Data entry: cost details

When you’re considering using a data entry service for your data entry needs, often the cost of doing it yourself is the driving factor. Outsourcing data entry often makes a lot of financial sense when you consider the time-savings, specialized training, high-quality equipment, and economies of scale that are possible.

However, not all data entry jobs are created equal. We’ve discussed some of what is entailed in a data entry job in previous posts. In this, one we’ll discuss some more aspects that can affect the cost of a data entry job.

The size of the job will affect costs much like other industries. Larger jobs typically have a lower per-unit cost due to economies of scale. I.e., the setup time is usually very similar for large jobs as small jobs so processing lots of documents costs little more than processing a handful. This item comes with a few caveats, however, mostly in the form of the following points.

The timeframe required for a job will naturally affect its cost. Like package delivery services, the shorter the turnaround time, the higher the cost.

How complex documents are affects how long it takes to set up the processing software (optical character recognition (OCR), intelligent or optical mark recognition (IMR and OMR)) to understand the documents’ characteristics. This configuration can be set to limit the types of data found in parts of the document (e.g., numbers in form boxes for a person’s age), understand the overall layout, etc. The more complex a document is, the longer this process takes.

The consistency of the documents will affect how quickly documents can be imaged and processed. Related to the above point, if documents aren’t of a consistent format or quality, the processing systems need to be reconfigured regularly. Obviously, if the documents are consistent, the workflow needs fewer changes which increases the speed and number of documents that can be processed.

How the documents are delivered also affects the cost of a job. If documents are delivered automatically, in an order that can be scanned, without staples or paper clips, the costs go down. If documents are delivered in such a way that pre-scanning preparation needs to be done, i.e., removing staples, organizing and collating, then the job gets more expensive.

These aspects cover a number of things we haven’t discussed before regarding data entry costs. It is not an exhaustive list though. Naturally, there are aspects that more directly affect the scanning and recognition of documents. Some of those we’ve covered before, some we’ll leave for another post.

Leave a Reply