A local job or working over the mountain?
Several of my clients mentioned that they found a potentially good employee but they could not offer the level of wages paid ‘over the mountain’ (which stands for Northern Virginia wages). Or they have a good employee that is considering to leave because of the better salaries offered in Northern Virginia.
That the wages over there are higher is certainly true. But there is a price to pay. Cost of living in Northern Virginia is significantly higher, and if you are considering the grueling commute, consider this as well:
The added Fuel + wear and tear + more expensive insurance (not to mention risks of being in traffic) will cost you more than you think… For example:
- Gas, at $3.50 per 35 miles (assuming 35MPG), is 10 cents/mile
- Tires, at $300 per 50,000 miles are 0.6 cents
- Oil, at $25 per 5,000 miles is 0.5 cents
- Miscellaneous things like wipers and occasional maintenance visits: $200 per 20,000 miles = 1 cent
Thus it is estimated that it costs for each mile you live from work about $795 per year from you in commuting costs. So adding 40 miles in commute is close to adding $30,000 in expenses. And that is ignoring the fact that those who commute will often drive a more expensive car, for the added comfort and safety.
That was only the financial side, now the aspect of time:
If you do not commute, you save about 2 hours a day, that is 25% more personal time during the workweek!
- sleep 7 hours, work and travel is 9+ hours, so the remaining personal hours are either 8 (not commuting) or 6 (commuting)
Another way of looking at it: Being away from home for the 10 hours of extra commute a week, is like having a 6 day workweek…
That leads to the crucial question:
Is the added income worth more than the over $30,000 in extra expenses, and losing 25% of your personal time during the workweek?
Ask this to your (potential) employee the next time you are confronted with this situation.