“You are far more expensive than your competitors, so I won’t be proceeding at this stage. With transcription, there’s not really much variance in what you get for the cost, so the decision is quite easy.”
This was an actual response from a prospective client after I had outlined our fees for professional transcription.
While it annoyed me at the time, this is not the first (and I don’t expect it to be the last) incidence of someone questioning the rates charged for our service. Yes, there are less expensive options (and also more expensive options), but I thought it was worth explaining what it is that makes up the rates charged for the transcription service TTP offers.
Those who have ever transcribed audio will know a good recording often takes around 4-5 times the length of the recording to transcribe its contents. More difficult audio with bad quality recording, technical subject matter, lots of background noise, several people speaking or difficult accents will take even longer. Questioning a transcription service in this way diminishes how labour intensive transcription and proofreading actually is.
Many of The Transcription People’s competitors offer transcription only, whereas we include proofreading as part of our service. This means any recording transcribed by TTP has been read by the transcriptionist and at least one other person before it is sent back to the client. And all this is usually done within 24 hours. If you choose to go with a less expensive service, do it with the knowledge you are compromising on quality for a ‘better’ price.
Over the 14 years I have been running TTP, clients have left and come back, saying they tried transcriptionists operating outside Australia and offering lower fees, but the quality was not there. They’ve told us the document had to be retyped because words were mistyped – or missed altogether. Where is the saving in that? Paying for a service and then having to do it again yourself to get it right is crazy. There is even a difference in accents within Australian states, which affects transcription quality and geographical accuracy!
Regardless of how unprofessional it was for this prospective client to even respond with a comment like that, it makes me wonder whether they were after professional transcription or simply words typed on a page; I wouldn’t walk into my bank and say something similar regarding a difference in fees or interest rates amongst their competitors! It shows a lack of understanding of the work involved in offering the service in the first place.
I value my time, and that of my team, but most of all I value quality and that is why proofreading is included in every transcription we transcribe. To truly compare TTP’s rates with another transcription business, a client must look at quality, accuracy and timeliness in addition to price. Making a decision based purely on price negates the three earlier factors, so the real question to ask is: ‘How vital is the information in the recording?’ And if it’s not important, why do you need it transcribed?