I am stuck on a question as part of my business plan for scoping.

Will it be easy for another competitor to enter the market?

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Depends if you know your stuff.  If you know punctuation inside and out (if you can quote rules, that's even better), if you are able to follow the punctuation style of the person paying you 100% of the time (whether you agree with them or not), if you religiously meet and beat all of your deadlines, if you are a whiz with computers, if you are a walking dictionary, and if you can bite your tongue and not openly criticize the reporters you work for, you'll be a welcome addition.

On second thought, the only thing I'd add to the list above is don't try to get too big for your britches and decide that the reporter will never find out if you farm a job out to another scopist, because we do find out (it's usually very obvious) and we don't appreciate it.  There's a scopist out there that is constantly doing this and she's on a LOT of reporters' Do Not Use lists.


I agree with everything Judy said.  I'd add to the list to get back and respond to emails - don't leave the reporter hanging for an answer on something.  I personally hate that.  Good communication is key.

In my experience, about 35% of the scopists out there are any good.  The rest of them should find a new profession.  It's exhausting having to wade through the bad ones to find a few gems. 

35 out of every 100 are any good?  That's generous.  And keep in mind that a lot of reporters are losing their jobs or not getting enough work to make ends meet, and the scoping market is a worldwide market ... not nationwide, but worldwide.  And don't assume that because a reporter turns scopist that they are any good.  Oh, some of them are for sure.  35%?  Huh-uh.

Anyone could be a scopist. Not everyone is a good scopist.

Agree with Judy and Kelli completely. I can't stand when scopists bad-mouth the reporters they work(ed) with. Don't be a "I won't do this, that and the other thing" type of scopist, i.e., "I don't do title pages. I don't do index pages. I won't research." Blah, blah, blah. Just read an article yesterday about the seven or eight (some number) of things successful people think, among them, something along these lines: "When someone is paying me to do something, I do it, whatever it is, as long as it's not illegal. Nothing is beneath me." I've always tried to live by that for every employer I've ever worked for.

I appreciate the insight.

Here is my advice:   FIRST find a reporter willing to work with you, and then find out what THAT reporter wants.  Different reporters want different things.  I myself would NEVER demand that the scopist produce the finished product.  I go over EVERY word after the scopist hands me back the transcript. 

Negotiate a price, and after having completed a few depos decide if it is worth your while to continue.

I myself have decided after many years, that I will personally train the women who scope for me.  (So far they have ALL been women.)  That's right.  I also provide them with the necessary software.  No scoping school, no memorization of punctuation rules.  I gradually train them, and they gradually learn.

I will say that despite the fact that scoping is a job where you can work at home, I have noticed that once they find out what is involved, few people want to scope.  They would rather have a real job.  Can't say as I blame them.

Don't be overwhelmed by people who tell you you have to learn every single rule of punctuation.  I would be WORN OUT by a scopist who was constantly quoting chapter and verse to me.

After going through scopist after scopist I now produce all my work entirely by myself.

But I might go back to using a scopist one day.

Thanks for the advice.

Caroline, why do you think you've gone back to producing your own work?  I suggest maybe you're not all that busy, or the scopist's are not worth the money you spend.

I spend about 30K a year on scopists and have found some wonderful scopists.  With the volume I do, it is imperitive I have the help.  I agree I wouldn't worry about every rule of punctuation because every reporter has their own style.  I would suggest that you be so good that maybe only work for one or two reporters and that's it, and then you can learn their style.  That's the best way to go. 

Thank you everyone, for your insight. I am keeping those ideas.


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