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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Professionalism When Discussing Rates

Last week, we talked about some of the factors that contribute to rates on files, specifically when contracting with transcription companies. This week, I want to talk about the flip side.

As professionals – which we are – it is important that we maintain a level of integrity so that our contracts know they can trust us. In my experience, this leads to more easily being able to ask for an increased rate on a file because they trust that you wouldn't be asking if it didn't deserve it.

For example:

  • You have an 82-minute file. There's 12 minutes of silence at the end. What do you do?

  • You receive a file that indicates that there are 5 speakers and includes an increased rate for that reason. However, two of the speakers simply introduce themselves at the beginning, never to be heard from again. What do you do?

  • You ask for an increased rate on a file because of poor audio but once you get started you realize that you were wrong and the voices are clear. What do you do?

We come across countless situations like this as transcriptionists, and it's important that you determine to maintain your professionalism and integrity, even if it means sacrificing $10 or $20.

I'd love to hear from you on this subject as well. Have you had any situations like this? How did you handle it? Is this something you hadn't thought of before?


Stephanie said...

Most of my work is by the page, so I only bill for the number of pages I actually complete.

I have had instances where there has been audio I have not transcribed, and I did not bill the person for that portion of the recording.

To me, it just makes good sense because it does show them I am trustworthy.

margi said...

I've had all of those situations and it's always been situation-specific. I have always dealt with them through a "clearing house," that is a contracting company, not the client himself/herself. So, I notified my "handler" of the discrepancies and let them make the call - they know the client, I do not.

If I were dealing with the client directly, again, I would contact them and let them know and based on our relationship I would make a judgment call as to what to do. You can argue for or against billing for any of these - erm, "situations," but it really is situation-specific.

I'll just take the first example you gave and show you what I mean.

So, you want to know if I would bill for the 12 minutes at the end. Ordinarily, I would say no. But what if you were in a rush situation and you couldn't just blow that 12 minutes off. You sat there and listened to the sound of one hand clapping for 12 minutes. What's YOUR time worth?

Also - what if your client had a habit of doing that and you spent, literally, hours listening to that silence. Wouldn't you want to discuss it with them and work out something that is fair to them and doesn't leave you resentful and dreading their work?

So yeah. Just my .02.

Tara said...

Great points, Margi, and I agree 100%. In fact, if I'm listening to audio – silence or not – to determine whether it needs to be transcribed, I expect some kind of compensation for that time, and I'll usually be proactive when I mention. So I might say something like, "This file had 12 minutes of intermittent/inaudible speech at the end. I listened to it all just to make sure it didn't need to be transcribed. How about we split the difference and bill for 6 of those minutes?"