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Typing Tips: Billing per audio minute

If you aspire to be an excellent virtual assistant offering typing services, we’re running a series of tips on how to impress your clients.  Keep an eye out every Tuesday in the coming weeks!!!

  • Billing per audio minute

This is one I’ve not personally done – but knowing what the bill is going to be helps clients’ budgets.  You might want to consider a per audio minute rate for work rather than per hour, especially if you know you regularly complete work faster than most other typists (you’ll be doing yourself out of some cash otherwise!).  But you do need to consider what happens if the tape is poor quality audio.

See also  Typing Tips: The discount shopper


  1. Steph Middleton on 19 March, 2013 at 9:20 am

    I think many clients prefer to know exactly how much the job is going to cost. The way I bill people depends on the client. For typing only clients, I bill per minute and in most cases, the client asks to be billed this way. For regular customers that use me for other VA work too, the typing work is billed at an hourly rate with the rest of their work as this just makes things easier. In terms of things like poor audio quality, I make it clear to the client that the price is based on good audio quality, and I have a higher rate per minute for a large number of speakers or poor audio quality to account for the additional time it will take to type up.

  2. Carole Meyrick on 19 March, 2013 at 9:31 am

    I’ve done both, and prefer to charge an hourly rate. Clients are given a fact sheet about Office Stuff’s audio transcription service, and I make it clear that the ‘industry standard’ allows for approximately 1 hour to transcribe a good-quality 15 minute recording, so clients do have a general idea of the cost. If the audio quality is poor, clients are immediately warned that the transcription will cost more because it’s taken longer to do. Charging by the hour seems simpler to me, and I was never comfortable with a per minute rate.

    Horses for courses?

  3. Kerry Field on 19 March, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Yes like Steph the majority of my clients prefer upfront costs with the proviso that if the audio quality is poor additional fees may be incurred. We offer tips on how to provide good quality audio files and the clients wishing to stick to the standard fees adhere to this. It is surprising what can be accomplished when concerns over higher fees are involved!

    I have found that this method also enables me to easily share workload with other VAs during busy periods to keep clients happy. However, I am not adverse to the option of an hourly rate but it has not been something frequently requested.

  4. Heather Greig on 19 March, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    I too prefer charging by the ‘audio minute’ as it provides a much clearer pricing structure for both myself and the client.

    During busy times it also allows me to outsource work to Associates without having to worry about typing speeds as they know exactly what they will be paid and the TAT expected – it’s up to them then to meet the deadline.

    My pricing structure for audio work is based on “Single Speaker”, “2/3 Speakers” and “Multiple Speakers (including legal work)”. The client is always pre-advised of the possibility of an increase in the cost if there are any serious issues found with the quality of the recording.

    I recently quoted for some audio work with a local company and they decided to go for a competitor using an ‘hourly rate’ – you might be interested in their follow-up comment:-

    “We have got the transcription done as we got what was initially a cheaper price but then turned into a more expensive price than your own (but as they already had the files we just went ahead and got the transcription through them). ”

    At the end of the day you need to be flexible and be willing to adapt to your customers needs.

  5. Caroline on 20 March, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    It’s tricky because I know that some people speak very clearly and slowly and I’ll be able to do them in maybe 2.5 times the audio including checking and others might need loads of formatting, rattle through like a steam train and not spell any tricky placenames… All of which means it takes me longer to check.

    I still think the fairest way is to bill for how long it takes rather than per audio minute. But I do usually quote how long I think it’s going to take and will always flag with them if it’s taking longer.

  6. Society Of Virtual Assistants April Newsletter on 29 March, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    […] month saw a big response to our Typing Tips – and sparked a pricing debate!  Join in here.  We’ll be continuing to post Typing Tuesdays and Marketing Fridays for the next wee while […]

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