TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: FWD: Learning time billable? From:Barb Philbrick <caslonsvcs -at- IBM -dot- NET> Date:Wed, 17 Feb 1999 23:52:19 GMT
My favorite answer: It depends.
Normally, I would bill for learning time. If they are hiring you, they
are hiring you "as is" unless they've specified differently. That
includes time spent learning the technology as needed to understand
the audience and to effectively write the document.
However, if you're taking the work to get into an industry that's over
your head, or need to learn a skill (like HTML coding) that would
normally be a part of a contractor's skill set, I wouldn't bill.
To clarify a little: As a contractor, I rarely come into a job with
the perfect background for the industry. I do come in with a strong
background in documentation and an ability to learn quickly.
Generally, if I don't think I can learn the industry well enough to do
a good job, I don't take the work. In some cases, I let the client
know where I'm at and negotiate to either learn on my own (if it seems
worthwhile to me), or have them help pay the way (if they're willing),
or something in the middle (I pay some, they pay some).
Hope this helps,
On Sat, 13 Feb 1999 06:52:17 -0700, you wrote:
>To give you some quick background info, in addition to my regular full-time
>techwritng job, a friend of mine has asked me to help him document his
>company's software. However since I don't have much experience in the type
>of technology that his company is related to, I have to research and learn
>about it. We agreed on an hourly rate before I started and my question is:
>Is the time that I spend learning billable?
Barbara Philbrick, Caslon Services Inc.
Technical Writing. caslonsvcs -at- ibm -dot- net