We proofread because that’s what we love to do — our brains are wired to find errors and fix them!
But what’s even better than proofreading itself?
Getting paid to proofread!
I don’t do free proofreading, and I don’t teach my students to work for free either.
When you go through my intensive course, Learn How to Be a Transcript Proofreader, you’re going to learn some valuable skills. Skills that your court reporters will appreciate and be more than happy to pay you for because they know how hard you work and how invaluable you are to them. Your hard work is worth getting paid for!
How much money you can make as a transcript proofreader
So let’s talk about what kind of money you have the potential to make as a transcript proofreader.
To do that, let’s start with what goes into the pricing considerations of transcript proofreading. (We’ll cover rates, turnaround times, how to invoice, all that good stuff in plenty of detail inside my transcript proofreading course so you’re thoroughly prepared. For now, let’s just get an overview.)
There are 6 factors that go into how much money you can make per month as a transcript proofreader.
- Number of clients you work with: More clients means more jobs!
- Number of pages you proof: Transcripts are billed per page, so the more pages you have to proof, the more you make.
- Turnaround times for your jobs: The faster a transcript needs to be turned back in, the more you charge. So if you do a lot of rush jobs, you’re going to make a lot more than standard/normal turnaround jobs.
- Types of jobs you get: Technical jobs can cost more per page.
- Your average proofreading speed: Your pace will determine how many jobs you can fit in a day. Someone proofing 50 pages an hour will make less than someone who can proof 80+ pages. Side note: No proofreader, regardless of the niche, should be a speed reader on a proofreading job. Usually when people start proofreading transcripts, their speed is pretty slow, and it will increase as they get more experience. (I have training to help you proofread more efficiently!)
- How much time you want to spend proofreading: The more you proof, the more you get paid. You set how much you want to work as a transcript proofreader! That means if you want to proof alongside your full-time job or if you want to make proofing your full-time job, you can do whichever you prefer. I’ve gone back and forth between part-time and full-time proofing depending on what income I need.
- BONUS — Time of year: I don’t count this directly as a factor because it’s not always the case with every court reporter, but work can slow down around major holidays and then ramp back up again so that can affect how much you make in a month too. (It can also get a lot busier around holidays — it all depends on your court reporters and if you want to work around holidays or not!)
As the boss of your own proofing business, you are in control of how many clients you want and how much you want to work. Build up clients until you’re bringing in the income you want depending on whether you want to work a few hours a week or a few hours a day. It’s an awesome feeling being in control of your schedule!
Because of these 6 factors, I can’t say exact numbers for what you will absolutely make in a month or a year. However, I can say a transcript proofreader who makes $50k-ish in a year is considered to be very successful. Most transcript proofreaders prefer to fit their jobs in around their family and/or other jobs, and can comfortably bring in a couple hundred to a couple thousand a month. It all depends on you and what you prefer!
Here are some screenshots of invoice amounts I’ve billed for so you can see real-life numbers! I tried to dig back to my very first invoices, but apparently I didn’t keep great records back then (I show you inside my course the easiest way to keep track of your invoices so you don’t make my mistake!), but here’s one of the earliest months I could find proofreading for court reporters. I was working a full-time job plus a couple other side jobs when I started proofing, so four clients + this kind of income in a month was exciting for me. (I use last names as part of invoicing, so I grayed them out for my CRs’ privacy.)
One month I had a client whose invoice was nearly a thousand dollars! And that’s just one of the CRs I proofed for that month! That’s a lot of proofing and that does not happen all the time, but it’s an example of what’s possible! Here’s a screenshot from the payment notification I got:
To be realistic, I’ve also invoiced clients for amounts like this:
And here’s a month with several of my consistent clients when I did full-time proofreading (I’m a part-time proofer now). Look how each court reporter has a different amount — their workloads all vary, along with turnaround time requests and technicality of their transcripts.
A big question I get is, Should I quit my job to learn how to be a transcript proofreader? What I suggest to everyone, regardless of their income goals, is to never quit your current job until you learn how to proofread and have your business set up. Then settle into it to see how you like it and what you’re comfortable doing. It’s totally doable to take on one or two clients at the start to see what it’s like, and if you like that part-time income, stick with it! If you think you can grow it more, keep growing it until you’re at a spot where financially you can take the leap to quit.
What kind of schedule and income are you wanting as a transcript proofreader? Let me know in the comments!