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What is fair work trade for living on homestead?  RSS feed

 
Anthony Hardt
Posts: 15
Location: Kitsap Peninsula, Washington
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Greetings!

Wondering what the going rate is for exchanging labor for living on a homestead in one's own tent/camper/yurt etc. If electricity and internet access is provided, what should the trade rate be in terms of hours per week?

Thanks for input!!

Dogkahuna
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
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Anthony Hardt : I have had a couple of friends who have had great matches going through HelpX.net! I am sure that there are many Miss-matches

that happen, and I have not personally found one that both myself and my wife likes.

Usually you will read a couple of paragraphs about the person looking for help, there location and future plans, an idea of local 'interesting places'-

AND a their idea of how many hours of work for how much space ( and amenities ) . There is often a sliding scale that offers a choice to have meals

with the host family or not !

I think a little time looking through the ads will give you a general idea ! Link Below :

http://www.helpx.net


For the good of the crafts ! Big AL
 
Michael Bushman
Posts: 144
Location: Sacramento, CA
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The farmer's answer is "as little as possible", the farmhand's answer is "as much as possible" and the reality is somewhere else.

Things to consider, how much is the value of being able to pitch your tent and the utilities? How much can you make doing other work?

Most farmers hiring people through WOOF are not making big money, so the rate is going to be low, it certainly isn't going to be a living wage so you are going to have to subsidize your living conditions yourself. I would go about it another way, decide how much you NEED to make doing the work feasible and go from there...
 
Anthony Hardt
Posts: 15
Location: Kitsap Peninsula, Washington
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I apologize. I am not posing my question clearly. We are considering other people to live on our property with us in their own tent/structure, not as interns or hired WWOOFers who have to be hosted, but just semi-permanent renters who are trading labor for living space with some utilities and food grown here. Looking for a basic value without making things complicated. My guess is 15-20 hours per renter per week is in the ballpark. Any thoughts? Thank you!
 
Michael Bushman
Posts: 144
Location: Sacramento, CA
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Not sure where you are, but I got almost that much work out of free volunteers! Look around on Meetup.com to see if there are local permaculture groups or whatnot as that is a great source for people who want to do this stuff but lack the space/time/money to make it happen. We simply hosted BBQs quarterly and of course did a bit of food sharing to reward the volunteers.

But to answer your question specifically, I would look to see what the cost of rent and minimum wage as well as what it would take to hire someone to do the work you want done and use those number to figure out a "fair" amount of work. Another thing to factor in is what they will be doing and learning. Mucking out stalls isn't exactly fun and there isn't much to learn in order to do it effectively. If you are a skilled mason/animal husbandry and they will be assisting and thus learning at your side, that education has real value. How nice is your place and how nice is the place they will be camping? There are people in Napa renting out tents on airbnb for $75 a night!

Another factor is who do you want to attract? People with little skill and little work effort or people who who bring value and stability? What are the options for them to make any sort of spending income while staying on your place?

To me, just out of the blue 15-20 hours, assuming the work is kinda middle of the road, seems pretty fair but I think that since you want semi-permanent there is no simple answer.
 
shane hussey
Posts: 4
Location: Sonoma county
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I knew a couple who did 10 hours combined a week, for a trailer/internet access/food & eggs out of the garden .
15-20 seems high for not having a structure to live in already on the property. If you consider it to be 10$ a hour job, working 20 hours a week that would be a rent of $800 a month just to pitch a tent, have internet access, and some food.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1142
Location: northern northern california
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Anthony Hardt wrote:I apologize. I am not posing my question clearly. We are considering other people to live on our property with us in their own tent/structure, not as interns or hired WWOOFers who have to be hosted, but just semi-permanent renters who are trading labor for living space with some utilities and food grown here. Looking for a basic value without making things complicated. My guess is 15-20 hours per renter per week is in the ballpark. Any thoughts? Thank you!


yes i think that is a good estimate. i would say 10-25 hours per week might be a general ballpark.

flexibility is good too. sometimes you might want to work really hard for a few days to see a project through, then take a longer time "off".

if you get someone who is enthusiastic about doing their own projects, and self directed, in a deeper investment than just a short term person, you may find encouraging them to go their own self started projects might get you some good works. =) you know...cause a lot of plant people will just be enjoying spending a lot more time than that just tinkering, which should hopefully all add up to progress for your land. so then the 15-25 hours of "work" properly counted, might be more like group projects and big projects, with additional work encouraged but not required for more basic maintance type stuff....and that tinkering around
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1826
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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When considering what is a fair exchange, include what it will be worth to the land owner to have a resident familiar with the workings of the place. The presence of the resident could allow the owner the freedom to take a vacation, knowing the place is in good hands, or go visit an aging parent attend a PDC in Australia or elsewhere. The resident could also enjoy the freedom of being able to take off for a week or two.

Ideally the resident and owner settle into a mutually beneficial partnership of sorts. The owner brings land, commitment, knowledge experience skills etc to the partnership, the resident brings labor, knowledge, skills, experience.


 
Matthew Connors
Posts: 47
Location: Acworth, New Hampshire
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My wife and I exchanged 10 hours between the two of us in exchange for a beautiful place to put our yurt, access to a spring, laundry, and wifi. And of course we learned more than we could ask for on the farm. Win/Win.
Thanks for offering the opportunity to willing folks. I think this kind of thing ought to be more prevalent.
 
gary calery
Posts: 17
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I have been offering a nice, clean small house with garden spot, use of all my tools and sharing of my produce for 12 hours a week. The past several tenants that I have had, have a hard time getting the 12 hours between them. I have required them to mow their own yard and share in the garden work for the produce that we share. They must pay their own utilities. That arrangement sounds fair to me. What am I doing wrong? Am I having too high expectations?
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1826
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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I have to confess I am horrible at these situations, so much so that I no longer find it worth my while to even consider work exchange people.

Your expectations don't seem Too high to me. I consider 12 hours a week of semi skilled labor a cheap rent, especially if mowing my own yard was part of the labor. At ten dollars an hour, they are paying 120 per week in rent, a whopping 480 per month.

There may be other considerations. Are you in a desirable location? How conveniently located are you to a work exchange kind of population? College student, seasonal forest service, I don't know what else.

If there are not enough people who want what you have, then you have less chance to find the perfect match. How are you finding your renters? If you want them more than they want what you have, you have no strong hold to bargain from.

Anyway, good luck to you.

Thekla

 
Craig Dobbson
master steward
Posts: 1929
Location: Maine (zone 5)
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In the past I've put out offers to take on folks who wish to do the work trade thing. It's not gone well. I usually spend more time re-teaching, fixing or doing it myself when it comes to the work that a wwoofer ought to be able to handle. Then I still have to do all of my own work. Then there is a conflict of the value of the labor. As mentioned above, there is a chasm between what people are worth and what they think they are worth.

My honest opinion is that you'd be better off building out a little tiny house (really basic) and then rent that out for cash money. Knock off money from the rent as/if the work gets done. Any time you don't have a worker, you can have the space available on AIRBNB or something similar to bring in the cash. There are some really neat/cheap tiny house designs that can be built in a week and cost under a grand to build (with new materials).

Workers almost never live up to the expectations of the landowner. You should, however, expect them to make errors and break stuff from time to time. Mundane work is exactly that and most folks get bored with it quickly. Weeding, mulching, turning compost, mucking out, hauling water... all very valuable jobs but not real brain exercise. A lot of folks are expecting something completely different I guess. This is especially the case with people who are new to homestead life. It's a lot of shit work and it piles up daily. People tend to half-ass things unless there is cash involved somehow so that's how I would go forward.

As much as I would love to have some good work trade help, I've given up asking for it. For me, it's been more headache than it's worth. I decided to just have kids instead

If I were going to try again here's how I might do it.
My basic ad would run like this. Tiny house in ideal homestead setting, water, electricity, Wifi. Parking for one car. No work $700.00/mo. Grunt labor: -$8/hr off rent. Skilled labor: -$12-20/hr off rent plus food from the land. Nightly/weekly rates also available for vacationers.

I've heard a few people have had success with work trades, but not many. Sorry for being a sad panda on this one...
 
Anthony Hardt
Posts: 15
Location: Kitsap Peninsula, Washington
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Hey everybody,
Thank you all for your input. We settled on charging 10 hours a week to an individual who was willing to pay $100 every month and we'll charge 15 hours a week per person to those who want to make it a cash-less trade. And I love reporting that the first individual who moved onto the farm with us has been hard-working, thoughtful, proactive and absolutely a pleasure to have around. I encourage those who have had bad experiences with wwoofers to keep trying. We had success asking a lot of questions and being completely honest about ourselves in the vetting process. Also, I believe having a clear vision that you can communicate to potential helpers can motivate folks to pitch into the effort and do good work! Let them invest in your property and give them space to do their own thing.
We are still looking for 1-3 more people to live here, but couldn't be more happy with how things are progressing so far.
Anthony
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6781
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I'm offering something similar in the spring. I'll be looking for 5 hours a week for a tent site. 10 hours for a building. Skilled builders could do half that much. All work must be performed while I'm present and in advance of a rental period. They can work in town and pay $50 a week. No smokers, drunks or breeds of dog that I dislike.
 
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