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How much to pay an unskilled worker in Philadelphia?
July 11, 2010 2:54 PM   Subscribe

What is an appropriate hourly rate for college-age summer worker to do some manual labor (in Philadelphia)?

We have some yard work (light digging), and a fence to be stripped and painted. My wife has a co-worker whose son is looking for some extra money over the summer. He isn't trained in anything in particular, but we're confident that he can do the digging, stripping, painting competently and we want to give him the work.

Question is: how much to pay him. We're stuck between $10 (me) and $15 (wife). Thoughts or experiences?
posted by scblackman to Work & Money (14 answers total)
 
I'd offer 10, see if he negotiates up, then give a really big tip if he does the job well and on time.
posted by decathecting at 2:58 PM on July 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


In California, in my experience, the going rate for summer college-age people to do just about any kind of job is usually from about $8 up to about $10. So I think you'd be offering a decent rate at $10, especially since you're not in California (which is more expensive than most of the country).
posted by Dilemma at 2:59 PM on July 11, 2010


Ten bucks is what the guys who hang out at Home Depot get.
posted by fixedgear at 3:01 PM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Keep it low and then if he does a good job, tell him so and give him a big tip. If you end up paying him more and he does a mediocre job, then you are out the money and have to re-do it or fix it.

Just make sure to make your expectations clear and give them up front. Also, make sure to offer him plenty of water, and, if he's old enough to drink, give him a cold beer or 2 at the end of the day (he'll appreciate it and make sure he's doing a good job).
posted by TheBones at 3:04 PM on July 11, 2010


For someone I liked, $12+ if the location is urban and $8+ rural.

Or, maybe $10 (urban/Philly), and notably more as a big tip at the end of the job well done. If they negotiate up, so be it?
posted by talldean at 3:06 PM on July 11, 2010


If he's leaving it up to you, I assume it's because the worker has no better idea of what a fair rate is than you do. Why not suggest $10/h for the first few days, then renegotiate when he's clearer about how much work is involved and you're clearer about the quality of his work?
posted by jon1270 at 3:09 PM on July 11, 2010


Why not a flat rate for the whole job? Hourly rates punish him for working fast.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:12 PM on July 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


your wife is right. at least $15.
posted by archivist at 3:21 PM on July 11, 2010


Yeah, $10 an hour, or minimum wage (which ever actually works out to more, remember you're not getting payroll taxes paid, and supposedly you pay all those things in April (I know, I did say supposedly; at 65 in will matter.))

When I'm hiring for this kind of thing, I guessimate how long it will take and offer a flat rate equal to minimum wage plus a bit, but I also let it be known that good jobs will get tips. As the employee, I think you will get more jobs by bidding low, doing great work and getting referrals.
posted by Some1 at 3:28 PM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm with drjimmy11. I'm not saying he'd work slower on purpose, but I've known people who have.
posted by theichibun at 3:29 PM on July 11, 2010


I'd pay $10, with a little extra left at the end for a "bonus" in the event he works hard. It's an opportunity to show that with hard work comes a reward, over and above what you might expect!
posted by Hiker at 3:32 PM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


$10-12 is reasonable, and give him a bonus if he does a good job.

or, go for a flat rate. if you really feel that you underpaid him, like if the job turns out to be much harder or longer than you reasonably calculated, give him a bonus, but don't make him ask for it.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 3:32 PM on July 11, 2010


Thanks, everyone. The consensus is to offer $10/hr., and if he takes it, a good tip/bonus if he does a good job. Wife agrees. Problem solved.
posted by scblackman at 3:34 PM on July 11, 2010


Offer to serve as a reference for future jobs. This costs you nothing, but is tremendously valuable for him.
posted by miyabo at 7:42 PM on July 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


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