Deciding that you want a professional proofreader to correct your work is a fairly straight forward thing to do. After all, the benefits of proofreading are clear, whether you are an international student, the owner of a growing local business, or a prominent academic.
However, what is less clear is the question of how to go about choosing the best proofreading service provider. With the rise of the Internet, countless online proofreading service providers now exist, each one claiming that they are the best choice.
So, the purpose of this short article is to outline some of the things you should consider before you make your decision about which proofreading service provider to hire for your work.
- The critical factor of price
For several reasons, price is an important thing to consider when choosing the best proofreading service provider.
First, higher prices don’t always correspond to higher quality work. We all know how true this is in other industries, including the fashion industry, and the same applies in the proofreading space.
Second, pricing schemes may differ between service providers. For example, some online proofreading companies will charge you based on the number of words in your document, while others will charge you based on an hourly rate.
In my view, the per word pricing scheme is more transparent than the hourly scheme, but you should make this decision based on your own needs. For example, if your document isn’t tremendously technical and won’t take very long to read, the hourly scheme could be the better option.
And finally, price may be a limiting factor for some customers, depending on their budget. For example, some corporations may allocate only a small budget to proofreading their brand content, which will inform how they go about searching for the best proofreading service provider.
- Word of mouth
While there are excellent proofreading service providers out there with few people to vouch for them (e.g., start-ups), it’s always worth reading a few customer reviews. If possible, you can get the opinion of family or friends who may have used a specific provider, which is usually more credible.
- Asking for samples
Most professional proofreading companies will publish samples of previous work on their website. Consider checking over these to see if the service provider’s work matches your quality standards.
- Respond reasonably to advertisements
Advertisements, whether physical (e.g., posters and billboards) or online (e.g., top-ranking Google search listings),shouldn’t always be taken at face value. As argued by Professor Michael Pollana journalism professor at the University of California at Berkley. While food is of course not the same thing as an online proofreading service, and while I myself wouldn’t argue that all advertised products and services should be avoided, Professor Pollan has a point. The point doesn’t map directly onto proofreading, but it is not a truly crazy one.
In the proofreading space, then, I would never say that you should always avoid proofreading service providers that advertise. Instead, my recommendation is to consider looking out for reliable, highly-regarded online proofreading companies that may charge less and do even better work than their larger, advertising-heavy counterparts.
At the same time, just because a proofreading service provider is advertising their services does not mean that they are good at what they do, or that they are the best fit for your needs. Try to respond reasonably to advertisements, and check that the advertiser is as reliable as they claim to be.