Re: TECHWR-L Digest - 24 Apr 1995 to 25 Apr 1995

Subject: Re: TECHWR-L Digest - 24 Apr 1995 to 25 Apr 1995
From: Jan Stetson <jks -at- CONCENTRA -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 1995 12:06:22 +0500

Date: Tue, 25 Apr 1995 09:51:23 EDT
From: Barry West <Barry_West -dot- S2K -at- S2KEXT -dot- S2K -dot- COM>
Subject: Tech writer contract rates

Robert Plamondon wrote

>I hope you were overpaid as an employee, because this is a great way
>to go broke.

>Amen Robert

>Adding 25% onto a full-time salary may seem reasonable, but for the very
>reasons Robert pointed out, an experienced Technical Writer would be doing him
>or herself a disservice calculating an hourly rate that way. For example, if
>you are at a level that commands $42,000.00 in a full-time position ($21.88 per
>hour), with benefits, you should be trying to get $35.00 to $40.00 an hour
>contracting. Remember, you have to pay Uncle Sam 15% of that, 7% more than you
>do as a full-time employee. When I was contracting (Northeast region/12 years
>experience), I was charging $45.00 to $54.00 per hour as an independent
>contractor, depending on the situation. Obviously, there are always reason why
>you might have to work for less. If, for example, you go through a contracting
>agency, 25% is probably the best you'll do because the agency has to get their
>cut (which is why I don't use them). But for an experienced Tech Writer, in a
>reasonable economy, you should be looking at more than 25% over your full-time
>hourly rate. Afterall, a good Tech Writer is worth it.

I'm no tax expert, but I believe that if you go through an agency, you
do not pay the 7% self employment tax (employers portion of SS -- as
you are your own employer). Going through an agency, you are "1040",
employed by the agency, which takes out witholding. You don't pay the
added 7% SS tax, but you also can't deduct as business expenses
staples, paperclips and the cost of a new computer. Going in on your
own, you pay the 7%, and can deduct business espenses.

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