How much do you need to pay for data entry?
How much do you need to pay for data entry?

How much do you need to pay for data entry?

Data entry is everywhere. It is being asked for and offered on platforms that bring freelancers and clients together. BPO providers like oWorkers offer data entry services and are always on the lookout for suitable clients. Unbeknownst to the formal data entry services being sought and offered, there is a lot of informal data entry work happening around us all the time. Yes, almost counter intuitively. While we will expect the volume of manual data entry work to reduce in a digitized society, would we not, data entry services are being sought and offered in volumes never before witnessed.

Contrary to its placement in the lower part of the organization’s food-chain, data entry is a task on which the success of many other parts of the organization is built. The principle of GIGO, Garbage In Garbage Out, is well understood by people in business. If the input is bad, you cannot expect a good outcome. Data entry, hence, assumes great importance. Also, it takes myriad shapes and forms. Almost anything can be data entry. Working with patient admission records could be data entry just as working with insurance claims or climate data might be. Keying information on invoices received from suppliers could be data entry just as digitization of municipal birth records might be. Transcribing handwritten prescriptions of medical doctors might be data entry, just as keying in information on name cards received at a business event into the company’s sales database might be.

So, anything could be data entry.

Data entry is the process of converting information that is available ‘offline,’ or on ‘manual’ media like paper, into digitized formats. The objectives are several. It will help in safekeeping of information. Manual records, especially paper, on which most information has been maintained, is subject to spoilage, deterioration and tearing. Digitizing the information is expected to increase its life to, maybe forever. It is expected to save storage space. Entire shelves of books and files can be stored on a digital drive as small as your thumbnail. Thirdly, it is expected to facilitate the process of adding to our knowledge by yielding its store of secrets. This is through analysis of the data and slicing and dicing it with the help of suitable applications. Maybe even juxtaposing it with other pieces of information to compare. So far, extraction of information was slow, hence either not done or limited to the specific requirement. With manual extraction no longer being required, it will lend itself more easily to analysis and data extraction.

One of the questions that many people seek an answer to is, “How much do we need to pay for data entry?” This is from the perspective of a client who seeks a provider to do data entry work. If you flip the picture, there is a related question that is also asked, “How much does data entry pay?” This, as one can imagine is from the perspective of the person providing the service or doing the data entry work.

How to price a service

Before we get to data entry pay, from either side of the equation, we will make an effort to understand pricing strategies for services as a whole.

As a starting point, pricing is a key business decision. And, for a small business, all decisions are key decisions. Pricing decisions need to be taken to enable the business to succeed, eventually making a profit by delivering services that customers are willing to pay for and buy. That is true for the business taking on data entry work from clients and true for the individual operator who either takes on work directly from clients or agrees to be hired by a data entry business who in turn takes on clients.

The good and bad part of pricing is that there is no definitive formula that helps you arrive at a point. Your understanding of the environment surrounding the business, a sort of a gut feel, is perhaps as important as some of the variables that should be considered. There is no doubt subjectivity that is involved in the decision.

Moreover, you also go through what might be called a ‘price discovery’ phase, especially in case of a new service. You don’t want to charge a price that keeps customers away, but you also don’t want to charge a price where you are leaving money on the table. The price discovery phase leads to the gap between the two, the customer’s willingness to pay and your desire to charge, reducing.

These are some standard ways to arrive at the pricing of a service:

Cost Plus

In this method, you need to total up the costs that you incur in delivering a service and base the price on that. While the method does not provide an answer to what the price should be, it puts information in the hands of the decision-maker. The decision-maker can take other inputs into consideration, like is theirs a new business or an established one. A new business might want to price low to attract clientele. On the other hand, a new business might want to price themselves high in order to create a ‘premium’ positioning.

While simple to understand, as you go deeper you have to answer questions like, “should we only recover the direct cost or the indirect cost as well?” Again, the answer depends on the entire set of variables being considered by the decision-maker.

oWorkers is able to keep its operating costs low, which is shared with clients through the pricing. For resource hiring, a significant cost for BPOs, oWorkers benefits from the deep connects it has in their local communities. This makes oWorkers a preferred employer which leads to a constant flow of walk-in applicants desirous of jobs. This helps us keep our cost to attract candidates low, and also gives us the flexibility to hire for handling short-term peaks and troughs of clients, otherwise a significant cost if they have to carry idle resources for the rest of the year.

Pricing of competitors

As the name suggests, for commoditized services, such as data entry, one could take the price being charged by competitors as a benchmark and price their service around it, based on their evaluation of the customers’ perception of the value being provided to them by the two services. Competing on price with competitors is to be guarded against as it could snowball out of control and lead to a downward spiral in the fortunes of all incumbents.

In our chosen area of data-oriented projects, that includes data entry, oWorkers stands apart. We have been recognized as one of the three best providers in the world on more than one occasion.

Value perception

What does the customer think of your service? And there is no easy way to do this. Many companies run surveys where they ask customers to rank and rate them against competitor products or services. If such surveys have provided definitive answers it would be difficult to know since they have not taken over the world. Eventually even surveys will provide information, not answers.

oWorkers influences its clients’ businesses in many ways with their experience and capability. We are able to offer services in more than 22 languages across our three centers in three different geographies. Our centers are equipped to operate 24×7 to fulfil client needs.

We need to remember that our business will not become successful simply by our deciding on the price point. There is a customer on the other side of the equation who has to take a similar decision; how much should we pay for a particular service? They will perhaps have similar considerations and criteria when they evaluate your quotation; how much do competitors charge? At this price point will it add value to our business? Is this service better or worse than competitors in terms of quality? Data entry pay will be influenced by all of them.

A related decision is on the charging mechanism of the price. Should it be based on:

Per unit of time? – Say $5 per hour or $1000 per month. The resource will be committed to the work of the client for the committed or required duration. Might be suitable when a specialist’s time is the critical resource.

Per unit of output? – Say $20 per consultation (for a medical doctor). There will be some specifications around what the client could expect from that output unit.

Per project? – This is similar to the ‘per unit of output’ model. In this case, the output unit is larger, the entire project.

Retainership? – Lawyers and consultants often operate on the basis of a retainer fee. This is a model used in knowledge and expertise-based engagements like lawyers and management consultants. 

oWorkers offers transparent pricing to its customers and offers a choice between rate per unit of time and rate per unit of output. Many of our customers have reported savings of upto 80% after outsourcing data entry work to us.

How much does data entry pay?

While ‘it pays as much as you can get it to pay’ may be a correct response, it does not make the seeker any wiser.

At the same time, since data entry is a global activity, it cannot be funnelled down into a single response that is applicable universally. Both clients and providers can come from any part of the world. Would we pay the same to a data entry operator working from Plovdiv in Bulgaria as we would to another operator doing the same work in Hyderabad, India? Would we pay the same to transcribe the recording of a video conference as we would to enter the names, addresses and phone numbers on name cards collected at a business conference; both done by the same person?

Maybe we will. Maybe we won’t. Probably we don’t have enough information to be able to take a clear decision on how much it pays. What we will do is lay down some of the considerations that should be borne in mind when a recruiter (organization) decides on a specific data entry pay scale. These considerations will also be valid to a large extent on the flip side because a person seeking the role will also evaluate suitability for herself. Like any other financial consideration, each party wants the best for the lowest cost.

For the most part, when a person switches her job, the most common method of the new organization to fix her salary is by using the existing salary as a benchmark and then adjusting it for relevant variables. For a new role, an effort can be made to divine salaries for similar roles in other companies. Salary benchmarking is a common practice even for existing roles in an organization. Over and above this basic consideration, adjustments will likely be made for the following:

Educational qualifications

While it is usually used for determining suitability, whether a person qualifies to be considered for the role or not, educational qualifications can also be used to adjust salary levels, on the assumption that a better qualified person will deliver better results. For data entry pay as well, educational qualifications could have a bearing.

Prior experience

This is relevant in case of jobs where the impact of an individual expands with the experience she gains. Even for roles where additional experience does not necessarily translate into better performance, some companies may choose to give credit for it through higher pay.

Nature/ complexity of work

This is perhaps the most relevant part of the decision; the nature and complexity of work. The greater the complexity, the required educational qualifications and experience will slide up automatically in many cases. The greater the complexity of work, suitable resources are also expected to be difficult to find. Hence, even the demand-supply equation will push up salaries for complex work. The flip side could be that people qualified to do complex, specialized jobs may need to compete for only a few of them at any point in time.

Availability of resources

This is the traditional demand-supply equation of economics. Greater demand pushes up prices while greater supply depresses them.


This could be seen as a corollary of resource availability, though not in isolation. Many competitors could be offering a similar service. That might suggest a struggle for resources that could uplift prices. However, it is also possible that the competition is for a low-skill role for which there is adequate availability of resources.


Cost of living varies from place to place and influences salary levels. Data entry pay offered in New York is likely to be higher than what is offered for the same work in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Very often these differences are also used as inputs to determine the location of a certain facility.

Labor laws

Most geographies have labor laws that define the basic salaries levels that need to be paid to employees in certain categories of jobs. However, that being applicable to all competitors is more a matter of adherence than decision-making.

oWorkers for data entry

oWorkers operates from secure facilities. We are GDPR compliant and ISO (27001:2013 & 9001:2015) certified. Our management team comes with over 20 years of hands-on experience and are directly involved in all our projects.

Many large technology companies, including unicorn marketplaces have chosen oWorkers as their partner. They trust us to handle data entry pay and other aspects related to delivery of the service. We hope you will, too.

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