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Serving Over 20,000 US Medical Transcriptionists

Want to start my own small business, need advice..sm

Posted By: Shari Pierce on 2008-04-07
In Reply to:

Hi all.  I am looking to get started doing some transcribing on the side for myself, and perhaps turn it into a small business.  Right now, I only have the capabilities of doing tapes and using Word as my software to transcribe in.  I feel like I should look into digital and see how much the equipment would run, and how easy it would be to use.  Does anyone have any recommendations on something that is relatively inexpensive for a beginner? Should I stick to my guns and start out with tapes first?  Any advice would certainly be appreciated.  I have been doing this for 16+ years and I feel like I shouldn't have any problems getting some local work drummed up.  I am getting ready to type up some letters to send out and I guess I will go from there.  Thanks in advance!!!!

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Any small MT business owners in CA out there? I need advice!!

I'm looking start up my own small bus., just a couple accounts, but I need to know if there are any HIPAA contracts or anything else that I should be providing for the doctor and myself to sign.  Any advice would be truly appreciated!!

Thnx, Rachel

I need some advice on starting my own small side business. sm

First of all, I have worked for several nationals in the past few years, and equipment has always been provided.  I currently have a f/t position with a national that I use my own personal computer for, they just put their software on it.  I had what I needed already, as far as foot pedal, Expander program, etc.

I have just been sort of rolling ideas around in my head about possibly starting up something small perhaps on a p.r.n. basis just to bring in a little extra income.  As I am still just mulling this around in my mind, my questions are:  How do I go about getting started? Do I try to purchase equipment first, or start out using tapes? I am worried about spending the money and not having any takers, so I am thinking, I should send out some sort of letters first; but, without having the equipment already, how do I tell them I plan on doing their transcription.  Maybe mention tapes first, and tell them I have plans to go digital after I get up and running? These are all just things I wonder about.  If anyone has any ideas, please feel free to email me with any advice. 

I have been an MT for 16+ years, but as I said, I have always had all of the stuff provided for me and just don't know how to start. 

Thanks in Advance!


As an IC, you are your own small business. As a

contractor you have NOT been in their emloyment.  You have worked as contract labor for them, whether it be 1 month, 1 year or 5 years.  They owe you absolutely nothing at any point in time of the contract.  However, should you contact their clients (as you mentioned below), there can be legal repercussions for you so I would seriously think twice about this before going forward.

As an IC, it seems you would know that you should not put all of your eggs in one basket. I would bet that most of us that are IC's work for at least 2 companies.  For the ones that don't, they probably work for 1 company and have their own accounts, OR better yet have all their own accounts.

TAT is of the utmost importance.  It only takes twice with me and I won't send anymore work to that particular IC anymore, which is my option.  I might give them a second chance IF their work was top notch.

Small Business
According to what I read on the internet regarding corps, yes you can and you can be the only employee under I believe the S-corporation.  There are C-corps, S-corps, partnerships, proprietorships and LLCs.  That is the way I read the info.  Reading all info gives me a headache, members, stocks, annual meetings, and so on.   Yuck!  Really do not know if it is worth it.  If you go to MTT Jobs, I have noticed that many, many companies are now requesting employee status.  At first I thought it was so they could have control over you, now second guessing. They may not have a choice in the matter.
I just want to start out small for now
maybe just 1 or 2.  I still would work for my present company. Thanks for the good luck bit!  that never hurt anyone!  Have a good evening.  The office is on.  Yeah!
Just became IC myself. Do I need a small business license?
Small Local MT Business
Hi Rachel,

What part of California are you in, and are you looking for any partners?

If so, please e-mail me.
I use Turbo Tax Small Business - sm

It will walk you through everything and prepare a schedule C for you as well.  I would recommend this if you are going to prepare your own taxes. 

start up business
I've be MT for about 3 years working at home for another person who gets the clients.  I want to break off on my own but I'm unsure how to approach a dr office.  Don't know the 1st thing about contracts, equipment needed, negotiation, etc.  Can anyone help me.  I really want to start very small and expand.  I currently get all file through FTP but would be willing to pick up tapes if local.  Thanks for any help! 
start up business
Thanks for the info... I will check that out!
Business start up
I was wondering about this too.  I am not sure how to go about it but I hear there are some good programs on bytescribe.  That is what I have been told by a few people who have their own clients.  I wish I knew how to go about it all but I am not too sure, if you need more help or something, I might be interested.  Where are you from?
Independent Contractor vs. Small Business?

I am negotiating a contract with a clinic to be one of two transcriptionists.  I have typed for this clinic for several years as a sub-contractor, but the current contract holder is not renewing the contract.  The clinic's lawyer is not comfortable with "Independent contractor" as the contract would be for one year and for the usual questionable definition of an IC. 

I tried to research this and just became more and more confused.. so I hope I can get a little advice here..  I do not want to be employed by the clinic - I prefer to be self-employed.  Do I make myself a small business and get a license?  I do plan to meet with my accountant to ask some questions, but I was hoping to get a little info here so that I would not sound completely stupid!  (Doesn't seem as bad to sound stupid here rather than in person!)  I am used to getting a 1099 and paying self-employment tax. 

Are you an Independent contractor or a small business?  I do not plan to have any employees..I just want to type for this clinic and get paid! THanks!

START-UP BUSINESS -let's help eachother with Q's and A's
I am sure I am not alone...One of the many MTs that see potential in trying to start our own companies. I am a quality MT with some computer knowledge and a good sense for business. I created a website, created a introduction letter to send out along with a questionnaire...looking into writing up contracts, have a few good MTs lined up to help me out. Going to focus on orthopedics and physical therapy in my area to start with. Still need info on digital services and/or equipment to use. My biggest question is how to integrate with what a client has to get their reports into their systems, etc. Also curious on the going rate to start out with...  Can we please have some Q's and A's here to help eachother out?  I don't want to put too much time and money into this yet until I know I can get at least 1 client and build up from there. Hoping I can do this with an inexpensive FTP service that is HIPAA compliant. Want to stay all digital as I travel frequently. Do I need a business license before I even start up, or can I wait until I get my first client before applying for licenses etc?  Lots of questions, lots of ideas...I am willing to trade for some good information :) Thanks!
Well, it all depends. What kind of business are you looking to start?

Can't find work...should I start a business?
I am about to finish up my certification at a local college and have been extremely disappointed to find that it seems no one is going to hire me to work for a company because I don't have 2+ years experience....even though I've spent the last 2 years transcribing school work....I am trying to decide if I'd just be better off to take what I've learned and try to start my own business.  Financially, I am able to do it, but I'm just not sure how much of a headache it might be.  What should I do?  I kind of feel like I've wasted a lot of time and money.  I'm pretty confident that I can do the work, but how can you prove that to someone who just wants to know if you have experience?  I just don't know what to do. 
Even with a salary you're kind of a small business owner!
Even if you're paid a salary you are your own agent, so to speak. Why not hire a part-time helper and pay them a subcontractor rate. That's what a service owner does. You are no hero for not getting some help. MTs who have their own accounts have responsibility for 7 days a week coverage, but not all of us type 7 days a week. Put an ad in the job seekers board and pay someone to take up the overflow. You will burn out and not be able to work at all eventually. Good luck to you.
anyone know where to find samples of flyers to start your own business?
I want to make my own and would like to look at how a few are formatted.  Thx.
It is absolutely TRUE! Comcast and vonage not sure about, but AT&T small business says NOT ALLOWED!

Vonage nor Comcast work with all equipment (static, echoing, etc.) and I would be interested in learning more about what "the fine print" says for these two companies.  So, you must be misinformed because I have a sister who works at AT&T and no matter what package you buy, MT IS NOT ALLOWED.....and that is a FACT!   

Start out with small amts of walking or even just marching in front of TV with a show on. Add
Need advice on starting my own business
I have been struggling for the past year to get my paycheck.  I am so fed up with having to constantly hound the "company" that I work for that I might as well get my own accounts if I have to do so much footwork.  I would love any advice on how to start up my own accounts.  I'd love to receive all my files off the internet.  Any advice...... Please.
Need advice on beginning MT Business


Was at my chiropractor's office today.  As the conversation progressed Dr. suggested that I might be able to get involved with their office doing MT work.  Offices in five states, new doctors that become busy need MTs to do their transcription.  I have owned my own business in the past and understand the in's and out's of that part of it.. My question is how would I set up a platform to do the work in case it would become busy enough to need another MT to help, software, expanders, etc.  I have a few very simple ideas like using MS Word and creating macros that can be sent to aother MT, etc.  but not sure that is what I would do.

Is there anyone out there with any suggestions or ideas?

My advice: Regroup. Find a small cave, cheap, take the kids, get a stable job (1), quit trying to

need to stabilize.

Medical transcription is not a "living" - it is a sideline anymore, unless you can find a doctors office or hospital where you can count on an income and count on medical insurance.

Leave the BF - they are dead weight.  They wear you out and rarely help you find any solid footing.  If your's did you wouldn't be here asking for advice.

I used to think I need to be married - then I began to ask myself:  WHY AM I MORE BROKE AND MORE TIRED WITH A HUSBAND?

There were more hours in the day and more money in the bank when I was on my own with my children.  We may not have had fancy things but we were happy because their mom was happy - ME.

Again, don't use 3 PT/transcription jobs or even 1 FT and some PTs to say you are making it.  Either bring your budget down to living on the 1 FT and let the PT be the discretionary income (extra for savings, emergencies, etc), or leave transcription entirely.  MTing is a losing proposition at this time.  Unless of course, like I say, you are in a stable place like a hospital.  And don't COUNT on the PT to carry you through - these nationals and side jobs are playing fast and loose with paying people or providing any security at all.



I get it. But in return for supporting the small business the poor folk get nothing in return.
I understand why you don't shop at Walmart. You support those who support you but it doesn't work that way for me. I can go to an independent shop and by a dishwasher, pay lots more for it and get nothing in return to supplement my support of their small business. Same for all the poor folk who are shopping in Walmart trying to stretch a paycheck. I am glad Walmart exists for those folks.
small mentality usually means small pocketbook
Still make more than you and I but that is deserved. They've put the effort forward and educated themselves.

Unfortunately it is legal..so yes it is business and they will continue with bad business practices
I made my business your business by posting and...
I totally respect everyone's opinions. It is easier for others on the outside looking in. That's why I pushed the "post reply" button yesterday. I trust my fellow MTs and I know the more I read from you all, the more confident I am becoming. I just need that final push, not from him though. I also wanted to let you all know that the physical abuse while I was pregnant was documented by my doctor and the hospital. I only wish I had known then that it is a felony to abuse a pregnant woman. I also photographed my face from a couple of weeks ago and told several people in my circle. I had such high hopes for us. Now...not so much. I'm not saying that I won't try to get him to church, but I realize that God can only do so much for someone who isn't listening. j
Business is business. Internet forums are
Advice to YOU..1st learn to spell before insulting poster and trying to give advice...sm

Sound advice from a fellow MT if you want advice or support (sm)

I have been an MT for over 10 years.  I also am getting burnt out, tired of my job, day in day.  However, I do love transcription and make excellent money at it, have grossed over $50,000 per year the last 5 years.  I decided to go back to nursing school and am very happy with my choice.  However, over these 10 years of transcription I have had my ups and downs.  My biggest issue with being at home working is lack of socialization, being home day in and day out with just the kids and the animals really gets to a person, sure hubby is home at night and thinks working from home is the easy life, thus the return to school and boy has my overall enjoyment of life changed once I realized I was the problem, not everyone else and I needed to find myself again.

Anyway, my biggest advice to you three-fold:

1.  Get into counseling for yourself, find out who you are and what your needs are, whether or not you think you need to, I sense you are feeling overwhelmed and need someone other than your family to talk to that can be nonjudgmental to your feelings and needs.

2.  If you're only making $100 after you pay preschool you can either keep doing it and be miserable, or quit because you are lucky enough to have a husband who can support the family without your income. (See how fast his mind changes just by losing the income you do have as to whether your job means anything.)  Or look for a different company or office that you like more and are more productive if you really want to do transcription (lots of fish in the sea as far as companies).

3.  Find a local "mom's" group where you can get out and socialize.  MOPS (mother's of preschoolers) is an excellent one that is nationwide, they have a website.  Also Mom2Mom is in a lot of areas.  They provide a once a week time for moms with kids the same age to get together, socialize, (some offer spirtual guidance some don't) and each week a different mom takes a turn watching everyone else's children at the facility that hosts it so the other moms can talk about things they have in common.  Every stay-at-home and work-from-home mom needs to socialize with adults, without their kids, or they will have a nervous breakdown eventually no matter how much they love their kids.

Sorry so long but it does get better but you have to take the first step at making yourself happy.

For a business ad?! A business that deals
''Transcriptsis'' x2

''with good track record''

''serve our clients of all sizes'' (I know what they mean, but I just think the wording is funny)

''strive to achieve highest possible quality'' (once again, they never met an 'article' that they didn't hate)

''all departments including H&P...'' (or a comma, for that matter)

Well then, don't start at the beginning, start in
If one's biz is small I do not think you can....nm

Yes, you should get a small
social worker, psychologist, or whatever. You just have to wade in and start swimming. If you find the right account, that should help you start out.
Huge, I think it's small on my end (NM)
$18,000+, small national. nm
Any small MTSO need PT help? sm
Okay, I have tried the big nationals and that did not work out for me.  I would like something for a few hours a day - would love to do family practice SOAP notes again or something where I can just type away and make some decent money.  I promise a fast turn-a-round and I am willing to work hard, but no complicated platforms and no set hours.  
Why not sue in small claims (sm)
You have a business contract with them. It's not a paycheck we are talking about. It's payment for services rendered. Are they going to send someone to your state to defend it? Probably not!
It's actually one of those small bldg. you
added to the house but it's on the same property as the house...I can't really describe what it looks like. I have only seen it a couple of times. Not sure if that would work. It doesn't have to be that. Just whatever would work. I am more interested in seeing what has worked for others. Just wondering. Thanks for your response.:)
my office is a small
table between the kitchen and the dining room. Books are in a closet right next to it. It helps so I can keep an eye on what my toddler is doing.
how did you get your print to be so small?

if you are for real, your best advice is read this board and take good notes.


Yes, small services (sm)

used to pay 11 cpl IC, have now sold out to squids who in turn pay 7-8 cpl.

And services left average 8 cpl, if you're really experienced you'll get 10 or 11 and get such bad dictation you'll get a headache you'll never forget. 

Small accounts
What kind of small accounts are you talking about? How do you find them? Thanks.

I know a couple of people who key as fast as you do, so it is possible.

small company
You just keep your eyes open all the time. Keep looking. You will find them. Opportunity comes knocking at the strangest time if you just keep looking.
A very very small family.
I had a small MTSO ask that once. sm
As I was heading toward the exit door, she asked me to send her every single one of the normals I used.

So, I sent her the exact ones she had sent me in the beginning, before I refined them to a fine tune, which had taken me hours and hours to do. I'm telling you, I had most tests for every doctor where I could just hop around and fill in the blanks. No way was I giving those hours of work away!
Thanks! The 16" look so small and the 20" so large! nm
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.  :)

should have said that this is for a small national not
an individual. We are trying to put some new things in place and want to make sure that we put the right things in place.
Small Nationals.
I guess just not the huge places like Medquist. I would like a little bit smaller. I am even interested in any companies that are great to work for and pay okay. I am not having that great of luck working for MTSO and getting paid good.
thanks (small message)
just that I posted the link in the subject line and it was too long...no problem, though! thanks!
Small ear pieces
Try Lanier Healthcare.  They have a headset that has ear pieces that fit right into your ear without any hard plastic to deal with, just wires and the foam that fits into your ears.  They are the best ones I have ever used.