7/97: A very good client of mine has recently converted over to an electronic medical record which consists of 20% more typed information on each page. I have told them that I cannot continue to charge per page due to the condensed format of their pages now. We have recently had to change over to Word from Word Perfect and many other specifics just for their internally designed electronic record. I have submitted a proposal for billing on a per word basis as I feel this is the fairest way and would like your advice on what the "normal" per word rate charge in this industry currently is. Most of my clients are charged either by the page or the line, however have no specific needs involved, such as dictating what software I use, etc. There was also a startup involved with this client involving nine of my transcriptionists. I would just like to have some "backup" information on charging per word, and some sample rates, in case I need to support this method. Thanks for your help. S. Phil
What would be wrong with taking this opportunity to standardize your billing to 65-character lines? Nothing that I can think of can be more fair, as 65 characters is ALWAYS 65 characters and nobody can argue that your words should be five characters, or six characters, or whether you should count indents, or whether you get to count numerals that stand alone as words, etc, etc. If you won't go along with that, how about using it as a basis for determining your per-word charge? Will you count actual words, as in any group of letters followed by a space (or punctuation and a space), or a specific number of characters, five or six or ten or something? If you go with the actual words, different dictators will "cost" more or less depending on their speaking style; the harder ones to follow and transcribe may actually be the ones you bill less for because they pack a lot of "meat" in the words they use. Also you will be encouraging your transcriptionists to make their transcripts much more wordy if you allow them to charge for every "and" or "the". I think a cleaner transcript results if the transcriptionist is looking at the whole product rather than getting every last word possible in there.
If you're going to set so many characters as a word, then you might as well just go with the simpler character count and line count rather than messing with words. Maria S