Back To Career News

Negotiating Salary? Don’t Forget to Factor in Your Commute


When PayScale calculates salary and compensation for a given position, we always include commuting in our numbers. That’s because, in addition to providing you with new opportunities to try out your favorite cusswords, commuting is a significant cost — one that can affect your take-home pay more than you think.

Over at the Simple Dollar (via Lifehacker), Trent offers an explanation of how this works, using the example of his friend who works at Home Depot, earns $8 an hour after taxes, and drives about ten miles each way to work five days a week.

Trent includes gas, oil, insurance, wear and tear on her tires and car, and the worth of her time. The breakdown looks like this:

… if we ignore her commute entirely, a given day sees her working a seven hour shift and bringing home $8 per hour for that work, totaling $56.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

What happens when we include her commute? Out of that $56, she loses $2.80 to fuel, $0.20 to her tires, $0.10 to her oil, and $2.00 to her insurance. Her total goes down to $50.90. She also adds an hour of commute time, bumping her up to eight hours of work.

The commute alone drops her hourly take-home pay for her time away from home from $8 per hour to $6.30 per hour. That’s the reality of a commute.

So what does this mean for you? Well, it might mean that taking a job close to home that pays slightly less will earn you more cash in the long run. Regardless, it’s an important thing to add into your calculations when you’re estimating salary at a new job.

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear from you! How much does your commute cost? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter, using the hashtag #MakeItHappen.

More from PayScale

Can Shortening Your Commute Save Your Life? [infographic]

The Worst Places To Drive [infographic]

How Do You Commute to Work?

(Photo Credit: zouny/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Read more from Jen

Leave a Reply

Notify of
What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.