The Business of Court Reporting

As you’re looking at the business of court reporting, you’ve got a big choice of whether to freelance or work full-time for a court.

There are distinct difference like stability of income vs. flexibility of schedule and similarities like working for different clients over the course of your career. One week may be a medical case and another will be family law and you may even get opportunities outside the legal field in the business or sporting world.

Your path is up to you. All we can say is that it’s a great time for court reporting!

Freelance vs. Full-time

Do you want freedom or stability? If you’re craving working hours on end in exchange for the freedom of long vacations, then freelance might offer the flexibility you want. If you need to know how much money you’re making each month and what your hours are each week, then you probably want to be a full-time court reporter. The choice is yours.

We recommend gaining experience in all areas including working freelance with a Pittsburgh agency.

Setting Up Business

If you’re transitioning to freelancing, you’ve chosen a path that allows flexibility of time but also, and some people don’t like this, the potential for changing income.

Before taking the plunge, we recommend:

  • Creating budgets of monthly income and expenses for business and personal. That’s the minimum income to live your current lifestyle.
  • Setting income goals along with dream goals like vacations, wedding, or retirement.
  • Opening a separate bank account for business. It’s easier for bookkeeping.

From there you can decide what type of clients you want and what your rates will be so that you can meet your financial goals. We advise speaking to a legal professional and/or your accountant for LLC and tax questions.

Before Leaving the Home Office

If you ask business owners what they wish they had done at the beginning of their business, many will tell you they wish they had established processes and procedures. This isn’t as vital in the beginning so it’s easy to ignore as a non-essential but it’s important especially as you get busier. Here are our top tips:

  • Use Google or other calendar app that is easily accessed on your phone and laptop. That way you always know your availability for work, networking, and personal obligations.
  • Get your equipment and outfit ready the night before so you’re not late.
  • Leave for appointments with enough time to prepare the room before the scheduled deposition time and in time to ask questions of your client before the proceeding.

We know this isn’t a comprehensive list about the business of court reporting but it’s a good start. Contact us with other questions and utilize court reporter Facebook and LinkedIn groups to ask and answer questions. The more we can mentor each other, the better it is for all of us!

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