Re: Contract rates

Subject: Re: Contract rates
From: beelia <beelia -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Caroline Leopold <caroline -dot- leopold -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 30 May 2013 18:54:59 -0700

Caroline,

Looks like salaries in your area (East Coast?) are about equivalent to SV,
but you do have a great specialty. The highest contract salary for a tech
writer in this area that I have heard of was $100/hr., but that was for
someone who had a specialty and was irreplaceable, and in a very long-term
position.

Low end, and very common, in Silicon Valley is $35/50/hr. High seems to be
$70-80, but they are for specialties, and there aren't many of those gigs
around. I know that developer documentation (APIs, SDKs) pays more, but I'm
not sure how much more. That's why I'm learning programming.

In my experience in the last couple of years, I've found that the standard
annual rate for a senior writer here seems to be $100 to 120K, but those in
long-term technical positions in big companies is closer to $125-150K.
Check out GlassDoor or the STC Salary Database for more info.

But what interests me most about contract work, and what I really don't
know since I haven't done it in a long time, is the percentage paid to
contract agencies. In the early 90s (I was in SoCal in aerospace) it was
about 15%; but now I think it must be much, much more. And back then, that
14-15% included benefits.

Similarly, does anyone know about what the recruiter's fee is? There are so
many popping up now, it must be considerable.

Bee




On Thu, May 30, 2013 at 5:26 PM, Caroline Leopold <
caroline -dot- leopold -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

> Pricing has a lot to do with confidence to secure business. I used the
> Freelance
> Switch Calculator <http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/> at first to
> determine
> how much I needed to live. Because my cost of living is so low, I was able
> to easily live off $55 per hour. But the calculator didn't account for
> taxes, so the rate was probably not sustainable.
>
> In the end, I set a price that I felt was professional, but not outrageous.
> My rate is $70 an hour, although I usually charge by project so the hourly
> rate varies. I started out accepting work as low as $35-$40 an hour, but
> ended up terminating those assignments after I got sick of killing myself
> for relatively low pay.
>
> I'm not a tech writer, but rather a proposal writer. But the rates among
> tech writing and grant writing are somewhat equivalent. I know of peers,
> who charge $150 an hour, but I'm not one of those fancy consultants, who
> have offices, staff, and charge through the roof. I'm a run-of-the-mill
> writer, who happens to love writing more than delegating and acting
> important.
>
> Leaving the office world has been the best thing I have ever done. But I
> had no choice, as there's a glass ceiling in my profession. I did try to
> ask for a title promotion and raise, but my bosses said no and said I could
> leave if I wasn't happy. I'm so glad they were rude and dismissive. They
> gave me the push I needed.
>
> 18 months in and still pinching myself. And trust me, I'm just a regular
> person, not some genius or charismatic superstar.
>
> I don't know if this helps, but I thought I'd chip in my two cents.
>
> -Caroline
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> On Thu, May 30, 2013 at 3:58 PM, Evelyn Lee Barney <evbarney -at- comcast -dot- net
> >wrote:
>
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Well, of course, Gene - the question is - how to you get a starting idea
> > what that may be? Punt?
> >
> >
> > Ev
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > The only standard is what all of your competitors are willing to take to
> > do the same work.
> >
> > Gene Kim-Eng
> >
> >
> > On 5/30/2013 12:09 PM, beelia wrote:
> > > Also, since I'm starting contracting again, I have to set my rate. I
> > > remember someone on this list had a great formula for figuring out what
> > to
> > > charge, considering your direct rate, your estimate of what you have to
> > > include for benefits, taxes, etc.
> > >
> > > Of course, rates vary significantly by location. I'm in Silicon Valley,
> > and
> > > I have a rough idea already. So I'm excluding that variable.
> > >
> > > Anybody have some wisdom to impart?
> >
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>
> --
> Caroline Leopold
> Grants Consultant & Medical Writer
> http://www.leopoldwriting.com
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Re: Contract rates: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: Contract rates: From: Evelyn Lee Barney
Re: Contract rates: From: Caroline Leopold

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