Transcriptions – are the costs too low!

As Virtual Assistants there are many areas of work that our duties cover, one such area that seems to get overlooked or abused is providing transcription services. Are the cost of transcription services soo low that VAs are giving away their services.

Rate this:

TranscriptionAs Virtual Assistants there are many areas of work that our duties cover, one such area that seems to get overlooked or abused is providing transcription services.  Are the cost of transcription services  low that VAs are giving away their services.

I personally do a  lot of transcriptions and enjoy doing them. Some of the topics can be very informative and interesting and at times quite fun to just listen to. I have transcribed for meetings, Ebooks, seminars, and teleconferences. However not all jobs come from my current client list so I have to go out in search of work, which brings me to the topic of this post.

Very recently while going through a freelance sites, which is one of the many places or ways that VAs get their projects, I came upon a startling trend, buyers requesting VAs to transcribe 60 minutes of audio for $5.  Another I saw stated “a premium of $10”.  Now as an experienced transcriber of more than 5 years this rate is unacceptable. Do prospective clients or buyers really know what goes into creating their transcripts? The time, research, and skill that an experienced transcriber brings to the table to ensure that their files are created as required.  Clients who request the services of a transcriber should be made aware that although this service can be found for those prices in some places, to have an experienced english speaking, experienced transcriber will require more of an incentive than $10 per hour.

In addition to the low service cost they seek, they also want a VA to provide the files within a certain time frame, which was unrealistic.  VAs please when using freelance sites try your best to vet your prospective clients and check out if they have used the site before, or worked with other provides and read the comments left, they are always good indicators to show if  you can or are willing to work with that client.

Remember transcriptions come in many forms and grades and if you can provide your service for $5 or $10 then that’s great for you but be realistic about the resources you used to provide that transcript and weigh the costs then.

Happy prospecting and enjoy the weekend.

Althea  @ VYPA


Thank you for your comments. I feel that as VAs we should sometimes just make these buyers aware that such rates are simply not acceptable.  I’m pleased to see that I’m not alone in feeling this way about some of the rates being offered.
Thank you for reading.


4 thoughts on “Transcriptions – are the costs too low!

  1. Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this site.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very
    difficult to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and appearance.
    I must say you’ve done a awesome job with this. Additionally, the blog loads super quick for me on Chrome.
    Superb Blog!

  2. Karen and Althea, I agree with you both, the rates are “highway robbery” at its best. I am amazed when I see such postings. Elance users are not thinking about the bigger picture when it applies to rates per audio hour. I saw that post offering $5 per 60 minute audio and decided to move away from it as it was not good for my health, lol.


  3. Althea,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Top-notch transcription is much more than merely typing words on a page.

    Often, clients are seeking a product that they can readily offer as part of their entire package.

    Knowing that a standard transcription takes about four to six hours for every audio hour, I am continually shocked by these incredibly low rates offered on sites like Elance and Guru.

    Did you actually see someone who was offering $5 to transcribe a full hour of audio? Even if that person just sat there and listened to that audio, they would be paid $5. What’s up with that?

    I strongly recommend that talented transcriptionists ignore these types of laughable rates and focus on the realistic clients.

    For example, I just posted an opening for a starting rate of $50 per audio hour on Elance. It’s no wonder that I received almost 50 responses. It will take me a while to review each candidate and make my decision, but at least I’m hoping to attract those who think they are worth it on a trial basis.

    Those jobs at $5 to 10 per audio hour? Ignore, ignore, ignore!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s