In LETS, debt is not a bad thing. It’s a sign that the system is working and trading is happening.
Most members will have a negative balance some of the time. If a member never gets to a positive balance, it’s a sign that they need to review what they can offer to others. But it also means that they are someone who is really benefitting from being a member!
LETS operates on the good intentions of its members. If you are asking a member to do something like plumbing or electrics, you might want to check whether they are offering the service as a professional or as a competent DIYer. You can ask what experience they have and whether you can see examples of their work or talk to previous customers, just as you would in the ‘normal’ world.
You should try to resolve your differences amicably – perhaps the work could be done again for free, or you might agree a price reduction. If you have reached a deadlock, contact the LETS co-ordinator who will attempt to mediate. Please note though, that goods and services offered through LETS are in no way guaranteed or vetted by the coordinator or other organisers.
As a guide, σ1 = £1
We suggest an egalitarian hourly rate of 10 σ/hour for all services, so that a gardener would be paid the same as an accountant, for example. However, members are free to negotiate different rates.
The customer will pay you an hourly rate or agreed sum for the work in framlings. The sterling cost of materials will be paid for by the customer. You should be clear about these arrangements at the start so there are no nast surprises!
For example, if you bake a birthday cake for another member, you would charge for your time in framlings, and make an additional charge in sterling for the ingredients, and possibly also the cost of fuelling your cooker. Likewise if you give someone a lift to the station, you may wish to agree a cash payment for petrol.