Re: Tests and Tire Kickers

Subject: Re: Tests and Tire Kickers
From: Beth Agnew <bagnew -at- INSYSTEMS -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 27 Mar 1998 12:35:54 -0500

John Posada [john -at- TDANDW -dot- COM] wrote:
> Hey...I'd be happy to spend 5-6 hours in a room writing the material.
> And the last five minutes of that period of time will used to write my
> bill for $300 (6 hours @ $50/hr).
> I stopped writing anything for free quite a long time ago.

I'm with John. I don't "audition" any more. My work speaks for itself.

Most recently (prior to InSystems) I've had to deal more with "tire
smaller companies who wanted me to give them a free education about
manuals, publications management, multimedia, CBT, web development,
or whatever, under the guise of investigating my services. So now, like
lawyers and accountants, I offer a short period of initial consulting,
anything beyond that the client must pay for.

I'd like to caution those who have come into the profession more
however, and who may be looking for their first jobs as independents.
There are scads of individuals and companies who will ask you to
perform unpaid work on the promise of "If it's good, we'll hire you" or
"If we get the contract, we'll hire you as the writer, and in the
it'll be good for your portfolio". Be very careful in these situations.
I have
spoken to too many writers who were burned in such circumstances.

You _may_ want to take the chance, if it's a potentially good deal, or
if you'd be just as happy to do the work for free anyway. Just do it
with your eyes open, being aware that it might be a waste of time.


Beth Agnew
Senior Technical Writer, InSystems Technologies Inc.
65 Allstate Parkway, Suite 100 Tel: (905) 513-1400 ext. 280
Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 9X1 Fax: (905) 513-1419
mailto:bagnew -at- insystems -dot- com Visit us at:

See my friendly face at:

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