Starting your own transcripion services company

Working from home in your own transcription services company is great fun, very rewarding and life enhancing.  Before securing your first client you will need to select the type of legal structure for your new business. Among other things this will affect how much you pay in taxes and the paperwork you will be required to fill in.

There are several ways that a business can be legally structured and the most common options are “Self Employed” or “Limited Liability Company” or “Ltd” as it is normally referred to.

Work from Home Business Structures

The business structure you choose will affect:

  • Which authorities you have to notify that your business exists
  • The tax and National Insurance that you pay
  • The records and accounts that you have to keep
  • Your financial liability if the business runs into trouble
  • The ways your business can raise money
  • The way management decisions are made about the business

For a detailed explanation directly from a UK government source visit this informative site –  Choose a legal structure for a new business

Sole Trader

The easiest and most common option is to become a “Sole Trader”. There are no registration fees, it’s easy to set up and you don’t need to hire expensive accountants. However, if anything goes wrong, you are completely liable for all debts run up by your business.

Limited Company

Not so long ago you needed at least three people to start a limited company to act as Directors and Company Secretary.  It would take weeks to file the paperwork and become incorporated.  Today, you can start a limited company with just one person and be legally trading within a few minutes.

A limited company is an entity in its own right which means you will never be liable for the debts it incurs should things go wrong, unless you have given a personal guarantee.

You can set up your limited company today by going to SimpleFormations.  You can be incorporated and trading legally in business for just £29.95 (plus VAT), and the form filling process will only take a few minutes of your time.  The service also provides registered office addresses in a few major cities as well.

Read the next chapter “How to Appear Like a Big Company” to learn why a registered office may be important to you.

Partnerships and PLC

There are other ways to legally structure your business, and if you want to read more about this, click on the revenue services useful website – HMRC Starting Up in Business page.

You may want to seek professional advice on the best option for your transcription services company and your situation.

How To Appear Like A Big Company For FREE

The technology at our fingertips allows small businesses to compete with larger, more established companies.  If you are running a one-person operation but want to appear bigger the tools you need are only a few key strokes or mouse clicks away.

In fact some of the largest companies on the Internet only have a few employees working for them. Tumblr, until recently, only had small workforce yet there were more than 12 million blog members.  Most of my clients would never know that my business is home-based, and they would be probably be surprised to find out that I don’t do any of the work.

You can easily create the illusion of being a large typing business by using the Internet and virtual office solutions.  This is not about being deceitful, but leveraging your strengths and available technologies to level the playing field.

It is entirely possible (and indeed happens all the time) for small businesses to become leading players in their industries and compete very effectively with the big beasts in the jungle.  It all starts with the creation of a website, your own personal corner of the web. It acts as your calling card and shop window.  You can create a very effective website for a very modest outlay, and even for free if you are web savvy and know what you’re doing.

Virtual office solutions

The biggest name in virtual offices is Regus.  There are many others and at the time of writing this post I have been using the same company in Glasgow for over 5 years now as Regus are that little bit more expensive.

Most virtual office solutions allow you to rent physical office space from them on a per day or even an hourly basis. This can give your company a very professional office address that can be used on your business cards and website. You can also have mail delivered to the address.  Many also offer telephone answering services, payroll facilities and other products.  There is even FREE mentoring with some packages!

Business Telephone Lines

For a dedicated business telephone number consider Soho66 or  Skype.  The service offers local telephone numbers that can be hired on a rolling contract with no compulsory tie-in period.  With Skype you can answer online when you are at your computer or divert it to your landline or mobile telephone.

Soho66 maybe the best telephone number option for your transcription company and it is by far the cheapest.  It costs only £2 per month to rent your own number.  They have a great admin system that allows you to set up how incoming calls are handled, for example, diverting them to personalised voicemail messages.  Other services include alternative telephone numbers and answering machines.

Taking payment the easy way

You have set up your transcribing services company and are attracting clients through your website.  They have looked at your products and services and are now in a buying frame of mind.  The last thing you want is a slow and clapped out payment system.  It simply has to run smoothly otherwise you risk losing clients as they click away from your site to a competitor.

Internet users don’t have a lot of patience, and so your payment options must be very, very quick.  Of course there is the old fashioned cheque that can be sent to you in the post, and sometimes a customer may prefer to pay cash in hand (it still happens to me).  However, the best options are to offer BACS or good old PayPal.

PayPal is a popular and safe online banking system.  You may already have used it to purchase goods over the Internet.  It is a very quick and convenient way to conduct transactions and even send money online.

The only downside is there is a transaction fee – normally just above 3%, unless you get a merchant account.   However, you can ask the client to pay the fee.  Some will not mind, viewing it as a small price to pay for ease of use and safety.

Business in a Box

One of the most time consuming elements of building a business is creating the paperwork.  It takes ages to word the documents and make them look professional, even if you know how to write them.  Legal documents need to be created, as well as terms and conditions, good sales literature, contracts for human resources and much, much more.

I’ve always liked the idea of Business in a Box, although I’ve never bought it.  In five minutes you can have over 1,700 documents at your fingertips and ready to send to a client.  You don’t have to write a single word.  Here are some of the areas that are covered:

  • Planning & Management
  • Legal
  • Human Resources
  • Finance & Accounting
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Hire a Consultant/Contractor
  • Credit & Collection

Professional indemnity insurance

Simply put, professional indemnity insurance covers the work a transcription services business carries out. If you provide advice or offer a service that customers pay for, they could sue you or claim compensation if they feel the work is not up to standard.

Public liability insurance

When you work from home, you may well receive a few business visitors every now and then or handle physical tapes.  This doesn’t just include clients, but also engineers to fix your computer and even salespeople selling you business insurance!  If there is the slightest risk that someone could be hurt or their property could be damaged in your home you should consider taking out public liability insurance.

We don’t offer any recommendations as this isn’t one of our areas of expertise. However, I am bringing the subject up because I do recommend you carry out some research and seek professional advice.

This should get your started with your self employed typing business or setting yourself up as a work from home transcription services company quickly and easily.

Make sure to read our other articles on this subject.

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