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How are water rates set in California, and why is water still cheap?

California is in a severe drought. The state just passed a law authorizing heavy fines for people who use water in visibly wasteful ways, and some municipalities are rationing households or talking about doing so. However, my impression is that actual water rates (prices for ordinary use) haven't gone up much. Is that correct? And if so, what would need to happen for rates to go up, and why isn't it happening? [more inside]
posted by aws17576 on Jul 16, 2014 - 17 answers

Should I charge this project hourly, or by salary?

I'm a designer and front-end web developer who has always charged hourly. I was just offered a great part-time opportunity (20hrs/week) which pays half a salary - less than I'd be paid hourly. Please help me negotiate. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 6, 2014 - 13 answers

Need some help in setting up an informal ESL class

I've been informally tutoring my friends' kids in preparing for the New York State English standardized tests, and my friends have been happy enough with how it's going that they have now proposed another arrangement. They would like me to teach a beginning ESL class for a small group of their business's employees who are struggling with English skills. I would teach a 2-hour class of about 4-5 people once a week. My friends don't know what the going rate for that kind of instruction is in NYC, and I don't either. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 28, 2014 - 7 answers

$20, SAIT?

How much do you pay your cleaning person? After years of Mefite testimonials I’ve finally decided to take the leap and hire someone to come in and clean biweekly. Currently we’re doing a halfass job, which induces lots of guilt and then frantic cleaning rampages when company’s coming. I’m excited to finally be in a position where this is an option, and have a friend* who is a fantastic housekeeper and is looking for some extra cash on the side. Regular tasks will include dusting, floors, kitchen, bathrooms, and she’d occasionally do more extensive jobs, such as windows or scouring the cabinets, as needed. Because this is a casual arrangement between friends, she doesn’t have established rate. [more inside]
posted by spinturtle on Apr 3, 2014 - 35 answers

Rates for freelance medical writing?

I have been offered some freelance medical writing work, and need help to determine a reasonable hourly rate to quote. [more inside]
posted by amelioration on Mar 12, 2014 - 5 answers

How long should you hold long-term muni bonds?

How long will it take for medium/long-term municipal bonds to recover from inevitably increasing interest rates? For instance, taking into account the interest payments what is the timeframe necessary to hold longer term municipal bonds before you break even from increasing interest rates? Relatives of mine are invested in FHIGX and I know that as rates increase the face value of their bond portfolio will decrease but when is the expected break-even based on a historical average of say 5% short-term rates? Thank you for your help with this question.
posted by gibbsjd77 on Jul 18, 2013 - 10 answers

How common is hard drug use, really?

I was recently sitting down to tea with a friend of mine's (we're both in our early 20's), and the topic wandered over to hard drug use (e.g. stuff like cocaine and crystal meth, not marijuana or alcohol.) When comparing our perceptions of how common hard drug use was, we were completely surprised when our answers were polar opposites: I saw it as an extremely rare thing, but she said it was something virtually everyone did but no one talked about. What's the truth here? How prevalent is hard drug use anyway? And why do our experiences differ so much? [more inside]
posted by Conspire on May 24, 2013 - 43 answers

How to informally implement a sliding scale for tutoring services?

I am a math tutor in the walk-in tutoring center at the community college and I get asked by a lot of students if I do private sessions off-campus. I ask $20/hr, which I am told by my colleagues is a perfectly reasonable rate. However I realize that $20/hr is prohibitively expensive for a lot of people at community college, and I know that a lot of people I tutor could afford $30/hr or more. How do I tactfully offer a discount to someone who needs it while charging a higher rate to those who can afford it? [more inside]
posted by triceryclops on Feb 16, 2013 - 18 answers

Not playing in Peoria

I have to go to Peoria, IL for a week starting February 6 to tend to the affairs of my mother, whose dementia is getting worse. I grew up there but I haven't been back for years, and when I did go back I stayed at Mom's. Now there is no room at Mom's because she's in assisted care. Where should I stay? [more inside]
posted by caryatid on Jan 22, 2013 - 11 answers

buyer behaviors

I'm looking for any data that supports that conversion rates for trial offers are higher when there is a nominal cost for the product or service versus a FREE offer.
posted by pmaxwell on Oct 26, 2012 - 0 answers

Looking for cancer survival statistics by individual hospitals in England.

Looking for cancer survival statistics by individual hospitals in England. [more inside]
posted by paduasoy on May 2, 2012 - 9 answers

How best to manage calling rates on a cell phone?

I have this budding (temporarily) long distance relationship where we put a lot of burden on phone calls (and IM and e-mail). Due to numerous factors I will give detail about in the extended, I am looking for cheap short term alternatives to cut down on costs for long distance and would appreciate some advice. [more inside]
posted by kalessin on Apr 3, 2012 - 20 answers

Long Distance Rates For the Late Seventies and Early Eighties?

How much did long distance telephone calls cost in the late 1970s and early 1980s? I'm mainly interested in hearing about rates for the USA but data from other countries would be welcome as well. [more inside]
posted by jason's_planet on Mar 31, 2012 - 21 answers

Reduce my rates like a professional?

I've been a freelance PowerPoint designer for 6 years. Given the state of the economy and my stagnant business, I've been quoting lower rates to prospective clients, but what about old clients who are still paying my old, higher rates? There are a few in particular that I think might give me more work if I charged less. How can I find out if that's true and how much less I would have to charge to get more work? I don't want to offer a lower rate if it won't increase the amount of work they give me, and I don't want to come off as desperate. Can this be done gracefully?
posted by SampleSize on Feb 6, 2012 - 7 answers

Why would a person want a mortgage if they didn't need it?

Assuming that you could buy a house outright, for cash, why would you get a mortgage? A conversation got me researching this recently. Many articles suggest that if the interest rate is low, a mortgage is better. Yet I can't for the life of me figure out why paying low interest is better than paying no interest. A person with a 30-year mortgage usually ends up paying about 2 times the principal. School me, financial mefites. FYI: this is just a curiosity. I'm in no position to actually do this in reality.
posted by the jam on Jan 6, 2012 - 48 answers

Crime Rate Statistics

Please clear up the use of statistics by two people trying to compare crime rates in one huge city (NYC) to Charleston, SC. a much smaller city. [more inside]
posted by Elsie on Sep 29, 2011 - 25 answers

How much should I charge for my writing?

Freelance Writing Filter: I've been out of the freelance writing market for about three years. I want to go back. I just got an offer to write some online content, and I need to know how much to charge based on a range provided by the company. [more inside]
posted by xenophile on Sep 1, 2011 - 5 answers

How to verify Reagan's high income tax rates on the rich?

How can I verify that Reagan's income tax on the rich was 50%, whereas nowadays the income tax on the rich is only 35%? [more inside]
posted by Eiwalker on Jan 19, 2011 - 13 answers

Help me understand interest rates

Why are mortgage interest rates currently so low? [more inside]
posted by TheOtherSide on Nov 12, 2010 - 9 answers

How much do I charge for email copywriting?

FreelanceFilter: What to charge for freelance marketing communications writing? [more inside]
posted by alleycat01 on Nov 9, 2010 - 4 answers

Can I discuss photography commission rates?

Can I discuss with other photographers the rates that various agencies pay me? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Sep 25, 2010 - 3 answers

On a journey to the source of a statistic

What is the source of this statistic: "The world's richest 20 percent consume 70 percent of its resources". [more inside]
posted by crazylegs on Jun 7, 2010 - 7 answers

Where can I find historic income rates for various foreign countries?

Where can I find historic income rates for various foreign countries? [more inside]
posted by msbutah on Jun 2, 2010 - 4 answers

Help me not have to jump through one more logistical hoop nightmare

What is the safest and cheapest way to ship 4-7 boxes (and possibly an iMac) overseas? [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam on May 23, 2010 - 8 answers

I'm an adult. I should know how mail works.

If I send a postcard from China to the United States, I pay 4.5 RMB. Who gets the money? [more inside]
posted by jweed on Apr 9, 2010 - 7 answers

Prepaid iPhone data plan in Mumbai?

Hi, I will be living in Mumbai for 11 weeks next summer. I have an unlocked iPhone 3G. What is my best bet in terms of carrier and plan for the cheapest and most reliable data access? I plan to do local calls over the cell phone voice network and international calls via Skype on the iPhone. Thanks in advance!
posted by jesseendahl on Nov 17, 2009 - 2 answers

Rates of success?

Statistics question: is it possible to test sets of cumulative data for significant differences in rate? [more inside]
posted by rollick on Nov 4, 2009 - 9 answers

Most cost-effective way of transfering money from UK to US

Need to transfer modest amounts of money from UK to a US bank account every 2-3 months. What would be the most cost-effective way to do so? [more inside]
posted by moiraine on Oct 22, 2009 - 10 answers

Help me price my (amateur) photography

Photography pros: I've been approached by an editor who wants to publish my photos, and he asked me for my rates. I never sold a photo before. How do I price them? [more inside]
posted by AnyGuelmann on Oct 13, 2009 - 12 answers

Freelance web design - how do you estimate hours?

Freelance web designers - what factors do you use to estimate the number of hours you'll spend on a project? I'm looking for examples of reasonable rough estimates (based on scope). [more inside]
posted by Fifi Firefox on Jul 7, 2009 - 7 answers

Hourly rates for web design?

As a soon-to-be freelance web designer, how much should I charge hourly for one-off projects? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on May 12, 2009 - 7 answers

Almost enough to pay for Grad School

I have saved up about $25,000 for school, which starts in September. I have it in a WaMu online savings account which had very high interest, but now the interest rates have plummeted so that I am barely making anything anymore. It went from getting $50 a month on $10,000 to making $17 this month on 25k. :( Where should I put my money where it will be safe, easily accessible in a fairly short term, and yet with as high of an interest return as possible. I also need to be able to continue to input money into the account every month when I get my paycheck. PS: I am planning to take loans if they are interest free and hold off paying them until I can't defer any longer. But when I quit my job, I will need to start withdrawing money for daily living expenses.
posted by brenton on Mar 13, 2009 - 21 answers

How much should I get paid for hosting and producing videos?

Hired to host and produce video content for a PR firm. How much should I ask to be paid? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 22, 2009 - 1 answer

What's a fair rate to charge for booking events for Yoga/Meditation training?

What's a fair rate to charge for booking events for Yoga/Meditation training? [more inside]
posted by Mr. Gunn on Jan 28, 2009 - 2 answers

Figuring out UK rates for sound mixers

What's the going rate for a freelance re-recording ("dubbing") mixer in the UK? This is for an independent feature documentary. [more inside]
posted by mooza on Jan 2, 2009 - 0 answers

Can I lock in todays rates for a future building project?

Mortgage Expert Needed: How do I take advantage of these low low mortgage rates BEFORE I gain building approval. [more inside]
posted by Thrillhouse on Dec 22, 2008 - 3 answers

List of Medicare rates?

Where do I get a list of Medicare payment rates for surgical procedures? [more inside]
posted by twiggy32 on Dec 14, 2008 - 4 answers

Help Me Understand My Mortgage Re-fi Options

We're refinancing our home mortgage and want to know if you think we should jump now or wait, considering recent news about mortgage rates dropping further based on supposed guarantees by Freddie and Fannie. [more inside]
posted by terrier319 on Dec 4, 2008 - 4 answers

How much to design a banner ad in UK?

Standard price for designing a banner ad in the UK? [more inside]
posted by nímwunnan on Sep 1, 2008 - 6 answers

Income Stream

What is the best investment vehicle for "income stream", i.e. where can you put your money and get a return that you could live off of? Any recommendations?
posted by kapec on May 8, 2008 - 14 answers

The labor of predicting LIBOR....

Should I choose a private student loan based on the 1-month LIBOR or the Prime Rate? [more inside]
posted by Asherah on Apr 8, 2008 - 4 answers

What are appropriate rates for computer surveillance work?

I'm currently running a business where I monitor computers for people. I use custom made software that gets by all the anti-malware scanners and through the firewalls. I have been charging $40/hr for the first hour, and $45 for each hour after that. Since most of work may only take 1-4 hours per client I've been told that I'm charging too little. Figures have been thrown at me by friends, family and even clients that I should charge $60, $75 or even $100. What is a fair amount in this business. Yes this involves spying on people at the workplace, churches and spouses. My first question. I've searched mefi for similar stuff and came up empty.
posted by Jack Feschuk on Mar 10, 2008 - 15 answers

What is IT worth?

What's a reasonable hourly rate for a freelance IT guy? Phone systems, networking, basic setups, etc. [more inside]
posted by foxydot on Feb 10, 2008 - 9 answers

Prove me wrong

Are US high schools graduation rates for private, parochial, and target schools real? [more inside]
posted by MrMulan on Oct 11, 2007 - 14 answers

What should I charge?

Freelance writers, help! How -- and how much -- should I charge for this book project? [more inside]
posted by changeling on Sep 12, 2007 - 11 answers

Is the bear already in the house?

I have just spent the afternoon watching stocks around the world decline partially based on sub prime market fallout. My question is how can things be so great when the Fed is handing out stacks of cash to keep things stable (34 Billion USD and counting, not including the international bail out)?
posted by Funmonkey1 on Aug 10, 2007 - 25 answers

Economist filter: How exactly does the fed set interest rates?

Economist filter: How exactly does the fed set interest rates? [more inside]
posted by BigBrownBear on Jun 29, 2007 - 9 answers

How much should I charge for my freelance design services?

How much should I charge for my freelance design services? Have to give a quote by tomorrow, and I don't know how to determine what my time/my skills/the job/etc. is worth in order to quote them fairly. [more inside]
posted by othersomethings on Apr 3, 2007 - 12 answers

Thick bloke asks worlds hardest question on macroeconomics

Interest rates and Inflation, does anyone actually understand it? [more inside]
posted by complience on Mar 21, 2007 - 26 answers

How much to charge for tutoring?

What is the going rate for one-on-one tutoring in chemistry? [more inside]
posted by janell on Mar 19, 2007 - 10 answers

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