General Question

nikipedia's avatar

What's a fair hourly rate?

Asked by nikipedia (27338 points ) February 18th, 2009

A former boss, who I’m kinda friends with, recently asked if I’d be interested in doing some part-time work helping her organize some paperwork. I assume a lot of this is insurance stuff as she has a very sick child.

What’s fair compensation for a project like this? I don’t want to offend her by asking for too much—I’m sure she’d feel awkward negotiating—but I’m also pathetically poor and time is sort of a scarce commodity for me these days. We’re located in Orange County, California if it makes a difference.

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17 Answers

steve6's avatar

$20 per hour take home pay

Vinifera7's avatar

Even $25 seems reasonable to me.

Sakata's avatar

I found this

The median expected salary for a typical Receptionist in the United States is $28,380. This basic market pricing report was prepared using our Certified Compensation Professionals’ analysis of survey data collected from thousands of HR departments at employers of all sizes, industries and geographies.

And this

<insert italicized bar graph here>

funkdaddy's avatar

You mention it was a former boss, is it safe to assume she knows what you made at that job? Maybe use that as a guideline and correct it for whether she’s helping you out or the other way around.

I know it probably wasn’t anywhere near what you’re worth (especially in acadamia), but it might be closer to what she’s expecting for a rate when she offered the job. Ultimately it comes down to how long you’re doing it and how much the time is worth to you.

Sakata's avatar

According to my math (which I like to call “monkey math”... you should charge $12/hour, but I would probably go for $15.

I’m assuming you’re going to get paid cash, right?

steve6's avatar

@Sakata, That amount would be OK here in Ky. but this is for Orange Co, California. It should be a little higher, don’t you think?

Allie's avatar

If she’s a friend you should cut her some slack. If it were me, I wouldn’t charge her what I would charge a total stranger asking me to do the same work.

Sakata's avatar

Average pay in LA is $12, San Diego is $12.27, and the whole state of California is $12.24.
I know nothing about receptionist work nor do I know anything about California pay rates. I’m just doing a little research on the pay trends in the country & state.
Those numbers are listed as of 2/7/09

Ultimately the decision is Niki’s.

arnbev959's avatar

Since it’s a friend a flat daily fee might be better than hourly pay. I’d probably go with something like 15/hr, but in a lump sum.

funkdaddy's avatar

It’s always going to take longer than you think up front, whether it’s organizing everything afterwards or “a few extra things I just thought of”... tough to rework an agreement with a friend.

shilolo's avatar

Maybe try to find out what the job is first? If it is very easy but she just needs another pair of hands, then shoot for a lower rate. If it will be more complex, then ask for more.

imnotatease87's avatar

about 15–20 dollars an hour is fair.

Bagardbilla's avatar

when I come across a project I cannot price on an hourly basis, I quote a price by the project!
Figure out what you want to make, multiply by the number of hrs. and add roughly 15% for any externalities. Now stick to it even if you run over. This will give her a piece of mind knowing exactly what it will cost her, and you a set figure to budget. Do not forget to incorporate expences such as gas, lunch or any other expenses you may incur.
Goodluck and make her regret letting you leave. ;)

fireside's avatar

$15–20 an hour for low level accounting work seems fair.

janbb's avatar

I’d go with $15—$20 hour too. Doesn’t seem exhorbitant yet you’ll be making a decent amount of money.

steelmarket's avatar

First, figure out your motive for considering this work. Do you need the money? Is she in financial distress and you want to help? Do you feel obligated to agree because of your relationship? Once you are clear on your motive, it will be easier to set your price.

sdeutsch's avatar

I ran a personal assistant business in California for several years (I was in San Francisco, but I’m guessing the rates would be about the same in Orange County). I did the same kind of work you’re talking about, and my clients were generally happy to pay $20–25/hour. When I was working for a friend, or someone I knew well, I sometimes dropped the rate to $15/hour, but that’s very cheap for this sort of work – I don’t think your boss would think $20 was out of line…

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