I spend a lot of time in Registry of Deeds and Probate Courts in Southern New England. I thought it would fun to add myself to Genlighten and offer Deed and Probate lookups since I am in the trenches anyway.
The one thing that is stopping me from signing up is the pricing. I'm not sure how to come up with a single price.
There are just too many variables.
I have one set basic cost - that's my time/gas back and forth to the courthouse. But after that how do I slice it?
Let's look at probate:
- Is the client providing the docket file number, the name and year or just the name? With each diminishing amount of information extra time is needed for research. There are three variables right there.
- Does the client know exactly what they are looking for? A "will" file can contain one piece of paper or myriads of documents. Is the client looking for just the will or also the accounts, distributions, decrees, estate inventories, etc. Personally I would want the whole file but maybe someone just wants to have the will.
- As mentioned above probate files are a mystery until you open them. It doesn't seem fair to charge a person who receives one page the same as someone who receives 100. Not to mention that it takes a lot more of my time to photocopy 100 pages than one page.
I could really use some suggestions. Maybe the idea is the law of averages. That I should create a single price in the middle and that it will ultimately average out. Or maybe I can list additional fees based on extra number of pages.
If anyone is using Genlighten, please send some suggestions my way. I'd really love to be able to provide this service for genealogists who have Southern New England ancestry through an existing website like Genlighten. I'm just stuck on how to get past this one bump.