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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Getting Started – Pricing Structures When Contracting with Transcription Companies

If you're working at home as a transcriptionist, you are most likely either working for your own clients or contracting with large transcription companies. Either way, you are an independent contractor, and as such, you always have the right to choose at what rate you're willing to work.

The following chart is included in the General Transcription 101 ebook and gives an idea of the highs and lows in audio rates for each pay method (please note that the hourly and minute rates refer to the pay for the audio time and not your actual work time):

 Low RateHigh Rate
Per Hour$45.00$100.00+
Per Minute$0.75$1.67+
Per Single-Spaced Page$2.50$4.00+
Per Double-Spaced Page$1.25$3.00+
Per Line$0.06$0.13+
Per Word$0.0055$0.01+

But what I really want to talk about today is how companies determine the pay per file based on audio quality, turnaround time, accents or number of speakers.

  • Some companies have set rates regardless of the above factors.

  • Others have a sliding scale, adjusting the rate depending on a number of factors.

  • And finally, some have set rates but may offer poor audio or rush bonuses on certain files.

It's very important that you determine how the pay is calculated for each of your contracts. It's fruitless to continually nag for increased pay rates if you're contracting with a company that has set pay rates. If you're unhapppy with the pay, by all means seek out another contract. You may even want to have a respectful dialogue with the company about why you're doing so, if they're open to it. However, don't kid yourself into thinking that idle threats will get you the pay you're looking for. Be open and honest and respectful, and don't sell yourself short, but remember that your leverage is limited when it comes to demanding higher rates.

On the other hand, if your contract has a sliding scale or offers bonuses in certain situations, they most likely increase the rate they charge their clients in the same manner, and so you'll want to be sure to let them know when your audio is more difficult than anticipated.

Maintaining this level of professionalism is a balancing act. It's important to remember that there are hundreds of transcriptionists seeking contracts with these companies, and so you need to think carefully about whether you're willing to jeopardize that contract by demanding a higher rate. However, we are professionals and deserve to be paid as such, and it's okay to mention to your company contact that you do not believe the pay on a certain file is fair and professionally outline why.

1 Comment:

Stephanie said...

Great topic today.
I do mainly legal and our per page rate varies on turnaround time, no matter how the audio sounds.
Your page rights were right on, as well.

Thanks again to all three of you for all the information you give us everyday :)