Re: Help with pricing a freelance RoboHELP project

Subject: Re: Help with pricing a freelance RoboHELP project
From: "Martin, Chuck" <chuckm -at- EVOLVESOFTWARE -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 1997 10:07:59 -0800

A few years ago, when I hit the employment rounds after a layoff, I was
told by one recruiter that WinHelp knowledge/experience would add about
$5 to a per-hour rate. I am not sure that knowledge of a particular tool
would add to that. However, tool knowledge *will* reduce the hours
you'll spend working on the project.

If you're wondering about an hourly rate, well, it depends on where you
live. As a relatively successful rule of thumb, I have found that an
approximate hourly rate should be the amount in thousands that you make
as a staff writer for similar work. For example, if you're in the
midwest and pulling in $40,000 annually for that sort of work, then a
reasonable hourly rate would be $40/hour.

As far as time estimates, I usually see about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours per
topic. But that also depends on the type of topics. Earlier this year I
completed a 400-topic Help file for a product in about 5 weeks (of 50-60
hour weeks). But 1/2 to 2/3 of those topics were small,
context-sensitive topics: less content but more work in programming and

For a great book that details the process and gives some good metrics,
I'd suggest finding a copy of "Managing Your Documentation Projects," by
JoAnn Hackos.

On Tuesday, December 09, 1997 9:30 AM, cyd dunning
[SMTP:c_dunning -at- HOTMAIL -dot- COM] wrote:
> I'm a full-time tech writer, not a freelance writer, but I have the
> opportunity to do a freelance RoboHELP project for a former employer.
> used to be their lone tech writer, and now they have none. (It's a
> story.)
> I'm not sure what to charge them. I tend to underestimate my worth, so
> thought I'd check with the knowledge base here. Here's some of the
> particulars:
> * I don't own a copy of RoboHELP, but they'll provide one.
> * I'm familiar with RoboHELP, but I've never completed an entire
> (mapping files, etc.).
> * I intend to work on this project on weekends, evenings, and possibly
> one work day per week.
> * I'm familiar with their product and the programmers, but this is a
> software program.
> * They want to pay on a per/hour basis and I'm not sure how to
> the time or what to charge per hour.

"You don't look American."
"Everyone looks American, because Americans are from everywhere."

- Doonesbury
Chuck Martin, Technical Writer
Evolve Software | Personal
chuckm -at- evolvesoftware -dot- com | writer -at- grin -dot- net |, or

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