So has anyone else been feeling the pressure to lower their hourly rates?

Subject: So has anyone else been feeling the pressure to lower their hourly rates?
From: Lisa Skillern <lisaskil -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 2009 16:04:07 -0700 (PDT)

I know, I know... The economy stinks. And I totally understand that budgets are getting squeezed, but my mortgage isn't any cheaper than it was four years ago--the last time I raised my rates--and the work hasn't gotten any easier.

It's been a while since I've seen anything on this, so... just out of curiosity, what is the "going rate" for a seasoned technical writer? I hear from recruiters with jobs at rates that I consider ridiculous but I know that someone is going to fill them....
I've got my ROI pitch down: seasoned writers are more efficient than less experienced (read: cheaper) writers, etc, but when it comes down to it, there's no getting around the "so what is your rate" question. Even my existing clients are asking whether my rates are going down. (I feel like asking them whether they've had to take pay cuts: I suppose I'd consider one if I knew they had to as well.) I don't know whether to stay the course--because we all lose when rates go down--or whether I'm out of touch.

Is anyone else feeling the pressure, and how have you handled it?

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