Comparing the best freelance technical writer options

Good documentation can determine the rate of business growth, guiding customers, teams, and product or service users efficiently and proactively. But when it comes to performing this pivotal task businesses often struggle to find the right fit—should they hire a full-time technical writer? Find a freelancer? Seek a technical staffing agency or managed writing service? Choosing the best technical writing service for your business can be overwhelming, with an abundance of options available for taking care of this crucial duty. 

While acquiring a full-time technical writer may not be in the budget for many startups and enterprises, many affordable freelance options hope to connect the right talent with the right business. From Upwork technical writers to freelancers found on WriterAccess to staffing agencies and managed writing services, each option offers particular advantages and disadvantages to both startups and enterprises. Let’s take a deeper look into each option and compare the best technical writing services for different business sizes, considering their unique needs and priorities.

Upwork and Fiverr technical writers 

fiverr upwork technical writers
Upwork and Fiverr provide budget freelance writer solutions

Upwork and Fiverr are well-known freelancer platforms providing access to a large pool of technical writing freelancers, each with varying backgrounds, experience levels, and skill sets. The variety of talent and specialization across these platforms offers businesses a large roster to cherry-pick from, and the competitive rates may be appealing to cash-strapped startups and small businesses hoping to produce cheap technical documentation. 

The gig nature of these freelancer sites can be a benefit to startups seeking project-to-project documentation work as their resources determine. This flexibility can allow startups to scale technical writing efforts up or down without the commitment of long-term contracts. But for enterprises or organizations with more complicated processes and documentation needs, the fleeting nature of these relationships could be a detractor, with long-term cost inefficiencies from retraining new writers. Varying consistency between freelancers can affect the quality and usefulness of the documentation, potentially inhibiting future product or service performance. And a lack of expertise could result in general inaccuracies and inconsistencies in documentation quality.

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Startup Pros:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Upwork freelancers often offer competitive rates, making them a budget option for startups with limited budgets.
  • Flexibility and scalability: Startups can hire freelancers on a project-by-project basis, allowing them to adjust resources according to their immediate needs.
  • Access to diverse talent: Upwork provides startups with a wide pool of freelancers, offering specialized expertise and industry knowledge for tailored technical writing.

Startup Cons:

  • Lack of consistency: Working with different freelancers could result in inconsistencies in tone, terminology, and formatting.
  • Higher competition: Due to the larger talent pool, competition among quality freelancers on Upwork can be more intense, potentially leading to higher rates and more selective freelancers.
  • Potential expertise gaps: Freelancers may not possess industry-specific knowledge or experience, leading to inaccuracies in technical documentation or additional time spent on research.

Enterprise Pros:

  • Cost-effectiveness at scale: Enterprises can leverage the affordability of freelancers while managing larger volumes of technical documentation.
  • Quick access to talent: Upwork and Fiverr offer a vast pool of technical consultants, enabling enterprises to find specialized technical writing professionals.
  • Enhanced collaboration features: Upwork offers work diaries, time tracking, and communication tools, facilitating efficient collaboration between freelancers and clients.

Enterprise Cons:

  • Control over the hiring process: Enterprises may have limited control over the selection and vetting process of freelancers, potentially impacting the quality and fit of the hired writers.
  • Cultural alignment: Ensuring alignment with the enterprise's brand voice and culture may be more challenging when working with freelancers from diverse backgrounds.
  • Challenges in managing numerous freelancers: Enterprises may face difficulties in coordinating and communicating with multiple freelance technical writers simultaneously.

Freelance writer platforms 

freelance tech writer sites
Freelance tech writer sites offer immediate access to writers of varying experience levels

Similar to Upwork and Fiverr, sites like and source freelance technical writers, with an abundance of profiles, reviews, and samples to sort through. These tech freelancer platforms allow freelance writers to showcase their specialized skills and expertise, making it easier for businesses to find technical writers with specific industry knowledge correlating to their business and end users.

Startups, with their often limited budgets, can benefit from the affordability and scalability of utilizing freelancer platforms. They can access a wide pool of talent focused on technical writing, and hire writers on a project-by-project basis, allowing for greater flexibility in resource allocation. However, startups may face challenges in maintaining consistency, building long-term relationships, and ensuring expertise in specific domains, industry protocols, and compliance. Enterprises may find value in freelancers, but a need for more control over the hiring process and potential cultural alignment issues could cause significant concerns.

Startup Pros:

  • More experience: Freelancer sites often feature technical writers with relevant and niche industry experience.
  • Scalability: Startups can hire freelancers as needed, adjusting their resources based on specific project requirements.
  • Access to a diverse talent pool: Freelance platforms provide a large range of technical writers with different skill sets and expertise.

Startup Cons:

  • Consistency issues: Variance in freelancers could result in documentation inconsistencies.
  • Challenges in building long-term relationships: Frequent changes in freelance writers can hinder long-term collaboration and a deep understanding of the startup's business.
  • Varying quality: With a wide range of freelancers, the quality of technical writing can vary, and it requires careful evaluation and vetting to find the right fit.

Enterprise Pros:

  • Competitive pricing: often attracts freelancers who offer competitive rates, making it an attractive option for cost-conscious enterprises.
  • Access to niche talent: Freelance platforms can offer services from writing professionals with prior enterprise experience.
  • Flexibility in resource allocation: Enterprises can scale their technical writing team based on fluctuating documentation needs.

Enterprise Cons:

  • Quality and vetting challenges: While freelancer sites have mechanisms in place to verify freelancers, huge user bases and wide ranges of skills can make it difficult to assess the quality and expertise of writers.
  • Limited collaboration features: Compared to Upwork, may have fewer built-in collaboration tools, which could impact the ease of communication and project management.
  • Challenges in managing numerous freelancers: Enterprises may face difficulties in coordinating and communicating with multiple freelance technical writers simultaneously.

Technical staffing agencies

technical writer staffing agencies
Tech staffing agencies generally assure higher caliber writers

Technical staffing agencies provide a comprehensive recruitment solution for businesses seeking documentation services. These agencies specialize in sourcing and vetting technical writing talent, ensuring each candidate possesses the necessary skills and experience in advance. The vetting process alone can be the determining factor in choosing an agency over a freelancer, with many businesses both large and small simply not having the time to invest in finding an experienced technical writer to handle their documentation duties.

Enterprises, with their larger budgets and ongoing documentation needs, may benefit from the expertise and support offered by technical staffing agencies. They gain access to a pre-screened pool of professionals and can select candidates that align with their specific requirements. However, the relative costs associated with technical staffing agencies can be prohibitive for startups, and they may have less control over the hiring process and long-term investment in talent. Similar to Upwork and Fiverr, inconsistency can be an issue between writers, and though the vetting process has been completed, documentation project management duties still fall on the business managers.

Startup Pros:

  • Access to vetted professionals: Technical staffing agencies thoroughly screen candidates, ensuring startups have access to qualified technical writers.
  • Expertise and guidance: Startups can leverage the experience and expertise of staffing agencies in finding the right talent for their specific needs.
  • Time-saving: Staffing agencies handle the recruitment process, saving startups valuable time and resources.

Startup Cons:

  • Higher costs: Engaging staffing agencies can be more expensive for startups, especially those with limited budgets.
  • Limited control over the hiring process: Startups may have less influence in selecting suitable technical writers, potentially impacting the fit and quality of the hired writers.
  • Potential cultural misalignment: Startups may face challenges in finding writers who align with their unique company culture and brand voice.

Enterprise Pros:

  • Specialized recruitment services: Staffing agencies offer in-depth expertise in identifying and selecting technical writers with the desired level of skills and experience.
  • Reduced recruitment burden: Enterprises can offload the time-consuming task of talent acquisition to staffing agencies, allowing internal teams to focus on other priorities.
  • Long-term investment: Staffing agencies can provide access to long-term contract technical writer options, enabling enterprises to build stable relationships with their writers.

Enterprise Cons:

  • Higher costs: The services of staffing agencies come at a higher price point, which may not be feasible for startups or enterprises with limited budgets.
  • Potential delays in hiring: The recruitment process through staffing agencies can sometimes be more time-consuming, leading to delays in filling technical writing positions.
  • Less control over ongoing talent management: Enterprises may have limited involvement in the day-to-day management of the technical writers, potentially affecting long-term relationships and collaboration.

Managed technical writing services

managed technical writing service
Managed technical writing services include team strategy and oversight

Managed writing services provide end-to-end technical writing and consulting solutions, often including project management, quality assurance, and editorial oversight. These services cater to businesses seeking comprehensive support and expertise in technical documentation. With a managed writing service, a business receives support from an entire team instead of just a freelance technical writer, so inconsistencies are alleviated, and heightened levels of documentation quality are attainable.

Both startups and enterprises can benefit from the convenience and reliability offered by managed tech writing services. Startups can leverage the expertise and guidance of experienced professionals to grow their business and marketing through a cohesive documentation strategy. Enterprises can offload the burden of managing an internal writing team and discover ways to consistently improve and update their documentation. However, the costs of managed writing services may be higher compared to other options, and some businesses may prefer to have more control over the writing process.

Startup Pros:

  • Expertise and comprehensive support: Managed writing services offer access to experienced professionals who can guide startups through the entire technical writing process.
  • Time-saving: Startups can focus on their core business activities while relying on managed technical writing services to ensure an effective documentation strategy.
  • Consistency and quality assurance: Managed writing services often include quality control measures to ensure consistent and high-quality technical documentation.

Startup Cons:

  • Higher costs: Managed tech writing services tend to have higher pricing structures, which may not be feasible for startups with limited financial resources.
  • IT policy concerns: Many companies (both startups and enterprises) have strict IT privacy policies and red tape that could make onboarding an external team difficult without necessary workarounds.
  • Dependency on external providers: Startups relying on managed writing services may face challenges if there are issues or delays in the service delivery.

Enterprise Pros:

  • Expertise and comprehensive support: Enterprises can benefit from the extensive experience and guidance provided by managed technical writing services to ensure high-quality technical documentation.
  • Offloading of management responsibilities: Enterprises can focus on core business functions while entrusting the management of their technical writing to specialized service providers.
  • Consistency and quality control: Managed writing services often have established processes and quality assurance measures, ensuring consistency and adherence to industry standards.

Enterprise Cons:

  • Higher costs: Managed writing services come at a premium price, which may be a limiting factor for enterprises with budget constraints.
  • Potential lack of internal control: Enterprises may have less control over the writing process or strategy than with a full-time internal technical writing team.
  • Dependency on external providers: Enterprises relying heavily on managed writing services may face challenges if there are disruptions or delays in service delivery.

Choosing the best technical writing service option for a startup or enterprise requires careful consideration of factors such as budget, scalability, control, expertise, and long-term goals. While freelance technical writers can be found easily and affordably, questions of quality, reliability, and future effects become a concern for both startups and enterprises. Technical staffing agencies remove much of the vetting process, while managed writing services handle documentation duties entirely, ensuring effective management and consistency in deliverables. 

DevDocs is a technical consultancy and writing agency that provides managed writing services to both startups and enterprises. Our technical writers, developers, consultants, and strategists have deep experience encompassing a variety of industries, and we are here to support your team regardless of company size or project scope. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help reduce inefficiencies in your organization through better documentation management and strategy.

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