One of the most frequent questions/feature requests we get is support for post-payment. We require payment to be made upfront for all transcript orders and for a lot of our customers, that is not an option. This requirement leads to a lot of questions and in this blog post we will explain why we do not/cannot support it.
A typical transcription firm operates like this. They have transcribers (local or remote) on their payroll and pay them a monthly salary. They also have some customers whom they invoice on a monthly or quarterly basis. The transcribers are paid the salary with the money received from the invoices. This is the typical services-based business model.
We are not that kind of transcription firm. Our business model is entirely different. We do not have transcribers on our payroll. Instead all our transcribers are actually home-based freelancers located all across the globe and paid on a hourly basis. Our full time staff consists of only Proofreaders and QA’s who do the deliveries. Since we do not pay our transcribers a salary, supporting post-payment requires us to either delay the payment made to our transcribers or underwrite them.
Delayed payments is not really an option. That would mean months of waiting before a transcriber receives the payment for the work done. Freelancers do not like that. In fact, our immediate payment is one of the important reasons why a lot of freelancers come to us. We don’t have artificial barriers to keep them away from their hard earned money. If we implement delayed payments, it will seriously affect our ability to bring in new transcribers into our system, which we do not want to do.
Covering the cost of transcription instead is a preferable option. But it also introduces overheads costs, which in turn affects our transcription rate. One of the reasons why our rate is lower than the industry standard is because we keep our overheads low. The transcription industry averages at $3 per audio minute whereas we charge $1.50 per audio minute. We also do not have any dedicated marketing or administrative staff. Charging our customers in advance is just a more efficient way and we can pass on the cost benefit directly to our customers.
Our model is something very new for the transcription industry, but very prevalent on the web. We are not even a transcription firm in the traditional sense. We are more like a platform which connects people having audio transcription work to freelancers who can do the work, in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The customers do not have to pay a high rate or wait for a week to get the transcript, and the transcribers can work at their convenience and get paid immediately. Our transcription system and the workflow ensures that the quality of the transcript is guaranteed.
Unfortunately, we lose a lot of customers because of this requirement. A lot of times pre-payment is simply not possible. We know that and we also know that it is something we have to support eventually. We are still in very early stages and there is a long way for us to go. We sincerely hope that someday we will be able to support post-payment. Till that time, we hope that our model has enough allure to make you pre-pay once and try out our transcription service.