How to Set Your General Transcription Rates

Published: 02nd March 2009
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While some medical and legal transcription rates may be based on the typed line, rates for general transcription are usually based on the audio minute or audio hour - the amount of recorded material in a particular audio file and those rates can vary depending on the type of material, the content or even the industry the audio files are coming from.

For instance, some audio files may be from an individual who dictated notes for a novel or personal journal, while transcript projects may require a lot of industry specific research for terms and phrases outside of normal everyday language. So while some transcriptionists may set their rates according to complexity and research time, others simply charge a flat rate no matter what the content or how complex it is. It just makes for easier bookkeeping in the long run.

Many beginning transcriptionists set their transcription rates at the lower end of the scale to get started in the business, then increase their rates according to their level of experience and proficiency in the field.

But whether you're setting your rates as a business owner or you're looking to take on overflow work from a larger transcription company, you want to make sure you're getting paid a decent rate without undercharging or shortchanging yourself just because you're new to the field. You certainly don't want to work for less than minimum wage just because you're new to general transcription.

So use this basic formula to get a range in mind of what you should charge new clients or what you should be looking for in the way of taking on overflow work:

  • It may take a new transcriptionist anywhere from five to seven hours to transcribe a one-hour audio file, including research for industry specific terms and phrases.

  • I personally believe you really should not be earning less than $10 per typing hour today. General transcription is a career. It's not just a "typing from home job," and it deserves better than minimum wage. Most larger transcription companies that outsource their corporate transcription pay about $40 to $45 per audio hour, which by industry standards at four hours to type one hour of audio, that comes out to about $10 per typing hour. So that should be the absolute minimum you should charge your clients or the least amount you should accept in payment for overflow work. Once you've moved beyond the "entry level" stage you should be charging a lot more per hour.

  • So to earn at least in the range of $10 per typing hour, figure out the minimum length of time it takes you to transcribe one audio hour, then multiply that by $10. As you get faster and more proficient, you'll begin to get higher paying clients and you can start raising your transcription rates accordingly.

Again, remember, general transcription is not just a type at home job. It is a career choice and compensation for your time should be no less than if you were doing transcription in someone else's office.

About the Author: Karen Musselman owns The General Transcription Business Guide website, which provides information, tips and ideas to get you started in general transcription, including the tools you need and how to advertise your business.

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