General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

A sort-of employer related dilemma

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BG:  I am currently in need of some general household assistance with basic everyday cleaning:  dusting, vacuuming, mopping and the like.  This is a short-term need and a little less intensive than something that would require hiring a service.   A teen boy currently cuts my lawn and I thought that this would be another good situation to hire another teen for a few hours a month.  End BG.

I contacted a local church two blocks away via email, thinking that they might have some teens in the church who would be happy to have a few hours work per month. 

I got a response back yesterday....from a person who is unemployed.   My original thought was that this endeavor would pay $40 per month for four hours work (2 hours every other week).  I felt this was good for a teen to pick up a few extra dollars, but for some reason, I am uncomfortable with this arrangement for an unemployed adult.  I would feel like I should be paying more per hour or paying for more hours, neither of which I am prepared to do.  Plus, this seems like it would then require some tax arrangements as well. 

However, I could always state my original idea, which is the $40 per month.  I guess my question is....if you were unemployed, would you feel that this was offensive or would you be grateful for the extra few bucks?  I don't want to aggravate or irritate anyone because I really do appreciate the fact that the church even passed along my request.   I'm really conflicted.

Thanks for any and all feedback! 

I would be grateful for the few extra bucks.  $10/hour isn't a huge amount, but it's more than minimum wage and more than a lot of people across the country make.  There are tax laws involved even for teens, though I don't know what they are.  There's some maximum amount you can make per year without having to report, but again, I have no clue what that amount is.  Somehow, I don't think you'd come anywhere near that amount with the temporary status of your needs, but it might be worth a call to a tax professional.

Outdoor Girl:
Did you put what you were willing to pay and the hours you wanted in the original email?  If so, the person who responded knows what they've agreed to and you could go ahead.  They might be trying to string together a number of small jobs or if they do a good job for you that you will refer them to someone else.  But they might also be hoping that you'll find other jobs for them to do and pay them more.

I'd meet with them before agreeing to take them on and reiterate what you are looking for at what rate.  As for the tax arrangements, the person is probably just looking to be paid cash under the table so if you are bothered by that, you might want to try again to get a teenager.

How big is your house?  Mine is only a little over 1000 square feet and it takes the person I hire closer to 3 hours to do the basics, longer if I ask her to do stuff like clean out the fridge.  So depending on the size of the house and what you want done, 2 hours sounds a little low on the time committment.

We come across people in this way a lot in our community - usually one sticks around for a year or so and at first everyone hires them at reasonable rates and gives extra help, but over time the quality of their work drops as they begin feeling entitled to the help and then people stop hiring them and move on to the next person.  A job is a job though so go ahead and make the offer. 

There is no problem with telling him - "I am looking for someone to do X, Y, Z for $40/month.  Are you interested?"

OP here...thanks for all of the responses!

I did put the parameters ($20 for 2 hours twice a month) in my original email, although I am not 100% sure that detail got passed along to the person who responded.  I realize this is not a lot of hours, but I'm just looking for a little assistance while I am dealing with some health issues.  My goal is not to get my whole house cleaned for this amount, but just to get a few things done.  The limiting parameter is really the money, so if I have a few extra bucks one week, I might ask for some additional assistance if it would be mutually agreeable.

I'm not overly concerned with the "cash under the table" portion either as it is hopefully a limited time need.  If things progress in a bad way, I would definitely go with a more formal arrangement since the time commitment would become larger.

I'll send the responder an email and reiterate the parameters.  The worst she can say is "no". 


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