Off-topic: Freelance Contractors

Subject: Off-topic: Freelance Contractors
From: Alisa Dean <Alisa -dot- Dean -at- MCI -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 2 Dec 1996 11:22:00 -0700

On November 25, 1996, Danna Cardwell writes:

> As an editor, I edit the work of both employees and contract writers.
> Editing is, by nature, an instructional process. By telling the
> contractors how to write to meet our standards, am I crossing the
> line?

Good grief, no! The purpose of hiring a freelance writer is to create
documentation that you can use. I been a freelance writer, and hired
a freelance writer. I had very specific requirements that had to be
met. During my interviews, I indicated that I will be setting the
standards, and will be changing the material that they will create
if I deemed it necessary to satisfy my requirements. No one had a
problem with this, since this is expected. Having been a freelance
writer, I expect specific requirements from my clients so that I can
more closely meet their needs. It can be frustrating to have to keep
guessing what the client wants, and then having to redo it multiple
times because there was no communication.

If a freelancer refused to allow you to set your own standards, or
got huffy because you decided to change their material (of course,
assuming you know what you are doing), then this freelancer is not
a very good contractor.

Also, if the freelancer is working at your site or a client site, it
is to be expected that the freelancer will conform with the dress code
and cultural requirements of the site. These should be specified before
any contract is signed. If the freelancer had difficulty with this,
then you may need to reconsider whether this person will be a good
fit with the rest of your team.

You are the one paying the freelancer. You have the right to expect
to receive what you require, if you communicate it to the freelancer.

Alisa Dean
Sr. Technical Writer
alisa -dot- dean -at- mci -dot- com

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