Technical writer contractors vs consultants

By January 13, 2011General

Many companies hire technical writer contractors on a temporary full time basis without realizing that there is another option: the technical writing consultancy firm. And Essential Instructions is proud to be one of just a handful of such firms operating in the Metro Vancouver area.

Hiring a consultancy has many benefits over hiring a full time contractor:

*Cost savings: with full time contractors you are paying by the hour regardless of productivity. We can tell you from years of experience that technical writing is seldom a contiguous process. It often involves waiting for modules to be programmed, documents to be reviewed etc. So why pay for someone to sit around during down times? With a consultancy you pay only for the work that gets done which results in costs savings for your project.

*The middle man-cut: finding a technical writer through a recruiting agency can save you a lot of time, but you could end up paying almost 3x more per hour for that technical writer than you should be. And since recruiting agencies are not technical writing experts, they may not have the knowledge required to understand your project’s unique requirements. With a consultancy you pay fair hourly rates based on industry standards for top quality technical writing expertise.

*Flexible service agreements and pricing: some projects are ongoing while others are close ended. A good consultancy will provide you with fixed price, pay as you go and longer term contract options. They will also work with you to determine the most cost effective solution.

*NDA and legal considerations: many organizations especially in hi-tech are unsure how to handle NDAs with consultants who may have multiple clients. A good consultancy will ensure that all client projects are handled with the utmost care to ensure your proprietary knowledge remains proprietary. In our case we have worked with numerous hi-tech organizations to ensure that even the strictest NDA requirements are met and this has worked out very well.

*Ongoing relationships: technical writer contractors come and go. Legally they have to move on from your organization after 6 months or they could be considered an employee of your company by the tax man. Since consultancies handle more than one client at the same time, they can provide on going services to your organization for as long as you require (and in many cases can make themselves available for urgent projects of many sizes and scopes.)

Leave a Reply