|Re: paying $ for sweat equity||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: PattyMara (PattyMaraaol.com)|
|Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 00:02:36 -0600|
In a message dated 99-01-09 14:49:38 EST, lilbert [at] concentric.net writes: << Some people are talking about regular chores and others are talking about capital improvements. I really think we need to define what it is before we can give each other advice about it. >> At Tierra Nueva we defined sweat equity as: "monetary compensation for tasks performed by cohousing members". The following 7 points describe how we handled it in our group. 1. Members can earn sweat equity credit by providing "professional services" defined as any task that the group, or any group could expect to "hire" on the open market. 2. The services must be requested and required by the appropriate committee. 3. The services required must be specified and anticipated iin the overall project budget. 4. The member must request in advance to perform the task to earn sweat equity credit for work. 5. All requests/arrangements must be forwarded to the finance committee for approval, record keeping and budget review. This process must take place before any work is eligible for compensation. 6. Sweat equity will be credited to the member's household account and will be applied to the down payment on the member's house. No interest will be accrued on sweat equity. 7. A formal business relationship will be established between the member perfoming professional services and the cohousing corporation. Expectations, specific needs, timelines must be met. The relationship between the corporation member being compensated and the corporation, is the same as the relationship between any service provider and the corporation. On a personal note, my husband and I were one of the households who received such compensation. We are graphic designers. We requested sweat equity for some of the work we did to market our project. We do marketing and advertising in our business, so it met the stipulation that we offer a professional service. We suggested a reduced rate (half our regular hourly rates) and kept meticulous records of time. I had to be very careful to distinquish between regular marketing committee work (which I volunteered, as any other committee member) and professional time spent. Sometimes the line was very blurry, so I often did not charge for my time. Over the course of a year of actively marketing we accrued over 200 hours of compensated time and probably double or triple that amount of time volunteered. Since the work was done mostly "after hours" we spent many many late nights at the computer. But knowing that we were going to be compensated (it was a deferred compensation, and wholely dependent on the project succeeding, so we were very motivated to make it work on many levels) sure sweetened the process. So what are the general feelings of the group toward members receiving sweat equity compensation? For us it succeeded most of the time. Our work was highly appreciated by the membership and ultimately very successful. But there were times when some strain was perceived, mostly at times when the group was struggling which some overwhelming development issues. At one point a member of the finance team took issue with my presence on the marketing committee team when we developed our proposed budget for our marketing plan. He perceived this as a conflict of interest. My husband and I felt it was necessary at that point to separate ourselves from the marketing team, even though we were the ones with the most experience in the field, in order to stay out of the conflict of interest zone. So it was not without its strains and bumps in the road. Also, there is the tendency for sweat equity workers to have too many "employers" when working for a community. Sweat equity requires a delicate balance of good boundaries and generosity. Kind of like mixing business with friendship. I would suggest that meticulous accounts be kept of time and that no work in the past be compensated. We had one member ask for payment for work done over a year before, and it caused some serious discussion and processing. I'm glad we had a sweat equity option. I think it can work when clearly defined. Since we are so new a community we haven't a whole lot of experience paying members for professional work while living here. So far we have payed a member who is a lawyer and a member who built a deck railing/bench for the common house when we needed it done quickly to pass final inspection. A need for more design work has arisen. As a pedestrian community with peripheral parking we are realizing that most of the homes are very difficult to locate, especially for delivery services like UPS or FedEX. We recently voted to create a directory kiosk at the gateway to the community, and my husband agreed to do the design work and implementation. He is responsible for all of the signs for a community college campus where he works and is very experienced in the field of directional signage. I think this would qualify as professional services. It remains to be seen if he will consider it a labor of love (volunteer) or as billable time. Whatever he decides, the group has a process in place for him to request compensation. Patty Mara Gourley Tierra Nueva Cohousing on the central California coast
- Re: paying $ for sweat equity, (continued)
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