Mobile menu

Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Agency makes 35% profit!
Thread poster: Joanne Parker

Joanne Parker  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:47
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Jan 15, 2003

Hi,



I have done some work for an agency who accidentally forwarded me a copy of the purchase order from their client. Naturally I took a look (rightly or wrongly) and I\'ve worked out that they\'re making a whopping 35% from the work that I do for them! To make things worse, before making this mistake they insisted I drop my rates as their customer is very keen on cutting costs and also requested the infamous \"volume discount\", whilst the purchase order price that my agency is receiving seems very reasonable to me.



Right now I\'m more than tempted to ditch my agency to put it politely, and will do once I find a new regular customer to replace them. In the meantime, does anyone else know the \"usual\" percentage that is taken by agencies? Are we all being taken for mugs by them, or is this an exceptional case do you think?



All comments gratefully received. I don\'t know, perhaps I\'ve been naive all this time. Either way, my eyes have been opened!



Joanne


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:47
Partial member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
50% Jan 15, 2003

In my experience, agencies charge 50% more than what they pay to translators.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Jeremias MARSCHALIK
Local time: 11:47
Hebrew to French
+ ...
Welcome to the world of free trade! Jan 15, 2003

There is nothing such as \"agencies use to...\", it\'s up to you, after all, you can always say what you want, fight for it and/or say \"No\" (politely, of course) when you are not pleased.

But please do not blame the agency: they do things that you cannot do and offer services you do not offer. And you are perfectly free to start your own agency (then, you\'ll \"squeeze\" freelance translators, and you may surely not give us news anymore...)


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Russell Gillis  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:47
Spanish to English
That's actually pretty good! Jan 15, 2003

As Laura has also mentioned, most agencies I am familiar with charge double (I get half, the agency gets half). So don\'t feel bad about an agency taking 35%!



Now whether charging double is the correct thing to do, that is an entirely different discussion. I guess it\'s the price we pay for not hunting down our own work.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Valeria Verona  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 07:47
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
the way things are Jan 15, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-01-15 19:31, parker wrote:

In the meantime, does anyone else know the \"usual\" percentage that is taken by agencies? Are we all being taken for mugs by them, or is this an exceptional case do you think?





The percentage ranges from 20% to... the sky\'s the limit (I\'ve seen outrageous percentages, believe me!!).

That\'s the way it is most of the time. So when you find an agency that is not like that, stick to it. And in the case of abusive ones, use them as they use you, i.e. if you\'ve got nothing better work for them, but the minute you find a better agency / client, get rid of them without a trace of guilt.



Good luck in your pursuits. Regards,

Valeria

[ This Message was edited by:on2003-01-15 21:50]

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Sonja Tomaskovic  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:47
English to German
+ ...
What's the problem? Jan 15, 2003

I can\'t find anything unethical in here.



Just remember what an agency is doing: they are acquiring new clients, try to get projects from these clients and to do so, have to offer a variety of language pairs, which means in return, they have to find freelance translators (us!) who will work for them. Of course, they have to question our quality by giving us sample translations to separate the wheat from the chaff. And then they give you work, trying to get the best possible rates, which is not uncommon.

Look at yourself: What are you doing all day long? Trying to work for a reasonable (i.e. as high as possible) rate, I suppose.



They are not that different from us freelancers. They, too, have to pay their invoices, heating, electricity, tax ... and finally, employees. How could they do so if they would charge their clients exactly what the freelance translator is charging them?



Look at your own rates: What if the agency earned only 10 or 15 % from what you charge them. Calculate yourself. Could you make a living from 10 or 15 % of your rates?



Regards,



Sonja


Direct link Reply with quote
 

lcmolinari  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:47
Member
French to English
+ ...
35% is not bad at all Jan 15, 2003

Remember that the 35% difference between what you earn and what the agency charges is not necessarily all profit for the agency. Remember that they have overhead costs such as office leasing, licenses, insurance, employee salaries, office supplies, etc. The list goes on and these costs are factored into their prices. In the end, their profit may only be 10%.



Laura is right, most agencies charge close to 50% more than the translator gets. This is normal.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:47
English to German
+ ...
What's "whopping" about 35%? Jan 15, 2003

As so often, just seeing a percentage doesn\'t tell you anything - don\'t forget that this markup represents income, but not profit.



It also depends on how much work the agency does (or has to do) with the work you deliver - if all they do is operate a \"mailbox\", forwarding work without QA, I agree that 35% might be a bit rich. If, on the other hand, they pay you before the end client pays, provide technical support (if needed) and terminology advice, plus make sure the job is perfect before being sent out, I believe 35% to be razor thin.



In essence: how much margin the agency has is their business (literally speaking), not yours. Your business is to make sure you get a fair price from them (note that I don\'t say they are paying a reasonable price). There\'s absolutely nothing to stop you from setting up a network of translators providing services to end clients.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Joanne Parker  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:47
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I guess... Jan 15, 2003

I\'ve been naive then, judging from all this feedback. It\'s certainly given me the kick I needed to look for more direct clients.



My main problem was the fact that they wanted me to lower my prices as much as possible whilst still receiving a decent price from their client. I have some direct clients already and the agency is being very well paid in comparison.



It\'s also been very interesting to see the percentage income for other agencies that you have mentioned. Sorry for incorrectly using the term \"profit\", I do of course understand that they have their employees, heating etc etc.



Until now I have completed the work for this agency without any questions, technical issues or negative feedback, which is why I feel their 35% is an unnecessary amount to take for their involvement. It makes me think that I should really be asking them loads of questions and really checking up on formats etc, just to make sure we are both getting value for money


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 11:47
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
Another way of viewing this Jan 15, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-01-15 19:31, parker wrote:



Right now I\'m more than tempted to ditch my agency to put it politely, and will do once I find a new regular customer to replace them.

Joanne





Now, try to calculate how much it will cost you to 1) find a new regular customer; and 2) if you target direct customers, how much it will cost you to find and maintain cooperation in terms of dealing with all requests and querries 3) provide the same level of service as the agency (e.g. huge projects where YOU will need to find other translators to help, YOU will need to find and check proofreaders, do a DTP, file conversion, etc., YOU will need to negotiate all terms and conditions for each and every single project, etc.) It may or may not be more than 35%. You may or may not like all this additional burden. And finally you may or may not be able to negotiate prices higher than what this agency is willing to pay you.

My personal approach to it is that I don\'t really care how much an agency is charging above my rate, if they are able to negotiate 2x or 3 x more - it only means that they are faaar better negotiators than me.



Magda

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Valeria Verona  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 07:47
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agree Jan 15, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-01-15 20:21, sonjav wrote:

I can\'t find anything unethical in here.



Just remember what an agency is doing: they are acquiring new clients, try to get projects from these clients and to do so, have to offer a variety of language pairs, which means in return, they have to find freelance translators (us!) who will work for them. Of course, they have to question our quality by giving us sample translations to separate the wheat from the chaff. And then they give you work, trying to get the best possible rates




I agree: they have to charge a commission which enables them to do business. I\'d do the same. But maybe SOME agencies just exploit freelancers. Not all thank goodness! And anyway, it\'s part of the game...



Cheers!





Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxHIROSE  Identity Verified
Japanese to English
+ ...
Capitalism Jan 15, 2003

Everyone has good points. Well, I think any society will always have some kind of interrim agencies in any industries as long as we live in capitalism. On the other hand, of course the ideal for both sides (receiving side and providers of any services) would be not to have anything in the middle (cost-wise and foe accurate communication, etc.).



That\'s why \"marketing skills\" are valued so much especially in our current cyber-age. After all, people end up paying a lot of maney to the marketing trainings.... which can be called \"agencies\" in a sense....



I think it is just a plain fact that we human beings cannot get away from bein a social creature (^_^).



But personally, I avoid agencies (*o*).

Thank you for posting this topic, Joanne!!!

[ This Message was edited by:on2003-01-15 22:13]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Elvira Stoianov  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Local time: 11:47
German to Romanian
+ ...
I don't care what an agency (or anyone else) charges Jan 15, 2003

as long as I am content with the rate I receive.

I have one client, member of ProZ, who\'s giving me work translating from Engish into German, none of them being my native languages. Naturally, I get a lower rate than the one I charge for working into my native language. The rate I get for these jobs is a rate most of you would consider on the very low side. I am sure that this person gets a lot of money for these translations, because I am aware of the rates on the international market, and the difference between the rate of this person and my rate is probably much higher than what one would get for a proofreading job. I am sure that my work is not that bad, to cause this person extra work, and since he is always coming back to me, I assume he\'s content with my work.

Well, to make the long story short, even if I work for a very low rate compared to my employer, I don\'t care at all, as long as I am content with what I get from this cooperation. Besides the opportunity of living a more than decent life in my own country, I also get the chance to improve my non-native languages.

Why do you care how much the agency gets? Are you satisfied with the rate you get? If yes, forget the PO you\'ve seen. If not, forget the PO and look for better clients. It\'s that easy.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Antonella Andreella  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:47
German to Italian
+ ...
Only 35%? Jan 15, 2003

I wonder how can they have a profit if they charge just 35% on the translator\'s rate.

If they succeed in getting a profit our of such small %... bravo!





Antonella


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nina Engberg  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:47
Member (2003)
English to Swedish
+ ...
As long as I get paid my rates.. Jan 16, 2003

[quote]

On 2003-01-15 22:16, eli wrote:

as long as I am content with the rate I receive.



I agree completely. As long as I get paid my rates I dont care what the agency charge their client. I just have to remember to charge direct clients more than I charge the agencies.....



Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Agency makes 35% profit!

Advanced search


Translation news





TM-Town
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs