A couple of weeks ago, PJ mentioned he’d recently tutored a mutual acquaintance of ours on some of the finer points of Web authoring.
“Yeah,” I said, “I’ve tutored him many times.”
“But I bet you’ve never gotten paid!”
And PJ pulled out his wallet. Sure enough, he had a personal check for $120. Then he explained his policy: He charges $40 an hour for consultations, with a three-hour minimum.
Two nights ago, I got a call from a woman named Tammy. She said she was a friend of my boss. She had some questions about a website for her company, and my boss had suggested that she call me. We arranged a time to get together.
It so happened that PJ was there, at my house, when I got this call. I hung up, and his reaction was immediate: “I’d charge $40 an hour with a three-hour minimum.”
So this morning I met with Tammy and spent a little less than one hour looking at her HTML and answering her questions. She was friendly and intelligent, and I enjoyed helping her. I felt like she really understood what I was saying and got a lot out of it.
But I didn’t charge her a penny. And what I’m wondering is: Am I a nice guy, or just a sucker?