The Value of My Time
Having a YouTube channel, I get multiple emails a day from people asking for answers to their questions or technical support for design problems.
I have a full-time day job. I am also paid to write blogs. I write books that are for sale. And I have a monetized YouTube channel that I make videos for.
My time is scarce. I also have family and friends that make life worth living. I need to exercise. I have hobbies and interests. Also… sometimes I need time to simply do nothing.
Therefore, last year I decided I was no longer going to provide free technical support. I am under zero obligation to provide technical support to strangers for free. If you want me to answer your question, the price starts at $60.
Often I get a couple immediate responses.
You won’t help me for free?
Do you work for free? I don’t. I know the value of my time.
I don’t want to pay that much.
Then we know how much exactly this is a problem to you.
I’ve really found it interesting that people somehow assume that I am a charity. Many are seriously shocked that I would expect compensation for my effort, knowledge, and expertise.
Let’s get to the root of my basis of my formulation.
Look at the burden rate that an engineer has on a company. That’s the cost of an employee to the company. It factors in their total compensation package, plus all the infrastructure involved in supporting employment, such as office space, computer, other equipment, professional development, and so on. It varies from industry to industry, company to company, and location to location, but a factor of 3 is in the range. According to Indeed, the average base salary for an engineer is about $80,000 a year, or $40 an hour. With the burden rate, that comes out to $120 an hour. Therefore, if you waste a half hour stuck on a technical issue, you’ve wasted $60. Put another way, if I can save you half an hour, that’s $60.
As mentioned above, I have several income streams. I do not need additional income from providing technical support. The time I spend addressing your question, I’d rather spend writing or making a video. I’d rather spend it playing with my friend’s 9 month old daughter or the 2.5 year old toddler in my life. I’d rather spend it cuddling with my kitties Bella and Blaze. What’s the financial value that you put on your time?
In reality, the $60 price tag separates the people who are serious about my time and those who are not. It separates those who see value in what I have to offer and those who don’t.
But really, bottom line, it should not shock people that I don't work for free.