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: "Michael L. Wyland" <michael -at- sumptionandwyland -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2011 12:18:14 -0400

Thanks, Michael, that is really good advice. And thanks to all other contributors too.

I took some of the great advice and just set a rate, and received back a "lol" and the info that she will meet that for CMMI appraiser work (at least 2 1/2 weeks of it this fall) and that the company is paying 1099 programmers $55 - 80 an hour. Of course, I know that most of the programmers are H-1 Visa immigrants, living in Taiwan, or are fresh college graduates! Anyway, it all boils down to I am going to offer $15 less for other work, the "best and final offer" she asks for, within seconds from now. Wish me luck.

BTW, google "1099 Calculator" and you will find at least one helpful tool:

Mark D. Filiatreau
Pyramid Systems, Inc.   
9302 Lee Highway, Suite 1200, Fairfax, VA 22031
O: 703-553-0800 x179.  F: 703-553-8444
C: 571-275-2659

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael L. Wyland [mailto:michael -at- sumptionandwyland -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 11:54 AM
To: Mark Filiatreau; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: What's a good freelance rate for technical writers?


You've received a lot of really good advice.

There are three ways to price your services. One is to figure out
what how much money you need to earn in order to live and meet your
personal and family goals. This would include identifying business
expenses, cost of benefits, PTO (if you want any kind of paid time
off, *you* have to pay for it! <g>), non-revenue business time
(administration, marketing, education/professional development,
networking, product development, etc.), and other expenses. Then
figure out how many hours a day/week/month you wish to work.

Another way is to look at the competitive environment and determine
what the market says the work is worth. Then determine a business
model that would support that market-based compensation range.

The third way is the most difficult and the most profitable. That
way is to price your services based on their value to the client,
regardless of your costs or the prevailing market. For more on
value-based fees, Google the search term "value-based fees" or look
at the books written by Alan Weiss.

One good rule of thumb is that a contractor needs to bill at a rate
2-3 times the prevailing base salary for the work to be
performed. So, $40 an hour base salary should be billed at $80-$120
an hour by an independent contractor seeking to have the same
after-tax income as the employee.

One caution: an independent contractor with only one client may be
regarded by the IRS and US Labor Department as an employee, which is
bad news for the contracting organization/employer. See the
following web page for a description of the independent contractor test:

Michael L. Wyland
Sumption & Wyland
818 South Hawthorne Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57104-4537
(605) 336-0244
(605) 336-0275 (FAX)
(888) 4-SUMPTION (toll-free)
michael -at- sumptionandwyland -dot- com

Since 1990
Strategic Planning * Executive Coaching * Training & Facilitation

-- NEW Web site:
-- LinkedIn Profile --


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What's a good freelance rate for technical writers?: From: Mark Filiatreau

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