When Should I Hire a Technical Writing Service?

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user manualIf your company produces any type of documentation—whether it’s proposals, user manuals, or training materials—you need the expertise that only a technical writing service can offer. A technical writer will ensure your documentation is accurate, easy to read, and user friendly so that your company appears competent and professional. And that’s important because the documents that leave your office, whether by print or online, can affect your image and your reputation.

If you’re a small-business owner or are starting your own company, you likely don’t need to employ a full-time technical writer. If you’re fortunate enough to have a full-time writer on staff, there are still times when you may need to hire additional support. And if you have a sudden change in your deadline or a short-term increase in workload, it may be too much for the staff you have on hand. In situations like these, a technical writing service is your solution.

Once you’ve made the decision that a technical writing service is necessary for your project, don’t wait until the last minute to bring them into the project. Rather, bring the service on board as early as possible. The technical writer has invaluable experience that can benefit your project from the beginning. For instance, the writer may choose to include graphics from the early stages of manufacturing or may see a need to create user scenarios along the way. In addition, the technical writer will have a complete understanding of your project, which will make it easier to create the necessary documentation.

If you bring the technical writing service on too late in the project, it could end up costing you even more money than if they were on board from the start. The writer will have to go back to the beginning of the project to gain an adequate understanding, and the resources required to bring your technical writer up to speed will take valuable time from your other employees.

Rather than hiring a technical writing service, you may think you can adequately develop your documentation on your own. However, if your user manuals are unclear, consider the additional burden on your customer support staff. And if your marketing materials contain grammatical and technical errors, consider the revenue lost when the customer goes to your competitor. As John Wooden, a basketball Hall-of-Fame player and coach, once said, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

In the end, you really can’t afford NOT to use a technical writing service. The experience a technical writer can bring to the table will benefit your company and your reputation. And that’s something on which you can’t put a price tag.