5 Ideals Standard?

5 Ideals Standard Hourly Rate - what's that about?

LETS in Bristol peaked towards the end of the 90s with seven different schemes active and inter-trading. All of the schemes from their start had a standard rate of 5 LETS units per hour. Members have always been allowed to charge more, but many stuck to that rate even for fully professional services.

Comparison to Sterling
LETS was never meant to be compared to Sterling where accumulation of credit and profit is often the motive for work. Many LETS schemes operate a principal of everyone's work is of equal value. In many peoples eyes LETS provides access to mutual-support in the local community and is a means of doing work to be enjoyed, and proud of. During discussions at the launch of Bristol LETS in 2010 it was decided that it would be silly to increase the rate to be more in line with Sterling. That isn't the game we are playing.

However... many people feel they have a right to charge a higher than standard rate because:

  • They have spent much real money and time gaining the qualification that enables them to do the work for you.
  • They have extensive and expensive professional equipment that must be paid for somehow.
  • They feel a higher rate intrinsically shows more respect.
  • Their offered services are so much in demand that the higher rate is a way of limiting the number of enquiries they receive.
  • There is a significant amount of time spent in preparation before, or clearing up after, the actual job is carried out. ('Though this should really be explained and charged for directly).

... and all of these are true valid reasons for valuing your work above others.

So... it is your choice whether you choose to charge the Standard 5 Ideals per hour rate or something different. If you do choose to charge more, do:

  • Consider how many hours of work your client will have to do to cover each 1 hour of your work.
  • Think about what you want to spend all those Ideals on. Often certain people accumulate piles of credit, with no real wish or opportunity to spend it. This creates huge distortions in members' balances, and may well dishearten members who are in commitment.
  • It's not real money - you won't gain interest on it - and you can't buy a bigger car with it. Better that you access people through LETS who can maybe make the car you have look nicer / last longer /go to more interesting places.
  • If too much is being asked of you, isn't it better to say 'no' then, than charge more when you are inclined to help someone?
NB You are welcome to charge Sterling in addition to Ideals, for any Sterling costs you have incurred e.g. fuel, ingredients, materials.

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