Author Topic: Input Needed: Remote Proposal Writer Salary Expectations  (Read 2408 times)

DebtFreeBy25

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Input Needed: Remote Proposal Writer Salary Expectations
« on: February 25, 2016, 01:40:02 PM »
Hi all,

Quick question for the forum: What should I provide as my salary expectations for a Remote Proposal (RFP) writer for a behavioral health organization based in Texas? I specifically received a response from a corporate recruiter with this question.

About the job: 100% virtual, full-time proposal writer
About the organization: For-profit behavioral health organization headquartered in Texas and providing services nationally (US)
Requirements: Bachelors, 2+ years of proposal writing experience, graphic design and documentation skills
About me: Mid-career professional with a masters degree, 6 years of relevant experience
My last salary: $65k, currently targeting $70k+ plus for "in the office" jobs and $80k+ for travel jobs
What do I want: As much as I can get, but I'd really love to work from home even if I had to take a lower salary to do it. The challenge is the lower the salary, the more quickly I'll be looking to move on, so I'm trying not to sell myself short. I think I'd take $50k to work entirely from home.
What does my research tell me: My research tells me that this position in their city should pay between $50,000-$67,000. The issue with that range is that it would be assuming that the employee is required to be in the office at least most of the time. I'm suspecting the employer is posting this position as remote either because they couldn't find candidates locally (unlikely) or they're looking to pay less.

What do you think? Give me some numbers. 


GrowingTheGreen

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Re: Input Needed: Remote Proposal Writer Salary Expectations
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2016, 04:29:41 PM »
I say go for the same that the office candidate makes. From their perspective, maybe they don't have the space in their office for the resources they need. Remote workers allow you to reduce overhead (they don't need to provide toilet paper for you either!). Go for 60k and see what they say.

ender

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Re: Input Needed: Remote Proposal Writer Salary Expectations
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2016, 05:53:43 PM »
Have you interviewed already? With people who can make hiring decisions?

It's always a stronger negotiating position if they actually want to hire you than to just potentially interview you. Another $5k or $15k for a "known" person is a lot better than someone who they've not really interviewed.

You could ask them, "what's the range for the position? That will help me understand if we're on the same page" or something. Or even say something like, "my expectations depend on the overall compensation package, if you are able to get me some information regarding what employer benefits are and what the salary range for the position is, I can get back to you."


AlwaysLearninginPA

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Re: Input Needed: Remote Proposal Writer Salary Expectations
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2016, 06:05:19 PM »
Oo, this is a question I can answer!

Once upon a time, I was a federal proposal writer working for a large government contractor. I made 58k with a master's degree and worked 100% remote (I drove in maybe once every 3 months). 3 weeks vacation, bonus of maybe a week's pay. This was at the beginning of my career. My team worked in the DC metro area. I was transferred to this role upon finishing my master's program. I was always remote.

It was a terrible job--highly stressful, long hours. I worked many evenings and weekends. And the people I worked with... I hope to never encounter people like that again.

Some thoughts about your salary question:
--I was underpaid for the area. This could be because they were unwilling to pay me my value because I had been with the company or because my actual home was in a low COL area. Although I can't know for certain, I am pretty confident my coworkers made at least 10k more than me. The DC area is ridiculously expensive to live in. For me, that salary gap got hard to stomach, especially since I was treated so poorly. Which brings me to my next point...
--Remote 100% is pretty difficult. Working with a team like where I am now, I think I could do it no problem. But if your manager has no experience managing remote employees, I would not take the job. In my experience, my manager ignored me because I wasn't there in person. I spoke to him maybe once every other month. And this was with some persistence on my end! My co-workers would often try to "catch me" away from my computer (we all gotta use the bathroom sometimes, geez). And they would act as though I should be available any time, day or night, for any little issue that came up. Because they didn't see me, they assumed I wasn't working. That became a massive issue. Also, I got a dog during this time because when I didn't have any calls scheduled, I would speak to no one. All. day. So, I'd talk to the dog. That kind of loneliness can be pretty bad if you are predisposed to emotional issues. I know it was for me.

I am curious why you want to pursue this kind of work? Just from another post, it sounds like you suffer from depression and anxiety. In my experience, proposal writing, especially remote, is a sure-fire trip to trigger those conditions. It's also pretty difficult to be part-time in this career unless you are freelance and simply go from proposal to proposal... even then, the culture seems to be dominated with people who want you to work 24/7. Not sure if part-time was something you were looking into, but it seemed like that might be a consideration from your other post.

Might I recommend you pursue writing manuals? It's not for everyone, but I have to say, I love it. Really. I would like it better if I wasn't doing it full-time, ha, but it is so much fun most of the time. Some highlights:
--Definitely freelance-able: it's pretty common for tech writers to be contractors, so you can hustle up your own business that way if you have the motivation
--You talk to EVERYONE. You can learn about electronics, software, mechanical engineering, field service, safety... you learn how things go together and why it matters and you put yourself in other people's shoes to really understand their needs. I LOVE doing that. I want to be the one who makes things make sense! I have no science/tech/math background, I just love to learn, and this job allows for that
--You get to basically manage projects without having to be responsible for managing people. I catch other people's mistakes and oversights because I talk to everyone, all the time. I know when things go through the cracks. Because no one answers to me, I can get a surprising amount of insight from people, too
--If you are one of the only writers in a small company, everyone thinks you are amazing because you know how to type fast and thoroughly edit. haha
--Everyone who makes products needs someone to write a manual for it, and engineers hate doing it (they also usually aren't very good at it, although they try). The biggest issue with this--a lot of places need convincing that an actual writer will be good for them. It is, though. It really is. ha
--Because such a wide range of companies need manual writers, you are bound to find one with a culture that is a good fit for you, especially if you are able to move

Good luck with your search! I hope you find something that inspires you =).


DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Input Needed: Remote Proposal Writer Salary Expectations
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2016, 08:23:25 PM »
Thanks to everyone who responded. I was correct. This organization is sourcing the role remotely because they aren't paying a competitive salary. The recruiter stated the range as in the high 30ks, which is not something I'd consider for a permanent role.

I'm still waiting for a decision for a $70k+ senior systems analyst job that I had a final interview for last Friday. The only major downside of that position is that I'd have to relocate because I'm unwilling to drive a super-commute every weekday (long distance plus horrible traffic in the city). If I don't get that job, my options are to continue looking for positions that require a relocation, keep trying for a travel job (some recruiter interest but no employer bites yet) or start my own business. There are very few jobs in my local area, and the positions I've inquired about locally only pay around $15/hour. (I have a masters degree and relevant experience for all of these positions.) Our current home is paid off, and our expenses here are very low. Otherwise, I'm all for moving.

In other words, this remote position is something I'm considering in a worst case scenario. I would rather work from home as proposal writer than have to drive-and wear pants- for a low paying local job or relocate for a position I don't really want. The experience would be marketable even if the pay is lousy. I'd be looking at the proposal writer gig as long(ish) term temporary. (Obviously would not be disclosing that.) If this job search looks like it's going to be a long one, I'm going to be looking for an interim gig that allows me the flexibility to continue to freelance and apply for other jobs. (For those who aren't familiar with my story, I recently left a technology implementation position with an unethical company because the long hours and extensive travel prevented me from finding a better position while working for them.) 

I am curious why you want to pursue this kind of work? Just from another post, it sounds like you suffer from depression and anxiety. In my experience, proposal writing, especially remote, is a sure-fire trip to trigger those conditions. It's also pretty difficult to be part-time in this career unless you are freelance and simply go from proposal to proposal... even then, the culture seems to be dominated with people who want you to work 24/7. Not sure if part-time was something you were looking into, but it seemed like that might be a consideration from your other post.

Might I recommend you pursue writing manuals? It's not for everyone, but I have to say, I love it. Really. I would like it better if I wasn't doing it full-time, ha, but it is so much fun most of the time.

My sympathies for your horrible remote experience, it's awful when staff in the office think less of their remote colleagues just because they're remote. My interest in this particular position is that it's home-based. I've worked from my home office (by which I definitely mean my couch) for 5.5 of the past 7 years. The only caveat is that all of my previous jobs have required significant travel. That said, I've also worked at home alone for weeks at time and already have a dog (and two cats) to talk to when I'm lonely. But yea, 24/7 work is not for me, especially not in an underpaid position.

I'm currently doing some freelance technical writing and am interested in picking up more projects, presuming that I don't accept a full-time job in the next week or so. How did you get into writing manuals? I have experience writing training manuals and systems guides but only as a part of my responsibilities for my most recent full-time job, so I don't have the connections to hustle un-posted gigs.

iluvzbeach

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Re: Input Needed: Remote Proposal Writer Salary Expectations
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2016, 08:52:05 PM »
Do you mind if I ask whether you currently live in Texas? If you do live in Texas, which city? I ask because I may know of an available tech writing position, if you're in the right location.

cheddarpie

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Re: Input Needed: Remote Proposal Writer Salary Expectations
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2016, 09:13:54 PM »
Posting to follow -- I'm interested in hearing more about writing manuals as well.

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Input Needed: Remote Proposal Writer Salary Expectations
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2016, 09:39:43 PM »
Do you mind if I ask whether you currently live in Texas? If you do live in Texas, which city? I ask because I may know of an available tech writing position, if you're in the right location.

Hi, there. No, I don't live in Texas. I applied for the particular proposal writer position mentioned in the original post because the position was listed as 100% telecommute. I'm on the other side of the country on the border between Appalachia and the Rust Belt.

Others who are interested in technical writing, anyone in Texas?