Laurence Errington - Indexer

Fees - My general policy

Hourly rate

The Society of Indexers (SI) in the UK has a recommended hourly rate of £21.95 minimum (as from Jan 1st 2012). The minimum rate "applies to (a) a standard non-specialist text and (b) the least experienced indexer in any subject at any level of specialism".

Page rate (equivalent to a set/total fee)

The SI estimate that the hourly rate translates to around £2.45 but in practice this is very variable (see below).

Hourly rate vs page rate

The hourly rate unfortunately does not give an indication of the total fee which is usually of most concern to clients. Indexers do not all work at the same speed and estimating the total time for a job before completing a significant part of it can be very difficult.

I therefore try to provide an estimate of the total fee in an over-the-phone discussion. If you divide the total fee by the number of pages of your text, you obtain the page rate. My rates are typically between £1.70 and £2.50 per page of text. The major factors affecting this range are complexity of text, page size, print size and index length (commonly referred to as density of indexing) required. If on receiving the work (and perhaps after indexing a few pages), I think that the estimate is perhaps too little, I always contact the client straight away, rather than proceeding and thus charging a higher-than-agreed fee. In practice the total fee is usually no more and is sometimes less than the over-the-phone estimate.

With my substantial experience of over 1400 texts, I'm able to work very efficiently. As the SI say themselves in Indexers Available, "experienced indexers, and especially experienced specialist indexers, work faster than the less experienced, and clients should therefore expect this experience and skill to merit a higher hourly rate. The client should appreciate that this higher rate per hour will not necessarily result in a higher total fee".

Factors which may increase hourly rates, or page rates are

1. Indexers experience and subject knowledge.

2. complexity of text which needs a detailed understanding of the subject matter.

3. pressure to produce an index in a very short time and the need to work unsociable hours.

For comprehensive information on the SI guidelines for clients on indexing fees, please see their booklet Indexers Available or visit their site map page at their web site at, where you will find the link to costs for publishers. For a direct link to the fees page try SI fees advice page.

Return to home/title page

References: comments from authors

Qualifications: experience, subject specialisms; equipment

email for contacting me with queries at

Personally profiled in The Indexer (SI Journal)

SI web site where you'll find me listed in Indexers Available, plus lots of other info

Site last updated March 2012