As I crunch some of the numbers I'm hearing from this thread and other threads concerning polishing, I've come to some interesting conclusions.
Most folks report that stripping and polishing the Airstream by yourself will take between 250 and 300 hours of labor. And apparently this labor ain't like knitting a sweater or folding laundry, it's hard and dirty work.
If I take the high estimate of $8000 and divide it by the high estimate of 300 hours of labor, that gives us $26.67 per hour. I view this as reasonable for good old fashioned sweaty hard work. On premium babysitting nights like new years eve, or Valentine's day, I've heard of $25 an hour for a babysitter. A rip off to be sure, but desperation and supply and demand can and does support such a going rate.
Other examples of hourly labor would be paying the neighbor kid $20-$30 to mow your lawn. If he only mows and doesn't trim weed, fertilize, or anything, he could easily do it in an hour. And for this we're talking about a 12 or 13 year old kid.