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Rush fee - is it fair/realistic/professional to start charging an extra 15%?
Thread poster: mbc
mbc
Spain
Local time: 17:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
Feb 24, 2004

Lately all of my work has been very rushed. Clients expect huge volumes done in a week or sometimes two. Do you think it´s fair/realistic/professional to start charging an extra 15% for jobs that require me to translate over 2000 words a day?

It´s important to mention that I live in Spain and work with Spanish and Catalan direct clients. In the US, I might be quicker to tell the client that I´m charging a rush fee, here I worry that they will just find someone else who´s willing to work faster for a lot less...

Do you have set rush "rules" and do clients usually accept them?

Thanks in advance.


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Channa Montijn  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:48
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Depends on your personal situation of course, Feb 24, 2004

however, personally I do not think 2000-3000 words a day is a rush-job.
And if it is a good client of mine, I do not even charge for weekend-work.
I think feedback of client, respect for the work you do, normal rates and payment on time is far more important than charging extra (and again... I do not consider 2000 words per day a rush job).
Cheers
Channa


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
I think it may be a mistake.... Feb 24, 2004

Hi Madeline

I live in Spain too, and what I have found with direct clients is that they generally ask rather than impose a time limit. I always propose a completion date and ask them to let me know if that\'s OK with them. They usually accept my proposed date. I have occasionally done rush jobs at short notice for them, but have never charged them extra, after all, 9 times out of 10 I can negotiate a delivery that suits ME:-)

Maybe you are in the situation where all of a sudden practically ALL your direct clients are asking you to do jobs in a hurry, in which case you are obviously going to have to try and prioritise in some way..........

Nonetheless, I cannot see any of my regulars being happy with a surcharge (in fact I think they would be quite offended!) maybe becuase I never introduced the concept in the early days...

Anyway, that\'s my \'grano de arena\' for what it\'s worth:-)


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Mónica Machado
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:48
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Agree Feb 24, 2004

Hello,

I agree with Channa.

If your direct clients are good ones (i.e. they pay on time, like your job and trust you) it is probably a good idea to avoid rush fees.

I would only consider rush fees if a direct client has a large project (over 30k) to be done in say 10 days (including, time for self-proofreading, query resolution, heavy formatting, final reading, etc.) which implies I do 4k a day. Mind, that a direct client that trusts you and your professionalist wouldn't rush you so much:-) and would call you before the work is really available to settle the best deadline for the client himself and for you (the translator).

This means that to a good direct client I very rarely apply the urgency rate:-)

Hope this helps
Kind regards,
Mónica


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:48
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Charging rush rates in Spain Feb 24, 2004

Generally Spanish clients will not like it. They generally will start looking elsewhere if you start tacking on extra fees. I do make some exceptions, like the time a regular client needed 10,000 words translated in 2 days. I had raised the price by 25% but I don't think I would venture to raise it any more than that in Spain. In this case there was no problem with the client because they understood how demanding they were being.

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:48
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Recent related topic Feb 24, 2004

http://www.proz.com/?sp=bb/new&ViewTopic&post=117228#117228

Everything that brings the boss' blood pressure up is "urgent" in Spain. Why don't you try defining that objectively first?

If you follow some of these recommendations for "rush jobs", your clients may find that it wasn't such a rush after all...



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mbc
Spain
Local time: 17:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to all Feb 24, 2004

There are certainly wonderful, trusted clients I would never charge a rush fee, but I do think with some it´s important to set certain limits.

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Aquila Aurata
Local time: 17:48
Hungarian to English
+ ...
Agree ahead of time Feb 24, 2004

Madeline,

I typically charge 25% extra if the job is over 10,000 characters per workday, and 40% if over 20,000. Always agree on the price ahead of time to avoid any misunderstanding. This is standard practice here but Spain would be different I'm sure, so you'll have to go by your local rules.

Cheers,

Peter


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:48
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
I do not charge rush fees! Feb 24, 2004

If I can accept a job and get it done comfortably, I will do it for my normal fee and do not charge the client a rush fee. I also do not mind doing a weekend job, especially for good clients.

I believe that quality and rush do not go together well and I usually explain that to the client.

If they insist on having 15000 words translated in one or two days, then I suggest for them to split the job between me and others or work with someone whose fingers and mind are a lot more nimble than mine.

I have way back in the past accepted rush jobs and have for the most part regretted doing it. I just do not do take them on anymore, too nerve-wracking.

It also depends on the market you are in. Some clients would rather pay extra to get it done fast and some balk at the idea.

Good luck!
Lucinda


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mbc
Spain
Local time: 17:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
starting from the top Feb 24, 2004

Perhaps, I wasn´t clear in my question. I´m not asking about suddenly saying to a client "Hey, there´s a rush fee." That is obviously unprofessional. I was wondering about mentioning it at the start with new clients. In Spain, it´s definitely not the thing to do, but I was interested in knowing other people´s opinions because lately colleagues have been telling me I´m too "soft," not agressive enough. Just wanted some second opinions. Cheers.

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Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:48
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
I charge a rush fee Feb 24, 2004

I've found it's a good way of vetting the real rush jobs from the fake ones.
I ask for 30% extra, and when I mention this to the customer they generally "discover" there's not so much of a rush after all.
I've simply gotten tired of people calling at 5 pm on Friday for a job due at 9 am Monday.
Simply by way of example, today (Tuesday)I got a call from someone wanting a job of nearly 13,000 words of specialized stuff for Friday first thing. It's ridiculous to expect translators to "fit this in". I turned the job down, but had I taken it, I would have had no qualms about asking for more money. After all, I'm the one who would end up working after dinner when everyone at the customer's office has gone home.
If it really is a rush job, people are more than happy to pay. And I have yet to lose a customer over this.


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George Runde
Norway
Local time: 11:48
Norwegian to English
+ ...
cbolton has a good point Feb 24, 2004

I tell my clients what my typical and acceptable workload is per day. I also tell them with tight deadlines, I can do more. Right before Christmas I had to do a translation of a newsletter. I ended up doing 12000 words in 1 1/2 evenings, since I can only work after 6 pm (have another day job). The important thing is communication, and as cbolton pointed out, if the customer has a need for speed, they are more likely to accept a higher rate. Not because they like to, but they agree that their need necessitates the need to work inconvenient hours, and it seems equitable to compensate for this.

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Erika Pavelka  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:48
French to English
I charge rush rates too Feb 25, 2004

Interesting thread. From what I've read, it seems that clients in Spain are more likely to look elsewhere if a translator tells them a rush rate will apply to the job. Here in Canada, clients seem more accepting of rush rates. They understand that you'd have to work outside of regular business hours to get the job done (from my experience, it's easier to get rush rates from clients than from agencies).

In essence, it's up to the translator to decide whether their time outside normal business hours is worth extra remuneration. Mine certainly is, and I do ask for a rush rate where I see fit. And, since everyone has a different daily output, a rush for one translator may not be one for another.

Madeleine, to answer your question, it is realistic, fair and professional to charge 15% extra for a rush job. I know some translators who charge even 50% more!

FWIW,

Erika


[Edited at 2004-02-25 14:23]


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Cathy Flick  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:48
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
Negotiable rush fees work in the US Feb 26, 2004

I'm usually negotiable about rush fees depending on the circumstances (how tired I am, how stressful the job will be due to subject difficulties, how fast or slow work has been lately) and the client (how easy they are to work with, how reliable they are in paying without being chased). But here in the US I've been successful in getting 25% surcharge for medium-rush and 50% surcharge for real rush (my "weekend-killer" rate, which includes jobs that will result in forced evening or weekend work on that job or other jobs pushed aside for it).
One new agency a few years ago actually told me to do precisely that for them, and they define rush for their clients as anything within 3 working days, medium-rush as anything within 5 working days, regular for within 7-8 working days. (I've seen that definition on web sites for some other US agencies also.) So often they ask me directly to quote them for the 3 different possibilities. With other clients, I find that giving them different deadlines with different payment options can help their end clients decide that it isn't as rush as they thought .... If I know that I can't fit the job immediately even with a rush rate dangled in front of me, I let them know that also and encourage them to see if the client can wait longer and get the cheaper rate from a real live chemist and physicist. (Being a real live scientist with real live advanced degrees is definitely a selling point in my work .... So probably the more specialized you are, the easier it is to pry more money out of clients!)
I tell my clients that non-rush for me typically means no more than 1000-1500 words per business day, starting from the day that my schedule is clear enough to actually start the job. I can usually (not always) do more than that in a day, but I need to keep my schedule partially clear for some recurring projects. Plus I often am booked up for at least a week in advance, sometimes longer. But I do negotiate the fee depending on the job, my schedule, my mood, how many rush jobs I've already handled recently, etc .... and often also just tell the project manager to get as much as they can from their end client within my range, not going below such-and-such. That is, I don't want to tie their hands in negotiating with their end client (unless of course it's a job I would be just as happy to lose!). I find that I usually can trust the project manager to get the best deal for me, at least with the agencies who have worked with me for a while.
So it's certainly fair and professional to charge rush fees. As for being realistic -- well, how high you can go will depend on your clients. But you can always indicate in your general terms that a certain surcharge MAY be applied for rush work, and just remain negotiable about it. If I do rush work without charging the surcharge, or charge medium-rush when it's really rush, I always indicate on the invoice that I have waived the rush surcharge or something like that, just so they know that they are getting a bargain. That also could be a first step in getting clients used to the idea of rush charges - put your possible surcharge somewhere on your invoice template, then waive it for the jobs/clients you like best.

Peace, Cathy Flick

Ph.D. Chemical Physics/M.A. Physics/B.S. Chemistry
Scientific Translator since 1978
Russian/French/German/Spanish/Italian into US English


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 17:48
English to German
+ ...
Rush fee, weekend, overnight etc., Feb 26, 2004

Madeline Carey wrote:

Lately all of my work has been very rushed. Clients expect huge volumes done in a week or sometimes two. Do you think it´s fair/realistic/professional to start charging an extra 15% for jobs that require me to translate over 2000 words a day?

It´s important to mention that I live in Spain and work with Spanish and Catalan direct clients. In the US, I might be quicker to tell the client that I´m charging a rush fee, here I worry that they will just find someone else who´s willing to work faster for a lot less...

Do you have set rush "rules" and do clients usually accept them?

Thanks in advance.
normally 25% on-price, rush fee ( volume or project price) weekend, 25%, overnight 25%. Many cusotmers do not pay the pre-processing charge, i.e, I ned to read the document atleast twice before starting with the translation, let the read content work on me, let me do some online research etc., .

Best Regards,
Brandis


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