[no subject]

From: Jonathan Leer <jleer -at- LTC -dot- MV -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 1997 09:38:11 -0300

Jay Mead wrote in response to a thread on measuring the price spread of documentation:
<Way above your head? It's way above EVERYBODY'S head--there's no
<consistent, reliable, cross-industry measure of documentation
<cost/benefit. Costs can be measured, of course (how much your company
<spends on you and your ilk), but nearly all benefits are indirect.

You're absolutely right. There are no established guidelines. But why not try? You can't tell me that accounting doesn't put a value on everything, including goodwill. EVERYONE HAS A VALUE, whether it is a expense, revenue, or asset.

My point is that it is worth looking beyond simply being a cost reducer. A product with documentation is worth more to the customer than a product without documentation. But how much? The market pay for it up to some point. If we as technical communicators can have an idea - even a vague idea - as to how documentation fits into the selling price of the product, we will be better prepared to negotiate our own bottomlines.

Since I have my own business, this is an element I want to have in my marketing arsenal. Why go into a negotation for providing communicaion services only knowing that currently the market is paying $X for technical writers for a specific type of work? Obviously that's a cost to my customer. But if I can understand the profit margin, I can offer my customer a different pricing structure for my services.

Since outsourcing has grown and continues to grow, understanding the economics of providing technical communication services has greater urgency.

Jon Leer
Leer Technical Communications

P.S. Never say never.

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