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Freelance Technical Author FAQs

Before starting freelance work with 3di, you will probably have some questions about our working practices. Here are answers to the most common questions below, but if you need any further information, please contact us. We are always happy to speak to talented authors.

1. What are the contractual arrangements for working with 3di?

We work with individuals either:

  • as temporary or permanent employees of 3di
  • through limited companies that employ them
  • on a freelance, business-to-business basis

For those companies or freelancers (3di Associates) that need to comply with UK tax rules: we regularly assess the way we work and contract with 3di Associates against the UK Government’s HMRC Guidance. According to our latest (Feb 2021) HMRC determination, “Off-payroll working rules (IR35) do not apply” because 3di Associates work on a business-to-business basis.

2. What are your typical rates for freelance technical authors?

Rates vary depending on the nature of the project and role. The 3di Project Managers will have a budget they need to stick to for the work, and so will discuss the budget and any relevant rates with you on a case-by-case basis. The more we work together, we’ll get to know how you need to price your own expertise, and you’ll get to know the ways we need to assure quality and manage budgets for our customers.

3. Are roles remote?

Currently, all roles are remote. Once current lockdown restrictions lift, it’s likely that most work will continue to be remote. Onsite work may be useful for engineering and physical product projects, so the logistics around that may well be a factor in accessing your suitability for any given assignment.

4. What information do I need to send when registering with 3di?

If you would like to register with us, it would be helpful when emailing, if you could provide:

Your availability (hours p/w & start date)

A copy of your CV

Your hourly rate

Company details and/or address

Samples of, or links to, previous work.

5. What equipment are freelance technical authors expected to have? 

The potential 3di Associate will need to ensure they have invested in, and can deploy efficiently, the necessary hardware and software to handle the latest cloud-based and locally-hosted applications.

For an author running MadCap Flare (along with other typical apps such as MS office and a web browser), we recommend a PC with an Intel i5 CPU or equivalent, 16gb RAM, and an SSD based hard drive (rather than a classic HDD).

6. Which software tools do 3di need freelance technical authors to use? 

This depends to some extent on the assignment. It helps us to integrate services from freelancers if they have hands-on experience with the specific tool needed, but this is not always essential. The tools we use most often for authoring assignments are MadCap Flare, Markdown, DITA, Oxygen, Confluence, Jira, GitHub, HTML and CSS. Where projects need someone with experience in creating graphics and illustrations, we would expect them to have expert level knowledge and be able to demonstrate this with samples.

7. I have a Mac rather than a PC. Would that be ok?

You can use a Mac to complete your assignments with 3di, but you would need to install a virtual desktop to enable you to run some Windows-only programs, such as MadCap Flare.

8. I’m a recently qualified technical author, looking to gain some experience – what would you recommend?

It can be hard getting experience in many industries when you are getting started, but fortunately, in technical writing, there are plenty of ways to make a start.

Firstly, you can start by signing up for a github.com account, finding an open-source project, and asking them if they need help with their documentation. For more information, see Github’s help section here.

There are also plenty of professional organisations for technical authors that offer help with gaining experience, training and mentorship such as the ISTC, Tekom Europe and STC.

9. Do 3di provide network security to freelancers working on their own hardware?

3di does not supply anti-virus or network security apps to freelancers, as they are responsible for their own in this regard. However, Windows 10 comes supplied with Microsoft Defender, which is an anti-virus/malware scanner, and also its own firewall for network security. Freelancers should ensure these are enabled and kept updated using Windows update.

Would you like to join the team?

Contact us

Commercial arrangements with freelancers and service sub-contractors

3di has an in-house team. We also have a network of 3di Associates based around the world: we use the expertise of self-employed freelancers or specialist companies to deliver our services to customers. The nature of 3di customer assignments vary but the way we work with 3di Associates will be consistent depending on what type of service the 3di Associate delivers: technical authoring, translation, consulting, web development, graphic illustration, localization Q&A.

For those companies or freelancers (3di Associates) that need to comply with UK tax rules: we regularly assess the way we work and contract with 3di Associates against the UK Government’s HMRC Guidance. According to our latest (Feb 2021) HMRC Determination, “Off-payroll working rules (IR35) do not apply” because 3di Associates work on a business-to-business basis.

Becoming a 3di Associate does involve us checking that the business relationship is going to work. We will assess the quality and relevance of what the company has done before, and understand if there is anything that might compromise 3di services to customers. The potential 3di Associate will need to ensure they have invested in, and can deploy efficiently, the necessary hardware and software to handle the latest cloud-based and locally-hosted applications.

For each project, we will agree either an hourly rate or a fixed price for the work, and the 3di Associate will invoice us at agreed milestones or intervals. Our payment terms are 30 days from date of invoice.

3di will provide clear guidance about what is expected from the 3di Associate so that they make the contribution to 3di’s service we need. This will cover the scope and quality of the work, and the processes, tools and progress communication. 3di Associates are responsible for delivering to the quality of service agreed, meeting delivery milestones, and for correcting errors at their own cost.

We welcome applications from freelancers or specialist companies worldwide and look forward to establishing long-term relationships that work well for our 3di Associates, the 3di team and our customers. If you are interested, contact us at resourcing@3di-info.com.