I figured my pet peeve might have some resonance here, because of the large amount of mechanics, self-employed, and others that don’t merely earn a salary for time spent “on the clock.”
I am a handyman/landscaper/whatever job I can hustle guy. I typically charge $X an hour. I am having to justify my rates to prospective customers, most/all of whom make the assumption: "You charge $X per hour. A typical year has around 2,000 work hours; you make $2,000(X) per year. That’s TOO MUCH for a job that doesn’t require a formal education!
Obviously it’s not politic to break into a dissertation with them; here it is for you guys and gals.
- YOU get $Y for EVERY HOUR SPENT AT WORK; I get $X for EVERY HOUR BILLABLE TO A CUSTOMER. Those aren’t the same thing, or even similar!
- Advertsising time on Craigslist/Time spent sharpening mower blades/Buying crud at Home Depot all pay exactly $0/hr.
- YOU get to keep ALL you are (post tax) paid; I have to pay out expenses. (Not to mention, you can drive the smallest thing that’ll fit you; OTOH, Prii don’t handle 2 cu yd of topsoil very well.
- YOUR workweek is limited basically by your ability to withstand boredom and need for sleep; MY workweek is often limited by physiological constraints. (At 43, I can still channel my “inner John Henry” with a 8# sledge; I can’t channel him for 55 hours every week.)
- As a small business owner, I employ skills (unseen to you) like bookkeeping, tax strategy, etc…that require a college degree, were I to do them for somebody else.
- I have probably $7,000 tied up in tools. Were I a “company man,” I could stick 'em in the market and get 8% annually or so; as I live in a capitalist society, I ought to get something similar, over and above what I get for my labor.
- Your “college pay bias” is shorthand for supply and demand: if a job requires a BS, and BSs are limited, prevailing wages go up. Well (in our present, sedentary society) there are pretty few people who have the inclination, or even ability, to do what I do. My billing rate reflects that fact.
Just a word to the wise, for non-insiders who kvetch at the hourly cost of auto repair, other hourly services, etc. If your auto labor charge is $100/hour, your mechanic is deicdedly NOT taking home $200K/yr! (The shop owner makes more, yes, but most of that is return on capital investment, NOT spinning wrenches, though he might not be specifically break it down like that.)