How to Set Bid Amounts for Transcription

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It can be difficult to know exactly how to set your bids for transcription projects. Too much and you know that the employer won’t be interested in hiring you; too little and either it isn’t worth the time or effort to do, or you won’t look professional and risk losing the job. It’s always worth checking first what other people are bidding and what other, similar projects have been awarded for.

Once you've determined the range that other people have set, there are several ways you could choose to set your bid amounts. First you need a good idea of how much audio the employer needs transcribed; if they haven’t specified, then it’s probably too risky to bid based on the project budget. People often think that transcription is going to be easy, and thus undervalue your services. Always ask for a clarification of how long the file is!

Rate per Audio Minute

A common way of setting your rate on other sites is to set a rate per audio minute. For example, mine is £0.80 per audio minute, meaning that for a ten minute file, I would typically earn £8. It’s worth pointing out that this is fair to both parties: if you take unexpectedly long to transcribe the file, you still get paid the same as if you finished it in twenty minutes. Your employer won’t have to pay an excess amount of hours, and you’re guaranteed a fair price for your work.

Once you know the length of the file to be transcribed, it’s easy to multiple it by your rate per audio minute, and then you can make a bid. Don’t forget to include the fee!

Estimate Hours to Completion

If you have a good idea of how long it takes you to transcribe a given length of audio, then you can estimate an overall length of time it’ll take you to complete and set a fair price on that amount of work. For example, I can complete 20 minutes of audio in 60 minutes of work. The current national minimum wage where I live is £6.50 per hour, so I’d want to set my rate for an hour’s work a little over that.

The problem with this method is that you may find the file is more difficult than you expected, and takes you a lot longer.

Work by the Hour

Ask your employer if you can work for an hourly wage. Set this to something fair per hour, as in the last example, and then use an app like Freelancer’s own Desktop App to track your working time. An app like Freelancer’s increases trust between you, as it allows your employer to check that you are completing the work in a timely fashion and not billing them for time spent doing something else, while you can easily create invoices with the click of a button.

Freelancer app example


Make sure you explain to your employer how you set your rate, whichever method you use. It allows them to check on what you say and to be more knowledgeable about the amount of work you’re putting in. It will help you negotiate a fair wage for the valuable work you do!

Gepostet 1 September, 2015

Nicole Walters

Transcriptionist - Proofreader - Writer

I carefully choose projects I know I have the time, expertise and interest in completing. When I make a bid, I have already scheduled the work I could do for you. I currently work for the transcription company, Global Lingo, on a freelance basis, and I have previously worked for Dr Crockett of Dewsbury Hospital. I have a wide range of experience in transcription, research, writing and data entry ...

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