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Some GREAT info for MTSOs and ICs........

Posted By: Bianca on 2006-05-29
In Reply to:

Getting Paid on Time

By Brian O'Connell

Follow these tips on invoicing and collection procedures so you can get what you deserve--your payment.

Admit it: What entrepreneur hasn't felt like screaming obscenities at a late-paying client?

Who can blame you? In the otherwise nirvana-like world of the homebased business owner, getting paid is probably the biggest hassle of going solo. In the corporate world, whether you complete a project or not, you know you're going to get a check next payday, just like clockwork.

But when you run your own business, completing a project and getting paid for it are two completely different entities. Thirty days, 60 days, even 90 days go by after you submitted your invoice, and still no check. Demonic possession sets in as the weeks roll by.

"It's more of a problem today than it was 10 or 15 years ago," says Bennie Thayer, president and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Self-Employed. "We're becoming a nation of late payers as heavy debts force businesses to pay some bills one month while others are held over to the next."

So how can you speed up the payment process? Here are some strategies that successful entrepreneurs have been using for years to get paid on time:

  • Sign a contract. This may seem obvious, but it's critical if you want to set payment terms upfront. Too many small-business owners rely on verbal agreements when taking on work, and that's especially true for nascent homebased business owners, who are so happy to get the work that they don't want to jeopardize things by being too "demanding" of their new clients. That's a big mistake. Get a contract, and make sure it outlines the project and includes a provision of when you'll be paid. If the agreed-upon date passes, call your client and diplomatically point out that the due date for payment has come and gone. Then ask for an overnight delivery of the check if possible.

  • Shorten your billing cycles. While most vendors take 30- to 60-plus days to pay up, there's no reason why you can't add a line into your invoice that reads "Payment due within 14 or 21 days," including the specific date. That way, you have reason to call your contact at the client's office sooner rather than later to check on a payment. Once a client hears you say the check is late, that's usually enough to warrant a call to accounting and the likely processing of your check.

  • Rethink your invoices. Are your invoices too generic, too safe? While all invoices should include the client contact's name, the order number and the date the bill is due, don't stop there. Add a 5- or 10-percent penalty for late payments. Check and see if the client has a "favored vendors" list and then see if you can get on it. When you do, add your vendor number to the bill. And always list the project that you worked onósome clients simply need their memory jogged.

  • Get money upfront. As a writer, I've had good luck getting up to half the project fee paid upfront. Asking for an advance may seem "uncorporate" at first to some clients, but you're operating in a different world than your client. Positioning the request as a good faith gesture is a strong strategy. Chances are, you'll get it if you ask.

  • Join a union. Remember, there's always strength in numbers. So even a solo graphic artist or food caterer needn't go into the payment battles alone. Hundreds of unions exist that can help you track down deadbeat clients and get paid. Clients may snicker at a lone business owner, but they don't like facing down unions. Check your local chamber of commerce or log onto the SBA's website for more details.

  • Hire a bill collector. This is a real last resort. Once you hire a bill collector, the chances are remote that you'll ever work with the client in question again. Then again, if you're payment is seriously late (90 days or more), why would you want to? Collection agencies will garner anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of the payment fee, but at least you won't go home empty-handed. Bonus: The Better Business Bureau tracks late payments through collection agencies and documents them. So your diligence may keep others away from a deadbeat client.

  • Small claims court. Okay-a last, LAST resort. For $25, you can take your deadbeat client to small claims court. Payments in question are usually less than $15,000 (check out this site for the limit of what you can sue for in your state), but you don't need a lawyer, the hearings aren't that complicated, and you'll have justice on your side. Check your Yellow Pages under "local government" for help.

Remember, getting paid is how you pay the rent. It's your money, not the clients, and you've got a right to it. Don't be afraid to fight aggressively for what's yours.

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Thank you for this great info. nm
Great info
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great info
What great info! I can't find my BOS, so will probably have to purchase another, but am going to get a hold of Word 2003 and get that loaded right away.

I have been working for a clinic for 13 years and they are now going EMHR. I know I have my own style, but best move to the BOS. I guess this old dog needs to learn new tricks.

Thanks so much for the great detailed info!
Well, the 911 thing was that its not hooked up to my local 911 anymore, and has to go thru their emergency center, who will forward my info to my 911. Only danger is that if I can't speak, I might be sunk. I have anaphylactic reactions at times, so got a little nervous about that end.  But I've never been able to be kept quiet for long to date! ;-) Near death or not, I can still talk! Well, I guess I'll go along with it and give them a try. I love their ads, and the cost is great. I, too, always have the unlimited plans with other companies, which ALWAYS cost me more each month for no reason!! Thanks again! Happy Vonage!
Thanks for that great info. This is what I was hoping
from my current MTSO. I was looking at another company that requires their ICs to have this insurance. I guess the grass isn't always greener.........
great site - thanks for the info!
Has anyone worked for Rapid Text? Any info would be great
great info on Efraym Elliott Yamin
Vitamin catalogs are great for this info, too. Love Swanson's! nm
Yup ... smaller MTSOs, local MTSOs (sm)

local doctor's offices or clinics!  Don't get discouraged!!  :)

You are not wrong but in my opinion, you are giving them too much credit. The reason why they don't do what you ask is because most of them are not concerned with making your life easier; rather, they are more concerned with figuring out more ways to cheat you and to make your life more difficult. Then when you get disgusted and quit, they will just get somebody else in a very short time to replace you because you are very expendable. And it goes on and on in the same vicious cycle.
You know, there has to be a market between the dastardly corporate MTSOs and small transcription companies. It seems to me that if a talented, aggressive MT with a good business sense could find a way to create a "team" approach to the transcription business, perhaps one could find that niche and sell "team transcription" to good accounts that the MTSOs screw up and have cheated. After all, you have to believe that with the scandals in the transcription corporations - over billing, sending work over seas without informing the client, a lot of trust is lost by some of these unsatisfied accounts. I say, find a way to market to those clients in a "team group" and find the right price, somewhere a little lower than the MTSO charges and go after those accounts aggressively in a group. There is a market there you know.
more than most other MTSOs pay.
it is not kosher to share on public forums what a company pays.
I would not think many MTSOs would want to
No, it's not just the MTSOs (sm)

The actual doctors don't want to pay more than minimum wage for transcription either.  As an independent, I've had doctors balk at 12 cpl (which is BELOW what the MTSOs are getting, believe me) and I've lost business because I wouldn't take $6 an hour or what equated to 7 cents a line. 

So where am I at?  Making peanuts working for MTSOs who are getting 15+ cents per line as a middleman for these same kinds of physician while I'm making a paltry 7-8 cpl.  It's a no-win situation.


Help for new MTSOs? sm
I have questions about proposals, equipment, and what to charge in order to get started. Are there any web sites out there to help me in this? I have books that I have read, but they go over the basics of start-up MT services.

You should run this by the MTSOs and
see what they think.
This is why the MTSOs have gone so low
single mom, does not want to work away from home. I bet they love reading postings like yours. They have women where they want them, just lower the rates because these people are saying they cannot leave the house.
When MTSOs overhire, this is what happens:
There are actually MTs who work to support their family or supplement their income to meet the customary lifestyle. When MTSOs overhire, leaving the MT with very little work, I have observed this - Jobs are done hurriedly. When extra foot work is required (due to discrepancy in report, incomplete info provided, etc.), the MT who is desperately trying to meet their bills will skip the job or disregard the need to research and go on to the next job. This is extremely dangerous for everyone concerned. At times, it is weeks before the incomplete report is realized.

I do not fault the MT entirely. When the MTSO overhires, they are setting themselves up for this. I do believe 98% of us want to do a really good job, especially those who have been at this for years. But, I have noticed this more and more, and it will, MTSOs, come back and bite YOU.

When you have a dependable employee who can be counted on for production of a certain amount of work, provide that to them.

MTSO - When you get a new account and hire top shelf MTs initially to get the ball rolling and make a splashing impression, do not replace them with lower rate MTs afterwards - it is obvious when the company is hiring nonstop and they already have MTs sitting at home idle for hours at a time. And this creates, MTSO, the "disgruntled employee" who may make every attempt to ruin your reputation each time they can.

I have just come home after being in house for a few years and after three months, I see this happening with my company and, according to the board, it is widespread. It is an issue that needs addressed before someone, namely the patient, is hurt by it.

Unfortunately MTSOs now do good if....sm
they collect 15 cpl.  With the pressures from overseas vendors the pricing has dropped to 12-14 cpl.  In the "old" days (prior to say 5 years ago) the going rate was 20-25 cpl and of course companies could afford to pay 10-12 cpl easily. 
Wellll, I don't know about MTSOs, but JLG -- Please SM
was helping with our hospital transcription.

We got paid $1.50 a minute if we did 2500 minutes a month ($1.75 a minute for all minutes over 2500).

JLG got $3.25 a minute. I saw the bill. I saw it with my own eyes. I nearly fell over. And to boot, it was horrible transcription, FULL of ridiculous errors, blanks. And we had to convert the text files. It was such a bunged up mess.

I lost all my trust at all in the hospital since they were paying us HALF of what they paid a service. I even contacted JLG to see if I could hired to work on MY hospital's account. They were going to pay me 7 cpl. What a joke.
Any Medikin using MTSOs out there?
I am in the process of opening my own mid-sized transcription company.  I am still in the process of deciding what TASP to go with as I do not want the hassle of maintaining my own equipment.  I have been looking at Medikin's website and am very impressed with what they have to offer for the price.  If anyone is currently using or has used them in the past, could you please post your experience here. 
Good MTSOs are even
more difficult to find than good MTs.  Many of them have negative attitudes and expect indentured servitude in exchange for peanut wages.  Many of them have limited, at best, technical or MT knowledge.  We get tired of the ranting emails that don't even apply to us from a PMSing or menopausal females.  Disorganized, poor communication skills, cheap, selfish, zero management skills, lack of a formal education, lousy platform, personal life issues conflicting with job performance.  You'd be able to find good MTs if you were a good MTSO.
From an MTSOs standpoint

no, I'm not one ... just throwing a coin into the playing field ...

Wouldn't having only ICs working "for" a company mean less liability. IOW, if MQ phased out the SE status, could that take a potential monkey off their back?

OTOH, they can hire all the ICs they want, but if those ICs only work for MQ, they're still considered SEs ... correct?

small MTSOs

There's a great online resource for MTSOs of all sizes, varying benefits and pay, and variety of work.  It's called www.MTJobs.com.  Sign up to be on their mailing list.  There are usually at least 50 companies listed on each newsletter, which comes out twice a month.  Good luck in your search, and prayers for God's healing of your medical problems.  :)

To MTSOs or QA Managers
I recently took over QA for a small company just purchased.  Previously there had been essentially no QA rules.   If any of you could send me examples of how your QA is set up, the percentages you deduct for errors - common, critical, etc., it would be most appreciated.  Any rewards given for high QA or deductions would be appreciated as well.
Patti or other MTSOs...


Need to get my own account/s instead of relying solely on the national (guess who).  Getting a client in my area is probably the easy part.  The hard part is the logistics of software, paper, etc.  Not having dealt with this stuff working with a national, it is the *simple* things that are a mystery to me (and others, I suppose).  I hate to even inquire about transcribing for someone, not knowing what equipment I will need, what software, kinds of paper.  I am sure I would come across as an idiot (like right now, maybe?) 

OKay, well, I looked online at Dictaphone and it looks like there are mini, micro, and standard cassette units (not to mention digital online programs), so I guess you WOULD have to find out which the client prefers before investing in one, and I know you can get them on EBay, but what else? Does the software come with the transcriber? I don't suppose you can type them out in Word?  I suppose one can buy a medical spellchecker.  Then you need paper if you are going to print them out...what kind?  Anything else? There are so many variables.  I suppose I should first contact the two MTSOs that I know locally and ask for overflow work.  That way, they could help me learn about this stuff. 

No slamming, please. Very sensitive tonight as I just received a call from my Supervisor, very nicely hinting that I need to bring my line count up but, as we talked and now, hours later, I have *no jobs* on my screen.  Pretty hard to get that line count up with no jobs!

Thanks for any tutoring and/or advice. 


As a recruiter, it is nice to have the references already listed in the resume.
To all MTSOs. please help with answer..sm

I have been a Transcriptionist for 14 years and I am looking to become an Editor.  I have experience in many specialties.  The problem I have is most places want an experienced Editor to fill their positions - how do I get a chance to become an Editor without any experience.  I have asked my company that I work with now about a position but they too want an experienced Editor.  Please help!  My poor hands need a break. I love transcription field and want to stay in it.  I am just wondering how long my hands will hold out.  I have every resource that I need for the position - last year I bought the COMPLETE set of Stedman's reference materials because I know how important it is to have good, reliable reference materials. 

Any and all information would GREATLY be appreciated!  I am just looking for a company that will be honest with me as I will be with him.  I am easy to get along with but would really like a chance to go in this direction.

Thanks and hope you all are having a great weekend! 

don't feel sorry for MTSOs sm
the person I work for is making hundreds of thousands profit off all of us and I'm being paid higher than 8 cpl. Don't feel sorry for MTSOs
MTSOs...What, if any, TASP do you use?
I don't like the one I'm currently with and am looking for some other options. What do you like about yours? You may email me if you prefer.
Ungrateful MTSOs
I know how you feel. I worked this way for years. Just Friday night as I was at the end of a report, I got a call that my son had been in an accident and was being transported by ambulance to the hospital. I signed off the report and shot a quick email to my supervisor that I had to leave to go to the ER. I had a nice email the next day from both my supervisor, as well as our QA person inquiring as to how he was doing and not asking at all - "when are you going to be able to work again" that note was so very appreciated, as most that I have worked for would have only inquired as to when I would be up and running on "their" work again - their only thought being on how I wasn't producing during a bad personal time and how they couldn't afford for me to take too much time off. I appreciate you, for what that is worth, and I hope that you will one day find a compassionate MTSO to work with. There are some out there, but they are very few and far between. By the way - my son is going to have to have surgery, but his life is intact and we will get through this setback.
small MTSOs
Ditto. I am not at all happy with the nationals.
An exception to MTSOs
I see that my post has been removed.  Perhaps it was too inflammatory.  .  In all my "trying out" of companies across the board, I can say that there are a couple of exceptions to my  post about MTSO's.  One of them is the owner of Keystrokes.  I do appreciate this company for being above-board, line count appears to be accurate and  pay  is always correct and on time.  There are still a few good ones out there. 
Any in-house MTs or MTSOs...
...or MTs who used to work in-house, have doctors/clients who want you to call them by their first name and insist on it.  I'm in California, so I'm used to the first name stuff - though I was raised by "formal" parents who insisted that I call everyone by Mr. or Mrs. or Dr., saying I should do so even when I became an adult, particularly with customers or clients.  But I still want to keep it professional...just my pet peeve I guess. 
IC is just a ruse that MTSOs use so they don't have to
pay employment taxes, etc. I've never worked an IC job where I was truly an IC. They tell you there's 24 hour turnaround, but they really mean 8 hours or less. The MTSOs tell us how to do the work and with what equipment/software, when to work, etc. That is NOT an independent contractor! They expect you to sit there doing nothing if there's no work, but have a conniption fit if you need a day off. I went three years working six days a week without a day off.

The IRS definition of an IC is "Who is an Independent Contractor? A general rule is that you, the payer, have the right to control or direct only the result of the work done by an independent contractor, and not the means and methods of accomplishing the result."
MTSOs - Need hep with new account please....SM

I had my meeting with the office manager of my new account.  With the system I use now for my other account (Word-based), the front desk receives my completed transcription via a secure transfer program, downloads it, and prints it.


The problem I have is the new office wants eight computers to have access to the dictation.  With the way things are now that would mean all eight would have to download the transcription in order to have access to it.  This would work, but I do not feel it is the easiest thing for them to do and I want to retain this account, so I want to find something that is easier that would allow all eight to have access to the dictation.


I believe what Iím looking for is something more like a web-based program where I could upload the dictation and then the eight people could have access to the dictation that way.  Iím not familiar with FTP sites or what other options are out there.  What I need is a way to transfer my files to the office where all eight people/computers could have access to it, make any changes if needed to the dictation where all eight people would then have access to the final dictation.  Does anyone have any ideas?  Iím totally willing to put a little money into this, but I just donít know where to begin.  Are there any MTSOs out there who use a program that sounds like it fits my needs or any ideas to guide me in the right direction.


Any help/ideas would be greatly appreciated.  TIA

You sound like most MTSOs who don't

Experienced MTs are worth their weight in gold because they can produce and produce fast. 

An inexperienced MT needs to be molded and shaped and in no way can produce the amount of work an experienced MT. 

Just in those two sentences I've summed up my opinion of this industry at this stage in the game with formal training way before AAMT came about and producing quality documents. 

It's do or die! 

It's sink or swim! 

All of this hogwash you've typed is a waste of time.  Offshoring is going on because it's cheap labor and not because they're good or put forth effort. 

The amount of knowledge and skill comes from transcribing real documents by real dictators and not by books or prefab practice sets. 


This is all, of course, JUST MY OPINION!  I'm making loads of money in this field because I have the skill set and the only feedback I want is from the physician himself!  Thanks and have a nice day! 

Yes, like why do MTSOs allow padding to
Question for ICs or MTSOs

I'm curious (for those of you who wouldn't mind posting anonymously) what do you charge for various types of transcription services?


Hospitals vs. MTSOs
I am applying at both a hospital for a prn position and with an MT company for part time work. I have the option to work in-house with the hospital, which I may do because I have to drive 25 miles to the city to bring my kids to their preschool anyway.  My question is, what are some of the differences between working for a hospital and working for a company?  (Pros and cons for each)  I have less than 2 years experience, and some of that time was spent doing chiropractic transcription, so I am concerned that I might need more experience or training for the hospital work.  Is it more difficult to work for a hospital?  Thanks in advance for any comments.  
sorry- we love our MTSOs
I was questioning how MTs say that they can type 1200+ lines a day thinking they must get spaces.

I love the company I work for and would never trade the owner for her job. I know she is available 24/7 and I wouldn't wish that on anyone-not worth any amount of money to me.

Yes, I do love the freedom of being an IC. I would like to know if my counts are in the ball park if they are 100-110 lph/no spaces or if that is low. I use a lot of Expanders and have always felt the amount of work I do is adequate but sometimes not so much when others are saying they do so much more.
Are there really MTSOs out there that pay .12 to .14 a line?
I am maxed out at .095 a line for incentive pay at 18,000-20,000 lines per pay period. TIA for any information!!
the same is true for MTSOs as MTs
If you are not getting compensation, why are you staying in the business? Quit griping and do something constructive. The MTSOs are losing ground just like the MTs so get over yourself.
Most MTSOs have not updated their
platforms, programs, etc. That is why so many also do not use Vista.
that's where the MTSOs should ALL get backbones and
tell these accounts to get their Docs in a row or pay a percentage for difficulty and increase the turnaround time by 2 hours for for quality.

Some MTSOs pay a CMT premium.

I agree....be mad at the MTSOs
that are looking for ways to increase their profits. 
With some MTSOs, Vista is not
compatible and therefore you have to have XP to work.
And the MTSOs say there's a shortage of
But yet they can't understand why.  Go figure. 
no its the MTSOs and "production pay" sm
that have turned this into an assembly line business. The MTs are just doing what the MTSOs demand and these so-called schools keep pushing.