I was informed that some people from an institution on the east coast will be visiting my humble outfit (office), and as the visit was rather informal I was not too worried as I could just give them some information on my operations off the cuff. As they were running late, I was already changed into my test gear, when they finally came about.
I welcomed all of them, and as I was only given 3 minutes to explain (in general) my operations, things go on quite fast. I was sharing information with them how my outfit could assist them, when THE question came.
'You would be assisting us for free then?', came the question from a young chap. I looked towards him and retorted, 'If you asked me, nothing is for free in this world. The things that you got for free wont be appreciated much, so everything has a price' I explained making a point. 'Other similar institution who are extended our expertise, are being charged a nominal fee, so I don't see any difference in your case'.
'My views on that does not necessarily reflect my boss's view but everything is negotiable' I ended the conversation and thanked them, as I need to continue with the planned test. If my stand seems impolite or brusque, so be it, but I need to put forth what my stand are.
Nothing comes for free in this world.