[hackerspaces] question about hackerspace hourly rate, what do you think

Florencia Edwards floev22 at gmail.com
Thu Dec 19 21:31:05 CET 2013

Thanks dave for your answer . Alan, I agree on the community, but i'm
thinking this hour rates for a virtual community we have but don't have the
money to spend on a whole month in the makerspace, but for sure would do it
if it was for hours (less money and time).  to use some tools. So the
community exists, we have  a forum  and we are friends, but they just don't
have the money. I don't know what to do to include them

2013/12/19 Alan Fay <emptyset at freesideatlanta.org>

> There seem to be a lot of problems, if you're considering charging hourly
> rates.
> First, having paid staff is really difficult for a hackerspace to
> maintain.  I have heard of only a handful of spaces that have staff (only
> Boston's Artisan's Asylum comes to mind).  Do you really need staff?  Can
> you convert some or all positions to volunteer?  At Freeside, about 10% of
> our membership is in some volunteer staff capacity, and we also encourage
> all members to play their part in keeping the space clean and organized.
> Second, is your space more geared towards providing services, or building
> a community?  If you build a strong community, then your members will
> support your space.  If you provide services, then folks that use the space
> will feel like consumers, and not take responsibility for the tools, and
> not feel the need to contribute.  Community needs to be first and foremost
> - sometimes I feel it's all the hackerspace has, really.
> Third, you should only be spending money on rent and utilities - if you've
> just started.  Members should provide or donate time, money, equipment,
> materials, consumables, etc. - it's much easier if a strong community is
> built first.  Most hackerspaces I've read about spend at least several
> months meeting together in bars or public spaces before going in on a
> hackerspace.
> Fourth, I think charging an hourly rate is a huge mistake.  You will solve
> the problem of people not wanting to stop by just to tinker on
> something...but you'll destroy any hope to build a community.  How do you
> enforce this, too?  It sounds expensive to figure out a good system to
> track that.
> Fifth, are you open to the public more than once a week?  If you're
> continuously open to the public, not only is that expensive in terms of
> staff and utilities, but it also calls for very different strategies of
> managing a shared space like this.  At Freeside's open house, we
> occasionally do get a "taker" or two that will show up, but they don't tend
> to stick around - even if they did, they're only allowed at the weekly open
> house (no member keeps folks like that around, either).
> Sixth, you should investigate if the monthly rate is priced appropriately.
>  There could be other reasons why people don't want to pay, other than just
> price alone.  If your space is open to the public most nights, why pay for
> access?  If you don't have sufficient square footage for projects, or
> sufficient equipment, the value might not justify the cost.  One other
> thing to keep in mind is that you can't expect all visitors to seek
> membership or pay anything.  Freeside, on its best months, retains about
> 1-2% of visitors as new members, on average.  I don't know how that
> compares to other spaces, but we feel great about this.  It might also go
> back to community - if there's no community, why would I support something
> I don't feel like I'm a part of?
> I wish you the best of luck - it would be terrible to have to close down a
> space!  I hope these questions offer you a good starting point, or least
> facilitates discussion with your leadership!
> On Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 2:23 PM, Florencia Edwards <floev22 at gmail.com>wrote:
>> So we want or makerspace to have more people daily, knowing the feel of
>> being here . Also we are losing money every day so if we don't do something
>> about it we'll have to close eventually. Some times people are't willing to
>> take from their pockets once a moth reasonable amount, that all together
>> seems a lot and hurts. It hurts more than giving two dollars a day,
>> something we don't even notice. Also a lot of people come here to sit in
>> and don't collaborate, don't give anything back to the space, don't pay the
>> membership. And staff wages are awful.
>> This is why I thought of the hourly rate, for people that can't pay for
>> the month and want to do small fixes or tweaks to their projects, so we can
>> have more people at the space, and people that sit in can contribute
>> hourly.  Do you think it could work or could it be even worse for the
>> hacker space and it's sustainability
>> Please help!
>> thanks
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