Fees, fees, fees...a survey for all my fellow agencies out there big and small

Okay. I have been reporting in NY for over 20 years and have decided to take a survey.
When it comes to extras, what do you charge your client for? I ask this because I wonder how y'all are handling this.

Please write in and let me know if you charge for any or all of the following:
Any and all responses are greatly appreciated!

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Allison, if there's one thing that these boards are SUPPOSED to do, it's to get us thinking! If you're new enough to be curious about how and why other reporters do what they do, I hope that once you learn all of that, you decide to stay in the profession in spite of that. Sincerely! Inquiring minds seem to be the opposite of all that reporter apathy that we hear complaints about ... and last I heard, knowledge is power. I guess there are some lines we don't want to cross, but we can STILL be well informed about what's going on around us. Here's a radical thought: START some new trends!

I might be being dense here but is the thinking here that if we post publicly what we charge for that our fellow CRs will see that we charge for XYZ and will try to use that to their advantage and NOT charge for those items in order to get more work, work that might have gone to us?

If that's the case, we must remember that what goes around comes around. These people can't possibly take all the work that's available to us. Obviously we all must be protective of our livelihoods. Hopefully shared information like this will not come back to bite those of us who share.
Some of my best friends are owners of court reporting companies. In my area, most court reporting companies offer the E-Tran or Min-U-Script for free. If they were to charge for it, the customers would most likely go elsewhere. So it is pretty common to have these given away as free, along with the transcript.

One new company in D.C. was formed in the mid '90s, I think, and offered attorneys a great deal that they did not have to pay for the deposition transcript until the attorney got paid by their client. As you can imagine, many clients went to this court reporting company, and it really created a lot of problems for some existing companies. This company bit the dust several years ago with this practice and does not exist anymore.

Most reporters in my area do charge page rates based on the delivery or TAT (turnaround time), whether it is standard, expedited, daily copy, or same-day rush. Also, extra charges for working on weekends or after 6 p.m. are usually in the form of a higher page rate. Some reporters and/or court reporting companies who provide computers to attorneys for real-time depositions also charge extra for that service, in addition to the same-day page rate.

I do wonder if charging page rates for court reporters will ever change. They stem from the days of the typewriter. In the transcription industry of client-provided audio -- not depositions, not courts, not legal proceedings -- page rates pretty much are a thing of the past with most companies, and clients are charged per audio minute, which also is based on the delivery or TAT.

As an aside, my father was a lawyer, and I was cleaning out some of his law cabinets in the attic and found a bill from a stenotype reporter for a copy sale. It was dated 1950-something, and the charge was 10 cents per page. The transcript was on onion skin, and they used terms like [Interposing] when somebody was interrupting and "Thereupon." Otherwise, the format was pretty much the same as what is done today in my area. Reporters has to get "court reporter ratchets" installed on their typewriters to give them the specific 2.3 line spacing, so it would line up with the line numbers on their stationery.
Hey, Mary Ann, here's a new trend: no more credit to attys, period, end of story. With the economy as it is, the crap I've run into lately is well, you'll have to contact the client. WTF? I extended credit to you, not your crap client. I don't know your crap client. When I don't know a crap client, they pay before I insert a caption page into the tript. Now your're handing me this crap because your crap client crapped out on you. What crap!!!
Ann M.: My personal motto is: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

Don't let ANYONE get away with not paying you. Take him/her to small claims. The process is a total PITA and takes some time, but it would discourage attorneys (and anyone else) from not paying us. Send out ALL your copies COD. You want your transcript? You pay. Simple. If anyone gives you a hard time about the COD, tell them ALL your copies are COD. No further explanation needed.

Try to cash the check at the bank that the check is drawn on before you send out the transcript. If you are unable to do that, deposit the check and wait a couple of days to make sure it clears; then send out the transcript. This way, crap attorney(s) with crap client(s) is a moot point.

Go gitcher money, girl!
My personal motto is better: "Fool me once, shame on, shame on you. Fool me, you can't get fooled again."

If someone gets it, please don't hurt me.
How can you NOT charge for this asciis, eTrans, Pdf's? Aren't you paying production staff to prepare and send out all this stuff? Of course, I charge. With the court reporters getting 75% of the invoice...the lag time on payments (even though my reporters are paid within 30 days), how could I not charge for something that requires a full time production person.

Since I'm still a working reporter (and firm owner), when counsel ask me "oh, is that free?" My typical response is "What do you give away for free."

When we can just email a plain ole ascii to counsel...then it might be FREE.


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