Frequently Asked Questions
1. What sort of services does The Writers Bureau provide?As our name implies, we provide scientific writing and writing-related services either direct through The Writers Bureau or in the UK via our FREEPHONE FREELANCE service (Call UK 0800 413598). These include manuscript preparation, newsletter and reportage writing, patient-, PR- and training-orientated materials etc. However, a large proportion of our writers and editors are also experienced in areas such as multimedia scripting and have held senior posts in leading scientific communications agencies.
This means we are able to take projects beyond the writing stage and through to production, in print or other media. In fact, if you have a project which is already at first draft stage, we may suggest an expert editor or production editor, rather than a writer per se.
2. What kind of work would not be suitable for The Writers Bureau?When we come across it weíll let you know! More seriously, it is not so much the type as the scale of work which would be the ultimate limitation. We provide an ultra-efficient service, with very low overheads and charges, for small to medium size projects. In all honesty, we are not your best choice to manage a multi-million pound pre-marketing programme. Many of us have years of experience of such work, and are always happy to be part of a team on these activities but we do not provide the financial management or administrative back-up services which are available (at a price) from some of the large agencies.
3. Will I get good people all the time, every time?Agencies normally sell their services in a general corporate sense: they rarely guarantee that specific staff will always work on your project. The Writers Bureau philosophy is completely different - the people you want are always the people you get. We operate a database of hand-picked experienced people: we donít have a fixed staff or use any sort of trainee. We therefore never have to adapt permanent generalist staff to your specific needs or compromise your work to match employee capabilities. When you commission us, we call up the best available co-workers according to your criteria.
You can select by therapy area expertise, company experience or other factors; even by hourly rate if necessary. Alternatively, you can let us choose for you.
4. What hidden mark-ups am I paying?None, all our charges are totally transparent. You are never charged any mark-up or any hidden percentages beyond the standard costs shown in black and white on your invoice. Whatís more, we actually split the price of doing business between yourself and the ultimate provider, so you donít even pay the total cost. It works very simply as follows:
All our co-workers supply us with their own rates for the various types of
work they do. These are held, along with various personal and professional
details, results of writing tests etc. on our Freelance Database. When we search
for the best people for a particular job, as defined by your criteria,
the results include each personís rates.When you agree to a particular person
and their hourly or daily rate (or fixed price for the overall job) you can be
sure, in advance, exactly what the cost will be.
5. Why donít I just deal direct with the freelance or go to an agency?Most agencies bill staff hours at three times mark-up (i.e. the client pays cost, plus 200 percent). Non-staff costs are usually marked up by the standard 17.5 percent, a ďmagicĒ agency formula arrived at years ago and applied to almost everything. If you feel a modest nine percent is too much for the security and convenience of the service we provide, or if we fail to serve you properly, then perhaps you will go direct. On the other hand, do you really want to spend your time locating, managing and setting up accounts for a string of individual experts?
We believe that in terms of sheer flexibility and ease of management, you will save yourself the cost of our small fee many times over. Why not put us to the test?
6. Who does what, exactly?No two jobs are identical, but usually the following sequence will apply:
SearchesYou discover a need. You see one of our advertisements or hear about us and you call. We discuss the nature of the work, timing and budgets etc. with you and replay our understanding of the task as a double-check. We search our database for the ideal expert or as close a match as we are able to achieve against your brief. We check their availability and approximate costing for the job and then contact you with the results.
AgreementsIf you agree to proceed we then draw up a Commission Agreement, to include price and timings and fax this to both parties for their signature. Once the Agreement is completed, we put you in direct touch with the freelance expert to agree the fine details and proceed with the work. At this stage we invoice you for a first stage payment, usually fifty percent of the total, or some other figure by mutual agreement.
ConclusionAt various times, particularly if it is the first occasion you have worked with us, we will contact both parties to check that everything is progressing smoothly and to iron out any misconceptions or pass on any feedback if necessary. When the project is completed satisfactorily we invoice you for the second fifty percent, or whatever alternative final payment has been agreed.
7. What discounts are available?The Writers Bureau operates a Key Client Scheme to reward our best customers. Some clients place a regular booking, others may have a prompt payment record or agree some kind of retainer arrangement. All these benefit our business and we are committed to sharing these benefits with the people who make our success possible. Each case is taken on its merits and discounts may take the form of reduced rates, preferred access, special billing arrangements or a combination of all three. Please contact us for further details.
8. Can you summarise the benefits of working with The Writers Bureau?
If you have any further queries, or suggestions how we might do things differently or better, please donít hesitate to get in touch. We look forward to working with you sometime.
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