How much should I pay someone in Hungary?
September 21, 2008 10:39 PM   Subscribe

How much should I offer someone in Hungary to photograph graves in a cemetery? I'm doing genealogical research and I need about a dozen graves photographed. I found someone willing to do it, and I don't want to either insult him or drive the price up.
posted by Joe in Australia to Work & Money (8 answers total)
posted by rhizome at 11:14 PM on September 21, 2008

I'd say $150 seems a bit high unless these graves are in scattered locations that would take considerable travel time to reach.

Find out if paying in the local currency is preferable to paying in US dollars. Depending on the context, some people will do more for dollars than they would for local currency, but the opposite can also be true: paying in local currency makes the action seem more "real" so you can pay a more realistic price.

Do you know this person well or are they a stranger? This should also play into your calculations.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:03 AM on September 22, 2008

Where in Hungary? I'm in Romania at the moment but will be in Hungary soon. Believe it or not, I've spent a lot of time in Hungarian cemeteries doing research myself. If it's in one of the places where I will be, I'd do it for free for a fellow MeFite member. If you're set on the person you already found, it'd have to do entirely with traveling and that sort of thing. If it's a day's work (or less) than $150 US would be a great fee.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 12:11 AM on September 22, 2008

Response by poster: I don't know the potential photographer at all, but from my Googling I take it that he lives nearly two hours' drive from the site. So I guess the question is, what should I offer a Hungarian college graduate (I don't think he photographs professionally) for a one-off favor that will probably take most of a day.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:35 AM on September 22, 2008

From various sources googled, Hungarians' "average [median?] income is approximately 600 USD/mo."; "According to the survey, the data for which is from February, median gross weekly private sector earnings in Hungary come in at €152"; "The study calculated that based on purchasing power parity, the annual wage in Hungary was $9,822 between 2006 and 2007, which put the country last of 30 countries ranked."

Normalize the scales to weekly: 138 USD, 152 Euros, 188 USD.

Assume 1.5USD per Euro: 138USD, 228 USD, 188 USD. Average 185USD/wk. Round up, $5/hr or $40/day.

Assume driving to and from one cemetery takes 2 hours, add a generous hour for gas and wear and tear, = $15 per cemetery. Add another hour for the actual photographing, = $20/cemetery. Add in two hours for overhead, postage, bank charges for exchanging you dollars into forints, = $30/cemetery.

Be generous, up it to $40 or a day's median wage per cemetery (or use the 152 Euros average, and make it $48 or $50).

Note that this is median or "average" wage, not minimum wage.
posted by orthogonality at 12:40 AM on September 22, 2008

150 Euros would be more like it. It's a day's work with travel. Petrol is expensive, and figure in a lunch for at least ten Euros. Life is no longer cheap and inexpensive in east Europe, and if you underpay for labor on a job you will get what you pay for.

I live in Hungary, and when I hire a driver with car for transport for my band, it usually comes out to 100-150 EUs for a day's work.
posted by zaelic at 2:20 AM on September 22, 2008

Were I in your situation, I would simply ask him what he felt a fair price would be and pay him that.

People have done this with me for various services, just asked what I'd like to be paid, and it's worked out quite fairly in the end. If I don't know what the "going rate" is, I ask around and decide on what feels right. In the end, it ends up being a bit cheaper than they expected as I appreciate the courtesy of being respected enough to name my price.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:36 AM on September 22, 2008

From having been in Hungary lately and trying to stay on a budget, that sounds WAY off to me. The prices were equivalent to Montreal prices, if not higher. I would pay what you'd pay a graduate here, converted to forints if they prefer it.
posted by Salamandrous at 5:30 AM on September 22, 2008

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