One of the biggest aspects of being successful as an independent freelance court reporter is the ability to bring in repeat business. Whether you’re receiving work directly from law firms or whether you’re receiving work from other court reporting firms, there are some strengths you’ll need to possess in order to keep your phone ringing with clients asking to schedule depositions with you. If you earn a reputation for the following items, you’ll be on a surefire path to success.
Meet Every Deadline
In the legal industry, attorneys and paralegals are often under great pressure meet deadlines. There are times when they need your transcript in order to meet a deadline. Don’t underestimate the importance of this. Deliver every transcript on or before the deadline. Be sure to ask your clients if they have a specific date that they need your transcript. This will allow you to be timely, even if their deadline is sooner than you expected. Once you develop a reputation for being reliable, your clients will call you again and again with more work.
Do Great Work
The goal for any freelancer is to make yourself very valuable to your clients. A court reporter who repeatedly delivers accurate transcripts will be the first choice for any law firm or court reporting firm when they need to schedule a deposition. Make quality control one of your main objectives with any transcript. The truth is that if a client receives a transcript that is not of the highest quality, they will not likely call again.
Capturing more work from new sources is necessary for any freelancer. There will always be changes in who schedules work with you, so you should be continually looking for new sources of work. To do that, you will want to continually market yourself. Maybe you can have a postcard created that you include with every transcript to opposing counsel. Perhaps you can begin making phone calls to legal assistants in firms you have worked with recently. Maybe you need to consider a website so that you are easily found on the internet by out-of-town attorneys and court reporters. If you regularly work for a court reporting firm, ask the firm owner what you can do to help them market the firm. They may have some strategies in which they’d like their court reporters to be involved. They may even like some assistance with their website or social media. Make sure that you’re not doing anything to take business away from that firm. The result of good marketing is that you will continually get your name in front of new potential clients on a regular basis.
As a freelancer, don’t underestimate the value of referrals. You may already have received referrals from attorneys and legal assistants who recommended you to their colleagues. Maybe you have court reporting friends in other cities who refer you to their clients when they’re in your area. Look at who has already referred you. Now find ways to network with these people more. Also find ways to meet more and more potential referral sources. This may mean attending local Bar functions. Or maybe you should become active in your state court reporters association. Most service-based professionals receive a sizable amount of income from referrals. Court reporters are no different.
Be Flexible and Available
Most legal assistants will tell you that, when it’s time to schedule a court reporter, they hope to make only one call and find a reporter who is available. While you may not be available every time you receive a request, it is a good practice to make yourself as available as possible. If you’re willing to work on weekends and evenings, make sure your clients and referral sources know this. Avoid taking time off the calendar during the week whenever possible. Flexibility also includes being willing to travel. If you’re willing to take jobs outside of your city, make sure your clients know that too.
As a freelance court reporter, you have the big responsibility of keeping your own schedule filled. You may have a lot of competition in your area from other freelancers. If that’s the case, it’s important for you to distinguish yourself from the competition. By paying attention to these strategies, you’ll be placing yourself in a good position to be the court reporter who gets the call for the next job that’s available.
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