Rates and Billing

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Old 02-08-2009
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Default How much to charge for transcription? Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
For those of you who offer transcription services, I am wondering how you bill: per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word. Also how do you deterime the amount of time it takes to transcribe an audio file or tape. Is it based on number of speakers, length of recording, quality of recording, etc. I have seen a couple of formulas: (1) 30 minutes of audio in one hour or (2) 4 to 5 times the length of tape.
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Old 02-08-2009
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
Originally Posted by mg virtual office solutions View Post
For those of you who offer transcription services, I am wondering how you bill: per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word. Also how do you deterime the amount of time it takes to transcribe an audio file or tape. Is it based on number of speakers, length of recording, quality of recording, etc. I have seen a couple of formulas: (1) 30 minutes of audio in one hour or (2) 4 to 5 times the length of tape.
30 minutes of audio in one hour? Either someone types 200 words a minute, there are a whole lot of pauses, or someone's stretching the truth!

I do a LOT of transcription. For a long time, it made up 90% of what I did for income.

I'm a fast typist, averaging between 90 and 100 words a minute, though I've been tested at over 120 words a minute. With clear audio, good speakers, no one trying to overtalk someone else, I can do 3 to 1. But that's like the absolute perfect, dream audio, and those are rare.

Usually, it's 3.5 or 4 to 1. And if the audio is bad? 5 or 6 to 1.

Because of that, I charge by audio minute for all transcription work. I do offer a transcription retainer package, which is for clear audio, 2 hour chunks, at a 10% discount.

The way I figured my rate was this:

First, how much per hour of work do I want to make?
Multiply that by 4. Average transcription is 4 hours work for 1 hour of audio. That gives my rate per hour of audio. But most transcription work that I do isn't that long, and people want it broken down even more.
So divide that number by 60, and that is your BASE rate per audio minute.

I say base, because if they have crappy audio that is going to be difficult to transcribe, you are going to want to charge more, because it's going to take you longer to do.

I have three levels.

The BASE rate applies to clear audio, no more than two speakers, easy to understand. Because I'm good with accents, as long as the person's accent isn't too thick, they get the base rate.

Level two audio gets a .25 per audio minute surcharge. That's audio with more than two speakers, or speakers with thicker accents.

Level three audio gets a .50 per audio minute surcharge. That's audio with severe quality problems, focus groups, or a lot of people trying to talk over one another. I hate doing them, so I charge more for them LOL

It's all about how much time it takes you to do the work, and getting a fair hourly wage. I've seen transcriptionists charge .25 to .50 per audio minute, and wonder how they are surviving! That works out to 3.25 to 7.50 an hour! Minimum wage in my state is $7.40 an hour, and I think transcription deserves far more than that! It's a skill, and not everyone can do it. I've seen people who can type 100 words or more not be able to do it, because it's far more than just typing! Skilled work deserves more than scraping by wages.
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Old 02-11-2009
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
Thank you so much Anisemama for your response. That is exactly what I was looking for. You are the greatest!
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Old 02-11-2009
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
I bill at $75/audio hour. This includes one review by the client of the work and any corrections/modifications necessary from that review.
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Old 03-28-2009
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
Thanks Amisemama

Your response has answered my question regarding transcription rates. During these trying times I am still pondering whether it would be best for me to charge a flat rate for transcription or by the minute charge. You are so correct doing transcription work takes a lot of skill.
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Old 03-28-2009
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
Originally Posted by doddy939 View Post
Thanks Amisemama

Your response has answered my question regarding transcription rates. During these trying times I am still pondering whether it would be best for me to charge a flat rate for transcription or by the minute charge. You are so correct doing transcription work takes a lot of skill.
I really think that a per minute rate works best. It makes it very clear right off the bat how much the person can expect to pay for the transcription work. If they've got 20 minutes of audio to be transcribed, and you're charging $1 an audio minute, they know that transcription will cost them $20.

You could also charge a per page rate, but that could end up backfiring, badly, for you. If you get audio with a lot of pauses, you're going to have a lower page rate. This is great for the person who has to pay for the transcription, but not for the one that has to do all the work! No matter how few pages you end up transcribing, it's still hard work! You still have to listen all the way through, and transcribe everything.

I've seen other VAs also charge a flat hourly rate for all services including transcription. I've seen one whose standard rate was $35 an hour, which is actually close to average. Transcription was included in that. If you figure that an audio file takes 4 times it's length to do a quality transcription, that means the client is paying $140 per audio hour for that transcription. Much, much more than they should be, or than they can probably afford.

Standard industry practice is to charge either by audio minute or by page. I find charging by audio minute to be more consistent, and easier for me to plan my budget. If I know that I've got 60 minutes of transcription, I know exactly how much I'll be making. I wouldn't have that same security with per page rates. For new clients, I require a deposit of 50% of the final cost of the transcription. I can't figure that out based on a per page rate, but I can with an audio rate.

Also, if you are doing medical transcription, which requires a whole additional skill set, standard charge is per word.
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Old 03-28-2009
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
Thanks Anisemama for your answer. I am starting my business and was looking into the differences between billing per hour or per minute for transcription. In these difficult times which billing method is more beneficial, given that doing transcription is not an easy task, as you stated it takes skill.
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Old 03-28-2009
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
Sorry, everyone second reply to per hour etc. was sent in error.
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Old 01-22-2010
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
Originally Posted by anisemama View Post
I really think that a per minute rate works best. It makes it very clear right off the bat how much the person can expect to pay for the transcription work. If they've got 20 minutes of audio to be transcribed, and you're charging $1 an audio minute, they know that transcription will cost them $20.

You could also charge a per page rate, but that could end up backfiring, badly, for you. If you get audio with a lot of pauses, you're going to have a lower page rate. This is great for the person who has to pay for the transcription, but not for the one that has to do all the work! No matter how few pages you end up transcribing, it's still hard work! You still have to listen all the way through, and transcribe everything.

I've seen other VAs also charge a flat hourly rate for all services including transcription. I've seen one whose standard rate was $35 an hour, which is actually close to average. Transcription was included in that. If you figure that an audio file takes 4 times it's length to do a quality transcription, that means the client is paying $140 per audio hour for that transcription. Much, much more than they should be, or than they can probably afford.

Standard industry practice is to charge either by audio minute or by page. I find charging by audio minute to be more consistent, and easier for me to plan my budget. If I know that I've got 60 minutes of transcription, I know exactly how much I'll be making. I wouldn't have that same security with per page rates. For new clients, I require a deposit of 50% of the final cost of the transcription. I can't figure that out based on a per page rate, but I can with an audio rate.

Also, if you are doing medical transcription, which requires a whole additional skill set, standard charge is per word.

Hi, thanks for answering the question I was going to post about how to charge for transcription services! I agree that the per minute pricing method is definitely the best way to go for Digital transcription. I have a couple of questions....do you charge the same way for Analog (cassette tape) transcription?

Also regarding take a deposit for new clients...how do you do that "virtually"? I just had a client send me a test file. He wanted me to listen to it to see if I could do it, and then give him an estimate. If he decides to hire me, how will I get a deposit from him?

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Lisa Salem
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Old 03-30-2010
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
Originally Posted by anisemama View Post

The way I figured my rate was this:

First, how much per hour of work do I want to make?
Multiply that by 4. Average transcription is 4 hours work for 1 hour of audio. That gives my rate per hour of audio. But most transcription work that I do isn't that long, and people want it broken down even more.
So divide that number by 60, and that is your BASE rate per audio minute.
I'm reviving this very valuable thread again because I'm still having trouble deciding whether to charge by hour or by audio minute. Since I've begun offering this service, I've been charging by the hour. However, charging by the audio minute seems to make much more sense to me.

I just have one question:

I spend time on each transcription project downloading and uploading audio files, possibly setting up or formatting a new template, doing a second pass-through to catch inaudibles and typos, researching a city or busines name online, etc.

If you are charging by the audio minute, how do you get paid for all the additional time you may spend doing the tasks that go along with the transcription work?

SueAnne W.
http://www.newleafva.com
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Old 03-30-2010
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
Normally I charge by the hour using the IPS guide to determine the ratio of how long it will take me for a given recording based on things like number of speakers, clarity of audio, does grammar need to be corrected…the list is long. For the type of transcription I do, my estimates range between 3 and 4.5 times the length of the recording using the IPS as a guide. I include time for looking things up on the Internet in that time estimate. I do not do a second pass through the recording unless the client requests it and that will add more time (cost) to the estimate. If I have inaudible notations, etc., I take time to re-listen as I’m doing the initial transcribing.

I just started offering per-audio-minute rates for digital audio and it’s a range depending on the clarity of the recording and how many speakers. In deciding my range, I looked at what other transcription services were charging and made sure that, at a minimum, I would end up at what I needed per hour.

My estimate for a project using the hourly rate or which per-audio-minute price will be used is based on what the client tells me about the recording. Many times the person I’m speaking with hasn’t even listened to it. I emphasize that the actually cost may be higher or lower than my estimate depending on how the recording sounds once I start transcribing.

Hope this helps some.
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Old 03-31-2010
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
Yes, Pam, this is more clear. Thank you.

One more thing--can you tell me where I can obtain a copy of the IPS guide so many transcriptionists and word processors refer to?

____________
SueAnne Warren
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Old 03-31-2010
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
Here's a link to an article by a VA which may help. http://www.ninafeldman.com/resources.htm
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Old 03-31-2010
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
Originally Posted by New Leaf VA View Post
Yes, Pam, this is more clear. Thank you.

One more thing--can you tell me where I can obtain a copy of the IPS guide so many transcriptionists and word processors refer to?

____________
SueAnne Warren
www.newleafva.com
It's mentioned at the link Cortney provided, about halfway down the page, but the link Nina Feldman provides on that site didn't work for me. I found an order form here and it's talked about here under "Operations."

It's not an inexpensive book, though. My friend bought a copy many years ago, we split the cost, and share the book!

And you're certainly welcome!

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Old 06-03-2010
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
Can anyone explain how payment by the byte works?
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Old 06-04-2010
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
I'm curious as to how the per minute rate would equate to a per page rate? Any help?
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Old 08-04-2010
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
http://www.virtualassistantforums.co...tant/anisemama Thank you for posting your response! This is information that everyone transcriptionist needs. We appreciate the time you took to share your experience with all of us.

Kind regards,

Dawn
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Old 08-20-2010
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
I prefer to charge per audio minute - it means the client will know up front exactly what the cost will be, plus it means I can make more money than an hourly rate.

I recently did a 32 minute audio file and it took me one hour (no I dont type at 200 wpm, it was very clear and a fairly slow speaker). With this client I would have been paid $25 an hour so effectively that's all I'd have got, but by charging per audio minute I got over $39.

It doesnt work with all clients as one of mine do audio plus they might have written notes, I basically charge them an hourly rate BUT this is one of my first clients and I'm happy to keep it that way. If I had a new client approach me that did similar I'd charge them per audio minute for the audio and then an hour rate for the written content.
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Old 08-24-2010
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
I multiply the length of the transcription by 5 i.e. if they dictate for 3 minutes - they are charged for 15. That is taking into account the additional time spent. I find it averages out - some you look up a lot of things, have problems etc / some you don't. Formatting initially is a necessary evil. Hopefully you will be able to save these and use them again - for repeat customers. -- I am interested in different ways of how people are getting paid virtually... also - watch out for those tests.
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Old 08-24-2010
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Default Re: Per hour, per project, per page, per line or per word
Originally Posted by debw241 View Post
I multiply the length of the transcription by 5 i.e. if they dictate for 3 minutes - they are charged for 15. That is taking into account the additional time spent. I find it averages out - some you look up a lot of things, have problems etc / some you don't. Formatting initially is a necessary evil. Hopefully you will be able to save these and use them again - for repeat customers. -- I am interested in different ways of how people are getting paid virtually... also - watch out for those tests.
That's a good way.

I agree, I find with per audio minute it averages out as some jobs you can whizz through and others seem to take forever!
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