I am a mechanical engineer with a P.E. and decades of experience in varied automotive and machine design positions. For the last 7 years I've gone out on my own in private practice doing engineering, CAD, fabrication, prototyping (I have access to an awesome shop). For the last few months business has been very slow and I'm exploring going back to a "regular job" but it won't make me very happy if I do so. An intermediate solution has come up. I've been approached to take on a 6-8 month project working for an employer in another city. It would finish and I'd return to doing what I'm currently doing and by then hopefully my clients would have more for me to do for them. If I do this I'd be responsible for my own housing in this other city (Cleveland) and for transportation (a 3 hour drive). I've given the company a rate for my work (the standard rate I usually charge, which didn't seem to meet any resistance) but then the question arose what would be the hourly rate if housing were to be included. This is outside of my area of knowledge. How should I price housing and other costs associated with being in Cleveland for months and probably going home on the weekends (which they seemed to suggest many of their people do)? This seems to be a 40 hour / week organization.
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