Re: Writing Costs Worldwide

Subject: Re: Writing Costs Worldwide
From: Al Geist <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 15:08:52 -0800

Bonnie Granat wrote "If you are in a developed country, you cannot compete with offshoring. It just cannot be done. Technical writers in developing countries are paid peanuts. That's why the phenomenon exists."

John Leer wrote "As far as competing with outsourced writing, there is always a way. As an independent contractor, you need to know what you're up against and be creative to add value or other sources for the disparate income rate.

Both Bonnie and John are correct to a point. It is impossible to compete on price when offshore rates are a quarter of US rates. Employers answer to shareholders and most shareholders really don't give a rip about us being priced out of the market. That's one of the downsides of globalization. And, unless we add value to our product, we are going to loose every time.

But it's hard to add value when the documentation manager's budget is cut to the bone without an associated drop in product inventory AND he/she is bombarded by offshore companies offering to do the SAME job we are bidding on for a fraction of the cost. There are limits to how much value we can add. After all, our off shore competitors often have the same equipment, programs and education as we do. So what if English is their second language. They can always hire a cheap translator and nobody reads the stuff anyway.

It makes it even more difficult when (as Susan Gallagher pointed out in a "60 Minutes" spot) even those coveted government contracts are no longer safe from off shoring. One segment of that program showed showed offshore employees working on U.S. Income Tax Returns. If they are qualified to do our taxes, then nothing is sacred.

Can we survive? Yep, but to do so we have to quite whining and get as aggressive as those offshore companies. The only other alternative is becoming a greeter at Walmart....."Hi, welcome to Walmart. How may I help you?" It pays the same as those off shore companies and has about the same benefits.


Al Geist, Geist Associates
From Concept to Completion
Technical Writing, Publishing, Video, Web Design, Graphic Arts
(Office) 541-471-8800 (Cell) 541-218-1252 al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com <mailto:al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
"When the situation is absolutely hopeless, you have nothing to worry about."
Compliments of The Monkey Wrench Gang


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