More annoying requests for advice

Subject: More annoying requests for advice
From: Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 27 May 2008 15:19:59 -0700 (PDT)

Sorry about sending a blank message earlier; I
fat-fingered the keyboard.

I need to ask more but slightly different advice on
figuring pay rates. I have an offer from a possible
client who wants me to work directly, without a
contracting agency involved. He wants to know what I
would charge to deliver documents by the piece, or if
I would prefer to estimate work hours per piece and
bill those hours, or what.

The documents would mostly be user-level how-two
guides for performing actions in an inventory parts
control software. The UI is very complex and *very*
counter-intuitive. I was working on this system as a
contractor, and I found the complexity levels of the
user procedures can vary wildly. There can be several
branches in some procedures and sometimes there can be
very large amounts of background material that has to
be included so the user can understand what the
software is doing. So, it is pretty much impossible to
give a clean estimate of how long it would take to
develop any given user guide.

I think I need to include research time in any time
estimates. But what about factoring in time after I
finish the draft, for their review and possible
rewrites?

I've never before worked on any kind of freelance
basis and really have no idea how to proceed on
working out a billing scheme. In the past I've gotten
most of my work through contracting companies. Any
advice on how to figure what I would charge the
client, any pointers toward information sources on
that, would be much appreciate. (And I am in the
process of looking through the list archives for such
information.)

If I understand it correctly, it's common practice
that a contractor's pay is about 1/3 what the client
company pays the contracting company. Does that sound
correct?




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