is KEY. Since we’re family, it’s okay if we get mad at each other because we all know that we will all love each other at the end of the day. It makes us great business partners because we understand how we all operate and ultimately, the decisions we make are genuinely to advance all of us as a family.

  • I think it totally depends on the friend. I would want to know a lot about how that person operates in a work environment before going into a business with them- kind of like how I would want to know how a person lives before becoming roomies with them.

  • Great article, Cat!! We have, for years, looked into different businesses for Rick and his best friend to go into. One of the things we always talk about when discussing different opportunities that come up is that honesty is crucial all the way around. For instance, if somebody is ticking somebody off, bring it up sooner rather than later, and get it resolved. It’ll be interesting to see if they ever do get something off the ground. They’ve worked together IRL on and off for years, and it’s always been a great experience.

  • Kim says:

    Right off hand, I’d say no, but I think the right situation would work. I’ve really gotten to know the doc who bought my satellite practice, and we actually took a road trip last week. We both agreed that in another place and time we probably would have been good partners. I don’t think I’d ever get involved in a business situation with family other than a spouse. I’ve seen that go bad too many times!

  • E.M. says:

    At my old job, I worked for three bosses – two were best friends from childhood, and the other they knew from work. On the surface, it seems like a great idea, because they all know each others strengths and weaknesses, and they have fun playing pranks, but there was definitely a competitive streak in there, too. They were also not great about communicating. One of them wanted things done one way, the other a different way. I’m not really sure what I’d do myself!

  • I’ve often seen family/friends not mix when it comes to business. I’m sure it’s probably due to lack of communication and some who will take advantage since they are friends. I worked with a friend on an internet venture years ago, I added content and he handled the technical side. It seemed the each of us thought the other was doing their share. We’re still friends but the business didn’t work out…unfortunately since I think it was easier to make money online back then. Anyway, we’re still friends.

  • Deacon Hayes says:

    I think doing business with friends is great, but like you said, it depends on the friend. It is funny, because almost everywhere I worked, many of my co-workers became my friends overtime. So really it is just finding people that you connect with and that you can trust. Who wouldn’t want to work with people like that?

  • I tried a small business with a friend for a while but then got pregnant and my additional free hours got reduced significantly. (You know how that goes). So I feel bad that I was the “bad” friend in the partnership. I would be opened to working with a friend again, but I think it should just be clear as far as everyone’s expectation of time and commitment level to the business.

  • Pascal says:

    Only do business with friends if everyone has the same goal, and work ethic. Even if the other person’s skillset will be beneficial to have, if you’re not on the same page, the friendship will fizzle out quick.

  • Grayson Bell says:

    I have worked with friends before, but it really depends on the friend. If they have the work ethic and drive, then I don’t mind working with them.

  • Hey Cat, I think friends are the best people to do business with. Like you said, you know you’ll have fun, you don’t have the awkward phases of business, and things tend to run better. I also know this to be true from experience. I started a business with a friend a few months back and wow has it grown! I thought it would be slow moving like everything else I’d done, but we were up to thousands in the first month! Going in business with my friend has been one of the best career choices I’ve ever made.

  • Lauren says:

    That’s a tough one. I’ve never had a business with a friend, but I have worked with friends, and those have been positive experiences. I’d be worried that if the business went sour and money was lost, a friendship could easily dissolve. You might have to be prepared for that possibility.

  • I try to avoid it if at all possible now. Unless the are very clear outlines of the roles involved. Even still, I’ve had the bad experience of nearly losing a friendship, and know many others who have as well.

  • Jason B says:

    I’ve tried to do business with friends. All I can say is I will NEVER do that again.

  • Derek at MoneyAhoy says:


  • Alexa says:

    I think it really depends on what friend you’re doing business with. For example, I had a family member who has always wanted to be a writer so I’ve tried to get her to start a website with me and she’s says she wants to do it until the time comes to take action.

    I think starting a business with a friend is a good idea when you and the friend have similar drives and can push each other to do better. For example, I feel I’d be better off to start an online business with one of my blogger friends than I would be to start one with a friend from home.

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