Re: What's a good freelance rate for technical writers?
...in a place like the hyper-expensive Washington, DC, area?
I am quitting my full-time tech writing job, but my company has already
asked me to be available as a contractor on an as-needed basis. I was
asked, "What's your rate?"
I won't be needing benefits any more. My "gross rate" on my paycheck is
about $40/hour, but of course, since we are a Federal govt. contractor,
the govt. has been paying my company much more than that. How much, I
don't know. I don't do just tech writing but also some Quality
Assurance work and training in topics like QA and business
Recruiters take about 40% of what they bill the client. Working as a contractor, you assume the overhead for running your "business" that was previously assumed by your employer. It can seem as though running would not cost very much, but costs run up quickly with benefits, taxes, management of your business, like scheduling, finances, and communication, eat up your income very quickly.
How much the contractor was charging depends on what schedule contract was used for your job. The contractor could have billed $65-99 per hour for your job. You likely will not get the full scheduled rate for your job, but you could conceivably split the difference and still be in the market. If having the job is not that important to you or if your employer really, really wants you, then shoot for the full rate.
The schedule contracts are here, http://www.gsaelibrary.gsa.gov/ElibMain/home.do.
Without knowing the scheduled rate, I would create a bill rate that give me my hourly rate and 40% overhead, so I would bill $67 for a $40 per hour job. There is a great schedule of rates in the archives from Gene, but the market is not a liberal with the rates as it used to be, so people need to make adjustments for that.
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