RE: What's a good freelance rate for technical writers?

Subject: RE: What's a good freelance rate for technical writers?
From: "Mark Filiatreau" <mfiliatreau -at- psi-it -dot- com>
To: "Connie Giordano" <connie -at- therightwordz -dot- com>, "Pro TechWriter" <pro -dot- techwriter -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 2011 16:52:08 -0400

Connie,

Thanks very much for this great advice. And thanks to the other
contributors, too.

I will not need benefits like health insurance -- I mentioned that but
Margaret snipped it from her reply--because our family will be covered
by my wife's employer's plan.

Mark D. Filiatreau


-----Original Message-----
From: Connie Giordano [mailto:connie -at- therightwordz -dot- com]
Sent: Monday, September 12, 2011 4:48 PM
To: 'Pro TechWriter'; Mark Filiatreau
Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: What's a good freelance rate for technical writers?

Mark,

If you're planning to be an independent freelancer, find yourself three
professionals who charge reasonable rates: an accountant, a lawyer and
an
insurance agent. Have your lawyer review the work agreement with your
soon-to-be former employer. Talk to your accountant about what you
should
do regarding your tax situation.

Lawyer and accountant go almost without saying, a good insurance agent
can
do wonders as well. Over the past 15 years, the number companies that
pay
any part of insurance benefits has dropped significantly. As a result,
when
my last w2 gig ended, my Cobra insurance payments were EXACTLY THE SAME
as
when I was employed. The big problem I found was in going from group
coverage to individual coverage, not COBRA. Of course YMMV. Find an
independent agent who specializes in small business--they understand the
challenges, and will work with you to find rates and coverages you can
actually live with. Consider incorporating as an LLC to see if you can
get
a group of one health insurance policy, if individual coverage is too
high
(after being diagnosed with a condition that now appears in all my
health
records, I cannot get individual coverage. Group of one was expensive,
but
at least it was coverage. ) And remember, if you're in the US a lot of
your
insurance requirements will change over the next 24 months, so find
somebody
willing to stay on top of it.

Depending on your level of experience, and the scope of work you being
asked
to do, you may be able to get a higher rate. I have done contract work
in
the past for DC area clients, and have been told that my rate, which is
very
high for Charlotte, is seriously below market for DC. Thus I learned the
lesson to base your rate on experience, scope, and market. You've
gotten a
lot of other good suggestions (especially the quick pay discount!)
Welcome
to independent contracting and good luck!

Connie

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+connie=therightwordz -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+connie=therightwordz -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Pro TechWriter
Sent: Monday, September 12, 2011 3:45 PM
To: Mark Filiatreau
Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: What's a good freelance rate for technical writers?

I would charge around $68 an hour, with a discount off the total invoice
if
paid in 15 days. I used to give around a 2% discount for a quick pay.

You will want to stipulate up front that your invoices must be paid in
30
days, but 15 days would be best. If they don't pay in 30 days, stop
work.
Many government contractors will assume that they can pay you in 90
days,
which just won't work for a small business.

Dont' forget that insurance will be much more expensive than with an
employer. Even if you get a discounted rate through STC or another
organization.

Good luck,
PT

On Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 1:27 PM, Mark Filiatreau
<mfiliatreau -at- psi-it -dot- com>wrote:

> It will be 1099.
> Thanks, Margaret, that's the kind of info I'm looking for.
>
> Mark D. Filiatreau
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Margaret Cekis [mailto:Margaret -dot- Cekis -at- comcast -dot- net]
> Sent: Monday, September 12, 2011 2:22 PM
> To: Mark Filiatreau; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: RE: What's a good freelance rate for technical writers?
>
> Mark Filiatreau asked, "What's a good freelance rate for technical
> writers?
> ...in a place like the hyper-expensive Washington, DC, area?... my
> company has already asked me to be available as a contractor on an
> as-needed basis.
> I was asked, "What's your rate?"...My "gross rate" on my paycheck is
> about $40/hour,
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> Mark:
> Will it be on a W-2 or a 1099 contract? If it is a W-2, the company
> will pay half your FICA and Medicare taxes, and you will be covered by

> unemployment insurance. The company can/will withhold funds toward
> your Federal, State and municipal income tax, if applicable. If it is
> a 1099, you will have to pay all of the FICA and Medicare taxes, you
> will not be covered by unemployment, and you will have to file
> quarterly estimated US income taxes to the IRS. This makes a big
> difference in the rate you should charge.
> For a
> W-2, I'd up my hourly salary by 35-50%, or ask for $55-60. If it is a
> 1099, I'd double it, or ask for at least $75-80.
> Margaret Cekis, Johns Creek GA



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Follow-Ups:

References:
What's a good freelance rate for technical writers?: From: Mark Filiatreau
RE: What's a good freelance rate for technical writers?: From: Margaret Cekis
RE: What's a good freelance rate for technical writers?: From: Mark Filiatreau
Re: What's a good freelance rate for technical writers?: From: Pro TechWriter
RE: What's a good freelance rate for technical writers?: From: Connie Giordano

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