The concept of a "barista exchange" has been out there for a while, and now that Matt has created this site to facilitate the process, I have a question that I haven't seen addressed yet.

How do you pay a visiting barista? You can't put them on payroll for a week. Do you pay them cash? Do their own shops pay them for the time spent in someone else's shop? Do they work for free just for the experience in a new city and shop?

What's the SOP here?

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I'm not an accountant but an option might be to pay the visitor as a contractor, not an employee. So the visitor could be contracted for $100/day for 5 days of work...Or something like that. That should be legit in most countries and it would then be up to the visitor to investigate and pay appropriate taxes to the country in which the cash was earned - just as it's up to the baristas to claim their tips on their income tax. Most likely is that the amount the visitor earned would fall beneath the amount that would customarily be taxed.

I mean maybe the notion of contracting is better than employing as it could leave the requisite paper trail for both parties if it ever came down to an audit.

But for sure, if you're travelling - and especially if you're travelling into the US from somewhere else - get insurance before you go. Many Canadians and Europeans have been ruined by getting sick in the states.
I did an exchange this past month in Japan, and the payment came as room and board. I stayed with the family that owned the shop and they fed me every meal. It was perfect, and more than I could have ever asked for. Before I left, I just saved up enough for peripheral expenses and it ended up as a flawless exchange. Note: there is no tipping in Japan, so the extra expense for the food and such seemed alright. Also, since I was only legally in the country for "tourism" it was impossible to put me on a payroll. This will obviously be different for domestic exchanges.
Now I know I suck. Scott didn't even offer to put me behind bar when I was in Milwaukee. Wow, I'm inconsolably hurt. :-(

j/k, I do suck.
I do like the idea of Non-Lethal amounts of beer.
For me, the problem is not only the payment for my remaining in that country, but also the adjustment of the machines. If the machines are not in the proper condition in my understanding, do they agree with me to adjust them? Otherwise, I simply cannot do it well.
I am new to the business but we recently had a "visiting" barista who spent about 3 weeks with us before moving on to El Beit. On a regular basis my solution might not be practical but we paid our visiting barista as a "professional/consulting fee" . this did not require putting him on the payroll but allowed us to pay him and keep it legit. I think while this worked for us in this situation it may not always work.
If you gave me a bottle of good whiskey, some free coffee, and a couch, I'd be down for pretty much anything.

... you could even scrap the whiskey for a good 6 pack.
... or a pouch of Bali Shag.
Really, when I say I'm down, I'm DOWN.
I might just have to buy you a beer and throw you behind the bar this Friday. It's been a while since you've hung out with J-jr.
So I had an Idea that was very similar to BX about two years ago. With an industry such as the cafe biz, you are left with a surplus of individuals who are trained to work in very similar environments. It would be amazing to set up a co-op that included both a job and housing. It is not out of the question to assume that a successful cafe would be able to generate enough profit to both house its employees in at least as much comfort as the majority of us are used to and pay for the administration of such a space.
If such a job/housing link was established it would be very easy for the employees of such an establishment to arrange for "exchanges" to different branches. The fact that housing and possibly food would be payed for would also and that it could all be for the same company would make payroll complications very easy to deal with.
Now this is obviously a giant hypothetical dream, but it is fun to think about. One problem is it takes out the excitement of working on a part time basis for a completely new establishment.
I gotta say that if you had a couch and lethal amounts of beer, I would probably save up and make the trip. Sounds like a good time and who doesn't enjoy good fellow barista fun. I think I'd be down for that at my shop actually.

Dan Griffin said:
i would pay them in cash or not at all. the times that i have guest bearistaed it was either cash or goodwill. but if you didn't want to pay im sure you could work out some other sort of deal. things such as room and board. beer, you could give them lethal amounts of beer.

but when it comes down to it, to make this really really work, money will probably need to be involved. your average barista doesn't make enough to run off and make coffee just for the hell of it.
Payments of less than US$600 are legitimate in the US without a 1099. For a weeks visit along with accommodations or meals this legal limit should allow lots of options. This is a neat idea for young baristas to enjoy travel and develop a network of peers.
I have to say, the shop that hosts a barista is doing the barista a favor as much as the opposite is true. You are broadening your experience and learning the whole time. To expect to be paid just like every other barista t that shop is asking a lot. The shop has to set you up, trust that you will do a good job, and shaft one of it's loyal employees out of a shift. I think that putting you up is payment enough in most cases, and if you can't afford it then it is not the shop that you want to visit that is responsible for that.

my 2 cents,

although I would love to tour around and get paid along the way. It just doesn't seem like the appropriate arrangement.

man if I could only spell.

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