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Old 02-08-2009
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Default 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?

--------------------
Lisa Salem
www.monarchva.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
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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