How to Price Your Home Based Transcription Business
Perhaps one of the most challenging facets in the area of home based transcription
is pricing. When you are starting there really is no standard table or chart. The
nature of a home based business pits you against cheap outsourced labor in India,
entrepreneurs in their undies typing away at a home computer, and professionals in
bricks and mortar offices in the States just to name a few.
Tough questions need to be examined in order to set up a fee structure and set
pricing to be competitive. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your
competition's strengths and weaknesses? What does your competition charge? Where
are you at in your transcription career? How many work hours does it take you to
transcribe an hour of audio?
Before you consider making a bid or accepting an offer on a transcription job,
sit down and transcribe a single hour of audio. Time yourself. You do not have
to work continuously - that's one of the pluses of doing it yourself. If you
need to take Rufus out for a walk or take the kids to the soccer game, deduct
that time accordingly. Once you've calculated the number of hours it takes to
complete an hour of transcription, you are ready to create a fee structure.
On a side note, most transcriptionists use the estimate of three hours of work
for a single hour of audio. It's not set in stone, but it is an excellent guide.
You would be surprised at the number of people who start out "cold" in the
bidding selection process. They figure if they type 100-120 words per minute and
an hour of audio represents roughly 8,000-10,000 words, then they are looking at
around an 1 1/2 hours to complete the project. So, they make an outlandish offer
of something like $60 for a six audio hour project rationalizing their decision
that "it's a starting point".
When reality sets in, deadlines are missed, and money, time and work are
forfeited. The buyer then pays a premium to a real transcriptionist to "rescue"
the project, and quite often the disillusioned transcriptionist quits the field
before they actually even had a chance to start. All this is sidestepped with a
transcription test run. If you are new, do it!
Next, if you are just starting off, it is perfectly acceptable to undercut the
competition and the average going rate. In fact I did exactly this when I first
started my transcription business, www.infoaces.com. You have to make it
appealing and worthwhile for a buyer to consider your services.
You need the first few jobs to get yourself established, develop a reputation,
and garner some feedback and testimonials. However, no matter how much you want
the job, make sure that it's at least marginally worthwhile for you to do. You
don't want to be working for $1.00 an hour or sometimes less because you
underestimated the demands of the job!
Competition is a major factor. Know your competition. Out-sourcing in India is
booming. Indians will work for pennies on the dollar, and they work hard, fast,
and professionally. It's a great deal for them and for their employer. So, what
can you do to compete against foreign out-sourcing?