When I started as a court reporter I was unsure of things like what to charge, what to wear, how to find clients, and invoicing. There’s more to reporting than showing up and taking a deposition! It was a bit of a challenge and I don’t want it to be the same for you so I thought I’d share my tips for new court reporters.
Find a Mentor.
What’s a mentor? It’s someone you trust as a guide or resource. Don’t be scared to ask a fellow court reporter about their experiences. There’s a wealth of knowledge that can be passed to you! For example, I wish I had known what to charge on invoices when I first started - copies, conference room charge, and waiting time are among the items that were costing me but I wasn’t charging back to clients. It took a toll on my bottom line until I figured it out; would’ve been easier with a mentor!
Know Your Worth.
Ultimately I asked a number of reporters in different markets about their rates and found it varied. Larger markets with more demand can charge more than other areas though with a court reporter shortage, it has become a bit of a guessing game again. The bottom line is to understand your worth and what is customary to itemize; that can come from talking to an experienced court reporter like me or in groups on social media.
I’ve learned a lot about the industry through groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Typically closed to our profession, groups offer engagement with reporters across the nation. Not only can you get your questions answered, you can offer your expertise. And who knows, you may even land a new client!
To stay at the top of your game in this demanding field, I recommend ongoing education. Real time Reporting is fast becoming popular so it’s worth your time to explore and learn this and other technology.
Dress the Part.
Years ago someone told me to dress for the job you want, not the job I have, and I still go by that saying. You’ve spent money on court reporter school and are a professional. Skip the t-shirts and baggy jeans in favor of crisp, ironed shirt, skirt or dress pants, and blazer. (I am so passionate about this I will be sharing more on this topic next month.)
As a new court reporter it can be intimidating to enter a field filled with so many seasoned professionals. Rather than being overwhelmed, think of it as an opportunity to be mentored and develop your skills!
Want to learn more about Oklahoma court reporting? Contact us today!