Let me orient both clients and service providers (drivers) about common, acceptable, and “appropriate” rates. Note that this is a guide only. For specific rates see descriptions of individual drivers.
The range of hourly rates
- $17-20 minimal for city driving, without long trips. At this rate you’ll get a driver who at best will understand basic English. No, he can’t be expected to translate, help you with keeping track of meetings, do information searches etc. Just “dumb driver”. Drivers of this category will often ask for $30-35/hour but will usually agree to $20-25.
- $25-30 per hour for an educated and employed person moonlighting as a driver. Enough English to explain when and where you need to go. Most drivers on my list will fall into this range. Usually a 3-4 hour minimum will apply however. With some luck you may get a capable assistant at this rate but don’t count on it.
- $50/hour for a VIP vehicle, usually supplied with “just a driver”
- Around $100 for a VIP vehicle with a driver capable of providing a full range of support services, including interpreting.
- No less than $150 for an 8 hour day. The average is around $250. Usually no more than $500 and only if work involves long distances or risk (eg. working with filming crews, especially those filming in sensitive locations or on controversial subjects, eg. residences of the extra rich or election fraud or at airports and military bases, from my personal recent experience).
When hiring a driver for the day the client provides meals. Fuel and car-related expenses are usually covered by the driver. If accommodation outside of Moscow is required it is usually client's responsibility to cover direct costs. If time to get to the client and back is considerable usually 1/2 of it is billed to the client. If the driver is required to do things that by their nature involve the risk of fines or other expenses, the client will usually pay these, eg. if you ask the driver to go off-road and the vehicle gets stuck, hiring a tractor to pull the vehicle out is client's responsibility. But if the driver gets stuck while driving on the shoulder of the road for no reason other than local road customs it is his fault and he pays whatever it takes to get the vehicle out of the ditch. If fines are a consequence of the driver not paying attention, then the driver pays fines/bribes. Let's say it is an easy ordinary situation and the driver runs a red light. Then it is his fault. If, of the other hand, he is required to act as an interpreter while driving or do something stressful, not easy to combine with keeping you safe on local roads, then it will be appropriate for the client to cover the cost of driver's mistakes. Hope this helps to avoid misunderstandings and disappointments. Feel free to ask me for my input.
“Per job” rates
- Airport transfers are average $50 from taxi companies now (2013) in an intense price war. Watch for extra charges: parking, waiting, per-minute fees for extra stops etc.
- $80-100 for a car and driver sent to meet you. This will be the driver’s main job of the day so he will be there on time and in no rush to get you to your destination. On your request and with some luck it will be a fluent English speaker capable of answering most of your Russia-related questions and giving you an overview of Moscow.
- The usual market rate is $1 per kilometer. Sometimes the trip back will be $0.5, eg. if going to Suzdal 250km away the total distance-based cost will be $250+$250/2=$375.
Distance and hour based amounts should not be far apart, and should not be much higher than quotes from taxi companies.
- If you are flexible and of course the right type of person look for those who need English convertation practice, and will avail their support entirely for free. See Free in Exchange for English.
- Look for people motivated to get out of their stuffy offices. While for a driver it is a job and he will expect to be paid in full, an office worker who enjoys a bit of flexibility will be happy to get out. The webmaster find himself in this situation during the dead season, usually from December to the beginning of May.
I PERSONALLY WANT $25/HR FOR NO-BRAINER JOBS, AND UP TO $50/HOUR FOR SITUATIONS THAT INVOLVE STRESS, RISK, OR MULTI-TASKING. MOST OUT-OF-TOWN ASSIGNMENTS ARE CONSIDERED “EASY”.