This is the second post in my “technical writing prices” series. Last time, I looked at how much technical writing costs. This time, I’ll explain why technical writing can be so expensive.
Here are 10 reasons to explain why freelance technical writers charge what seems to be a lot of money.
- Office costs and insurance
- Software and hardware
- Admin and marketing
- Client communications
- Editing and proofreading
Office costs and insurance.
Software and hardware.
But even that is small fry when compared with the costs of the hardware on which my little empire runs.
A rested freelancer is a happy freelancer.
A happy freelancer is a productive freelancer. A productive freelancer is someone you want on your team.
Payment protection insurance can help in some situations, but, of course, that’s another expense.
Admin and marketing.
(Hiring a writer who isn’t in touch with the latest developments in the field is a good way to waste your money.)
They will attend conference calls.
They will make site visits.
They will hold meetings with your product managers, support team and any other relevant stakeholders.
Although some travel expenses can be reclaimed, the whole process still takes up time and money.
Here’s some more about researching technical writing topics.
While attending an advanced software training workshop, I listened to an interesting exchange that went something like this:
Delegate: ‘I don’t think I’d charge anything if that [software process] took me only five minutes.’
Instructor: ‘Why? You’ve spent time and energy learning that skill. It might take someone else a week to find out how to do it. I’d charge full whack because the client is benefiting from my expertise. They’ve got a problem and I’m solving it for them. I’m just doing it quickly.’
Everyone got the message: we should value expertise and not be afraid to charge for it.
Editing and proofreading.
But this adds to the time taken to produce the content, and that adds to the price.
An alternative approach – one that I particularly favour – is for the writer to engage the services of a professional editorial consultant.
This is someone who can provide an independent review of the text before the client sees the final version.
So long as there aren’t any non-disclosure clauses preventing this sort of activity, seeking editorial help is the best way for technical writers to improve the accuracy and consistency of the content they produce.
And, you guessed it, this also adds to the cost of the job.
Let’s wrap up.
There are plenty of reasons to explain why freelance technical writing services can be so expensive.
Freelancers pay for their own setup and training. They’re responsible for their own marketing and accounts. They take on the many costs of doing business, and it’s only reasonable to expect that they reflect this in their charges.
Catch up with the other parts of this series here: