Like most everything else -- budgets usually define your level of professional expertise you can afford.
Subject Matter Experts (SME's) rarely go for less than $20 US/hour or $40K US prorated/annum, but they are professionals in that particular field.
Below this level expertise tend to drop off quickly and starts to lean more towards "I can learn as I go" expertise.
Professional copy-writers might be more afforable but tend to rely more on linguistic skills to capture the essence of what you propose rather than technical prowess.
My experience is that prices can be MUCH higher than that. I know technical writers and editors who regularly get $100 per hour and more. So I guess there's a lot of variation in the marketplace.
I assume pricing is also dependent upon the topic?
Sure, the topic can influence the rate - but more thqan that it's the experience and skill of the editor. A good technical editor knows how to craft words that appear to communicate simply about a complex topic - without bypassing any essential detail. And they do all that while awakening awareness of need in the reader and calling forth a response.
That usually takes more than knowledge of the topic. I've edited for engineers who knew their topic much better than I did, but their ability at wordsmithing was pretty rugged.
So, it's not so much knowledge of the topic that matters (although you need some) but rather it's skill with communication. A good editor may even find an approach to your topic that works much better than your original angle.
Thinking on what tedster wrote: I would tend to agree on the price margin, I would think my quoted prices are bare competency, thus below that you're losing on the copy potential.
The other consideration is return. At face value the more budget you can afford the better a given return.
|Sure, the topic can influence the rate - but more thqan that it's the experience and skill of the editor. |
Other factors may include:
1) Whether you're hiring the editor as an employee, as a long-term contract worker, or as a freelancer. (You might be able to get an employee for $20 an hour plus benefits, but a freelancer would have to charge a much higher hourly fee to cover his or her own business expenses, taxes, insurance, etc.).
2) How many hours of help you need. (A small job may require a higher hourly rate than a big job, simply because of the editor's time overhead in getting to know you, learning about the job, billing for the completed work, and so on.)
3) Where you're located. (If you demand "face time" from an editor and want to hire locally, the rate will be influenced by local market conditions and cost of living.)
Here are a couple of other factors that might influence the editing cost
- The size of the project. Are you looking at a 4,000 word document or a 100,000 word document?
- The editing deadline. If a client needs a complex 100+ page RFP to be edited on one day's notice, the consulting editor will look for greater compensation. Rush jobs are more expensive.
I've done a bit of casual editing work, but the problem is that there's no money in the stuff I enjoy editing - academic work, free software documentation, etc. So now I just edit stuff gratis for friends and worthy causes.
If I were doing casual editing work, I'd be asking at least AUS$60/hour (US$35) - and more if it was something boring. But if you don't need someone with technical qualifications, you should be able to find starving English graduate students easily enough!
It really does vary widely. When I do copyediting in the various fields I qualify as an "expert" in, I charge from 30-60 USD per hour, usually in ten- or -fifteen minute increments. The best bet, perhaps, is to figure out how much you can afford (or how much it's worth to you), knock off 25%, and make requests... The 25% gives you room to negotiate.
Just my 0.02 worth...
Hire an English graduate students? Yes, but only if you are willing hire students for coding, design and hosting. Remember people don't come to your website for your hosting server. Many of them come for your content.