newbie alert! rates for contract work

Subject: newbie alert! rates for contract work
From: Alexander Von_obert <avobert -at- TWH -dot- MSN -dot- SUB -dot- ORG>
Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 16:36:00 LCL

Hello David,

* Antwort auf eine Nachricht von david s. broudy an All am 07.09.95

ds> I was a full-time tech writer for three years but I've never
ds> done contract work.

This gives you a good basis for starting freelancing.

ds> I have the opportunity to write a software manual on a
ds> contract
ds> basis *and I have no idea what or how to charge*

For sound calculations, you should remember what you earned before and what
you think you would be worth now. Then add the following:

50% because you must do work noone will pay (writing anything from proposals
to bills, visiting prospective customers, seminars...)

xxx$ for the equipment ypui need, the room you work from and so on.

Perhaps 10% profit that your employer took before and you should take for
taking the full risk of your enterprize.

ds> and I'm meeting with the
ds> client *tomorrow*! So, yes, I'm a bit anxious.

So this message will not help you for that, but perhaps we can start an
interesting thread here.

ds> Just for the writing, I
ds> estimate 25 hours. If they want me to do the layout as well,
ds> that'd be
ds> another 20 (I'm currently a layout designer full-time; this
ds> will be moonlighting).

So it should pay you at least 1/3 of your present monthly income.

ds> Here's my question: should I charge by the hour, or offer a
ds> flat rate based upon my estimate of the number of hours?

I do it one of these ways or quite differently, just depending on the job. If
you offer a flat rate, you should enshure somehow that your customer remains
cooperative and interested in finishing the job fast. E.g., I include a fixed
number of visits to the customer and offer a rate for every visit needed
beyond. This keeps the people there prepared :-)

ds> I am thinking that $25 per
ds> hour is reasonable but I might be way off.

45h x $25/h = $1125. Do you earn more that $3000 a month?

ds> A friend in Virginia told me
ds> that she charges $20, so I'm adjusting it upward a bit.

That is one way to check your own calculations, but you could go bankrupt that

ds> Is there a rate guide, similar to what graphic designers have,
ds> for technical writers?

My jobs are too wide-spread than that could help. But be aware, that I live in
Germany and there are a few things different over here.

ds> I'm worried about blowing the deal with inappropriate rates.

That might happen and will shurely happen from time to time. But I prefer to
work for a living and not work for the work's sake.

Greetings from Germany,

|Fidonet: Alexander Von_obert 2:2490/1719
|Internet: avobert -at- twh -dot- msn -dot- sub -dot- org

| Standard disclaimer: The views of this user are strictly his own.
| From TechWriter's Home, Nuernberg Germany
| phone 49+911+591530, FIDOnet 2:2490/1719

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