Turnaround Topsy Turvy

History Meets Reality.

A recent Facebook post gave me a great idea about a worthwhile blog post. It would be a violation of the Great Stenographer Code of 1929 to post someone’s Facebook stuff without their permission, so for this lesson we’ll hijack the words that that person used, which is just a little less of a violation of the exact same code.

Anonymous wrote… “how turn-around times have eroded over the years. It was 30 days when I first started reporting. Then 2 weeks, some firms 8 days, some 7, and some trying now for 5. Bull… How do they think we can turn a quality transcript around that fast yet witnesses still need a full 30 days to read and sign?”

Indeed, it is true, from every scrap of anecdotal evidence I have come across, that our turnaround times are expected to be faster and faster in this modern world. That said, we are very lucky in that generally we operate as independent contractors, and are free to politely and professionally negotiate new terms for ourselves at any given point.

Consider The Following.

When thinking about your turnaround times and what kind of relationship you want with a company, you should consider the following ideas:

  1. At what rate can you comfortably complete assignments? Try to account for unexpected delays.
  2. Is your regular turnaround time too close to your expedited and daily turnaround times? For example, if your regular turnaround time is expected in seven days, an expedite of five days is less valuable.
  3. How far apart are your turnaround time expectations from your company’s turnaround time expectations? A good turnaround time may be somewhere squarely in the middle of the two expectations. For example, if you want a regular turnaround time of 30 days and they want one of seven days, then perhaps it is advisable to come down to 14 days.
  4. It is generally legal for reporting firms to tell you that your regular orders must be in within seven days and then upcharge a lawyer for a seven-day expedite. Knowing this is a possibility, you might question whether or not adhering to tight deadlines on regulars is leaving you at risk of being taken advantage of.

As with all things, it pays to be smart about picking and choosing your battles. For example, if your company demands that work be turned in on the eighth business day after the deposition, but you always turn it in on the ninth, and they don’t give you any trouble or indication that it’s a problem, it will not help you to launch into a turnaround time negotiation, because you are already de facto getting what you want.

No one can tell you with any lasting authority what to charge or how to complete your work, but it is always worth examining your practices, ensuring that they make sense, deciding that they work for you, and adjusting them when they are not working.

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