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San Francisco Editing Firm Prospering in Economic Downturn

By Jena Gaines

It is no secret that the economy has been "sluggish" and there have been murmurs that the United States is in the midst of a recession. However, not all small businesses are suffering from the weakened dollar and surging gasoline prices. A San Francisco-based proofreading and editing company is having a prosperous year, and according to an August 5 press release, "Business is Booming for Papercheck and EditorLive." Papercheck's business has increased due to the slowing economy and the need for businesses to outsource corporate editing.

Papercheck is not affected by the cost of rising oil prices. The majority of its editing staff works remotely and only check in once a month at the San Francisco downtown office. The staff is not restricted to the local Bay Area talent pool so the company can acquire talented editors nationwide. Corporate downsizing is benefiting Papercheck, as seasoned editors at U.S. firms are replaced by younger college graduates.

I spoke with Darren Shafae, Founder and Vice President of Papercheck, about the August 5 press release. I wanted to know how the company is qualifying its editing staff and maintaining the high editing standards. Mr. Shafae explained, "Papercheck has built a proprietary test that can quickly assess an applicant's editing skills. The test is composed of two parts. The first part is a multiple choice grammatical and formatting examination. The second is a practical editing exercise. The test is constantly altered to avoid the possibility of being compromised."

Papercheck recently deployed a sample test on Facebook. "The Facebook application is a great accomplishment. Like many of our decisions to build new web applications, the Facebook application was actually a customer/editor driven decision," Mr. Shafae said.

Papercheck prides itself on satisfying its loyal customer base, boasting a nearly perfect client satisfaction rate of 99.95%. According to Mr. Shafae, customers routinely submit essays, books, manuscripts, term papers, business plans, proposals, and dissertations. Mr. Shafae continued, "Papercheck customers are lifetime customers; they grow with our company as they move from their academic careers to the business world."

In June, the San Francisco-based editing firm announced a new editing service called "Second Look." The service was designed after evaluating the results of a client satisfaction survey. "Our clients are perfectionists, and even after a document has been edited, clients tend to modify their documents beyond our suggestions," said Mr. Shafae. Second Look allows the client who has revised an edited document to resubmit it for a follow-up edit. The client then receives a quality edited document, from his or her editor, at a steep discount.

It is easy to see why Papercheck has been successful; since its inception, the company has been customer-driven and valued its customers' feedback. They are not afraid to take the leap and develop third-party applications to attract new editing talent. Employee development and editor satisfaction are a key focus.

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