Indexing fees

Recommended rates

From 1 January 2024, the Society recommends indexing rates of £31.60 an hour, £3.55 per page or £9.55 per thousand words for an index to a non-academic text.

It is recommended that these figures be used as a basis for estimating the total cost of an index. It should be noted that experienced indexers working on specialised texts will normally charge more than the rates quoted above, which are applicable to non-specialist texts. Indexers listed in the SI Directory are typically freelance professionals running their own businesses. Rates charged therefore have to cover the individual’s overheads, which include income tax and National Insurance, pension provision, continuing professional development (CPD), office equipment, software and utilities, and an element of non-billable working time, such as administration and holidays.

Our recommended rates are reviewed on an annual basis and updated at the start of each new year.

Negotiation of fees

Before being asked to agree a fee the indexer should see the proofs, or at least a few specimen pages, in order to make a fair assessment of what is involved. If time is too short for that, at least the following details should be given:

  • subject, length and format of book
  • readership aimed at, to allow the indexer to assess the level of speciality required
  • pages/number of lines allowed for index
  • time available to produce the index
  • format in which the index is required (rtf, html, PDF)
  • whether the fee includes incidental expenses or whether these can be charged separately
  • any factors listed below that affect the time required.

Factors that may increase the time required for indexing

  • reference and research texts requiring indexes equal in importance to the textual content
  • detailed indexing of figures and tables
  • foreign language text content
  • need for consultation of reference sources to ascertain correct form of index entry
  • requirement to consult author
  • proofs of poor quality, or of an awkward size or format, which are difficult to read or handle
  • proofs received out of sequential order
  • late amendments to proofs
  • non-standard house style or presentation
  • embedding of tags or insertion of hyperlinks.

Factors that may increase the rate charged

  • complex text which needs a detailed understanding of the subject matter
  • pressure to produce an index in a very short time
  • necessity to work unsocial hours
  • embedding of tags or insertion of hyperlinks.