Finding quality writers is not easy. As with hiring any employee or contractor, be sure to get facts first.
1. What am I looking for?
Before you begin your search for a writer, make sure to outline your needs. Do you need a marketing writer that does brochures? A technical writer who knows Visual Basic?
2. How do you charge?
Many freelancers work on a per-project basis and require one-third to one-half of fee upfront. Others work on an hourly, per-day or per-week basis. Make sure you get details before you hire writer.
3. When will payment be due?
It is a good idea to check with writer about payment scheduling. Freelance writers are often sole proprietors and reluctant to extend credit to new clients. If your accounting department has a history of late payments, you will lose a talented writer quickly.
4. How will you communicate and deliver?
Be prepared for a virtual relationship with your writer. These days, more and more writers are working via email and instant messaging. In fact, you may not deal with writer face to face at all! Most writers also work by phone, fax and overnight mail.
Since it is not often profitable to meet in person, writers may not be willing to come to your office. However, they should be flexible enough to attend meetings if it is necessary for project. If you require it, be ready to be charged for writer's time.
5. What type of writing do you do?
Ask to see samples of writer's work. While most professional writers are talented, they may not have experience needed to complete project you need.
If you are confident in writer's abilities and are willing to give them a shot at your project anyway, be sure to get references. Past clients will be able to confirm that writer is professional, prompt, and courteous, keeping in close touch with client throughout project.
6. What is your turnaround time?
Let's face it, deadlines rule. If writers cannot meet your deadline or fit you in, they are probably too busy to handle your project with care. True, you may have to wait for a qualified writer who is in demand - and it will be worth it if you have a flexible deadline. But if you are on a time limit and writer cannot meet it, do not expect a miracle.