Despite the abundance of personal computers, demand for off-site word-processing services has steadily increased. Essentially, word-processing is a fancier (and more technically correct) phrase for typing service. You’ll be doing all the same kinds of work, only you’ll be using a computer instead of the great typewriter dinosaur. Customers will come to you with everything from reports and term papers to resumes and technical documentation. The ability to produce an accurate, intelligent, attractive product with quick turnaround will ensure your success in this fairly competitive field. Remember that just about any Joe with a basic computer system and printer thinks of getting into this type of business. You’ll have to be able to set yourself apart from these folks as well as from the thousands of secretarial services out there (that perform services that go beyond your own). Position yourself close to a university or in a downtown area, and you’ll increase your chances of success by at least 5 percent. Take it a step further and go after publishing companies for extra work.

What You Will Be Doing

The typist, or word processor, is hired by various types of companies, usually in the administrative department of the company. Most organizations are looking for applicants with a high school diploma, although others do not have any education requirements. Similarly, many organizations do not require any previous experience in this field, although it would be helpful to have some experience working in an office or administrative department. The job will take place in an office setting. The well-qualified typist should, in addition to being able to type accurately and quickly, have knowledge of the Microsoft Office suite of products, as well as a general know-how of most office equipment.

The typist will have to compose and edit various documents, which can include memos, orders, reports, and other materials, depending on the company's needs. They will need to be able to produce and distribute copies of materials as required, as well as have the grammar and spelling skills necessary to proofread documents. Depending on the company's needs, the typist may need to know how to transcribe material from audio files, as well as be able to clean up the transcription. The typist will also often be asked to address envelopes and send out physical mail. While most of the responsibilities of the typist, or word processor, are directly related to a computer, they may be occasionally be asked to perform clerical duties such as answering phones or receiving faxes. This person may also need to be able to perform some simple monetary transactions, depending on the company's needs. (Copyright 2018 PayScale.com)

Word Processor / Typist Tasks

  • Use word processor/computer or typewriter to type letters, reports, forms, or other material from rough draft, corrected copy or voice recording.
  • Maintain a computer filing system to store, retrieve, update and delete documents.
  • Edits completed work for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and format.

Qualifications Needed 

 Fast and accurate typing skills (at least 65 words per minute), customer-oriented attitude  

What You Can Earn

Medium income. $30,000–$45,000 per year.

What You Can Charge

Varies. Sometimes it is better to charge by the page, $5 to$10 per page. Depending on what you are working on, it's better to charge by the hour $20 to $35 per hour. Or by the project, $100 to $1000 per project.

Startup Cost

$5,000 –$15,000

What You Need to Succeed

Beware of underpricing your service. Consider adding a surcharge for handwritten or difficult-to-read documents and materials that include charts or tables. If you can stand the repetitive motion of using a keyboard, your income is limited only by your speed and the number of hours you want to work.

Marketing Advice

Yellow Pages, focus advertising in a 5- to 10-mile radius of your business location, direct mail, university bulletin boards, networking with business and professional organizations, Web site

Other Services You Can Offer


Equipment Needed

A good office setup is critical to smooth running business operations. Controlling purchases and expenses are a key ingredient to a healthy business, especially a new start up venture. This book gives you the information you need to professionally set up your office operation.

Computer and software, high-speed Internet access, laser printer, copy machine, fax; optional: transcribing machine and scanner

Staff Needed

This book was written by Dr. Reeves to give any potential small employer or anyone starting a business that will be utilizing the independent contractor status as a way to operate their business the ability to understand and comply with the rules and regulations that govern the independent contractor classification.


Where to Begin





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