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Would you tell me if it's correct and natural to say where are you at on the rate when you want to know how much someone will pay for your service? For example:

I can fix your car, so where are you on the rate?

I've definitely heard people say it, but not sure if it is natural? Whether that's natural or not, what would you say?

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  • Where have you heard people say this (geographically)? Jan 12 at 19:29
  • I've heard it from people from United States Jan 12 at 19:50
  • It's natural, but I think uncommon unless the rate was already discussed.. Usually people prefer cost or price. Jan 12 at 19:56
  • It's common in the UK too, to ask (in spoken English) 'where are you on [something]?' meaning, variously, 'what is your position on... ?', 'what is your opinion on... ?', 'what progress have you made on...?' etc. What I find odd about the example is that I am used to professionals who charge for their time telling me what their rate is, and waiting for me to tell them whether I accept or not. The idea of them asking me what I am willing to pay is very unusual. Jan 12 at 19:59
  • @FeliniusRex - the lady who decorated part of our house provided a 'quotation' of time required at a rate of £20 per hour, and, in addition, the cost of materials needed. The total being the price for the job. I had to agree this in writing before she would start work. Her estimation of materials was very accurate because I was left with half a can of paint which was mine to keep. Jan 12 at 20:03

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No, it isn't natural at all.

If the business involved a choice of products or services that were on a sliding scale of cost, a tradesperson might ask a customer what their budget is, and then quote them the options that were within their price range, but we would not call that a 'rate'. A 'rate' is normally an hourly, or daily rate for labour, or some other task-specific 'fixed rate'. A tradesperson sets their own 'rate'. Some may be somewhat open to negotiation on price, but it would not be common to ask a potential customer how they feel about the 'rate', because that is unlikely to change. For example, if a tradesperson was quoting someone to supply and fit a new kitchen, they might help the customer select fixtures and fittings within their budget, but the fitter's 'rate' for labour would likely be the same whether the customer chose a cheaper or a more expensive product. With your example of repairing a car, I can't imagine that there would be options - a specific part, or parts would be needed, and the work to fit them would likely be priced based on the estimated time involved at their fixed rate.

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  • If a person claiming to be a tradesperson asked me how I felt about their rate, I think I would back out hastily from the discussion because they would sound like an amateur. Jan 13 at 22:59

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