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I'll weigh in on this as well. Before you make a decision, I think you need
to ask yourself some additional questions:
1. If you do not take this job, will it place you in financial jeopardy?
Are you looking at buying luxuries for your family or necessities like food,
clothing, and debt reduction?
2. What is your long term goal? Do you want to start your own technical
writing business? If so, is this your first client? Sometimes taking a cut
rate initially (you could offer them a "discount" on your rates instead of
just taking a lower rate) can be helpful so that you can get established AND
have samples and a reference or two. This could be the perfect starting
place for you.
3. Where are you going to work? Will it be at the office or at home? If
you telecommute, you can save some bucks on gas.
4. How long is the contract?
5. What is the tech writer market like in your area? If there are many
technical writers who are unemployed and have the same skill set as you,
then you will probably need to charge a little lower rate than you would
normally just to stay competitive.
That being said, I don't think I'd counter with 50 dollars or anything like
that - but I would counter with a bit more - the amount depending on how
badly you might need the funds, your long term plans, and the length of your
contract. For example, if the contract is 3 months long, you can work at
home and your long term plan is to start your own tech writing business, and
if this is your first client - this might be a great way to get your feet
wet and in the door for more lucrative projects in the future from this
client or another one. You might consider bidding in the upper twenties or
lower thirties. You have an advantage of having worked there before - that
should be huge for the employer. You might want to big a bit higher if feel
that you can handle the risk of possibly losing the contract. Others have
given you numbers here as well as the rational for those rates - so I won't
rehash it. Just wanted to give you some other things to think about.
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