Is it OK to have different rates for different clients?
Thread poster: Maria Diaz

Maria Diaz
United States
Local time: 16:05
English to Spanish
Jul 24, 2003

I got a new client by a 3rd person referral (someone asked my client for a translator reference and then gave my info. to his client).

When setting the rates for my current client I considered some factors specific to his situation: he was not satisfied with an Agency's work. He was actually the one who came looking for me, because he knew the quality of my work. Although my per word rate is a little higher than the agency's he still saves a lot on other fees. So it's a good deal for both.

I'm afraid this new potential client may find my rates too high. If I adjust my rates, I'm afraid my current client may find out, and if so, should that be a problem?

Is it OK to have diff. rates for diff. clients? I don't want to have double standards, but the situation is different. Is the new client not being familiar with my work a reason for adjusting my rates?

Can we have a confidentiality agreement were rates are not to be disclosed to other parties? Would that really work? Any other suggestion? I don't want to lose this potential client! Thank you


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 19:05
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
In this case I wouldn't do it Jul 24, 2003

I got a new client by a 3rd person referral (someone asked my client for a translator reference and then gave my info to his client).


It's likely that he also told him about your rates.

If I adjust my rates, I'm afraid my current client may find out, and if so, should that be a problem?


If I was your client I'd feel it as a betrayal. And it would hurt more if thanks to me you got new clients.

Is it OK to have diff. rates for diff. clients? I don't want to have double standards, but the situation is different. Is the new client not being familiar with my work a reason for adjusting my rates?

Yes to the first question, no to the second one.
I recommend different rates in different context (local rates for local clients/ international rates for international clients), but the second point doesn't seem valid to me. You can tell him that it might seem a little bit higher than other translators but that as soon as he sees your work he'll understand why. Or specify for the first job a special discount, in order to let him appreciate that you're worth the difference.

Let's hear other opinions...


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:05
German to English
+ ...
Of course it is. Jul 24, 2003

If every text were the same, it might be difficult to justify. But no two texts are the same. In fact, it would be quite justifiable to have a different rate for each text - if you were to charge by the hour, that is exactly what would happen.

I have taken a different approach and have several prices for each customer, to take into account the difference in work entailed by certain texts. In order to reduce my administration overhead, though, I am gradually aligning prices from one customer to the next.

I don't think it's any of your clients' business what you charge other clients, and even if it becomes known, you should have no difficulty justifying any difference to your customers. You can offer lower rates for long-standing customers, for instance, or for customers who send you more work, or who pay more promptly.

Marc


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Pat Jenner
Local time: 00:05
German to English
+ ...
Relationship between the new and existing client Jul 24, 2003

Is your new client a client of your existing client? It seems unlikely that your existing client would have given your details to the new client rather than acting as an intermediary, so in that case I don't think you need to worry. If they are, and you have a contract or terms of business issued by your existing client there will certainly be a clause in there prohibiting direct contact with end clients. As to charging different rates, you should charge what you think you are worth and what the market will bear. For quite a while I had lots of different rates, gradually increasing them for new clients, and eventually aligned them all (leaving aside differences for clients in different countries) with no problem.

Good luck

Pat


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 17:05
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
It depends Jul 25, 2003

If two clients know each other, I would charge them both them same, unless one text is substantially longer or more difficult than the other. In that case you can explain that to the new client. Or if I feel that my old rate has become outdated and in a new year I want to raise it, I explain to the new client that "my rate has increased as of January 1st."

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Ramon Somoza  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:05
Member (2002)
Dutch to Spanish
+ ...
In this case, charge the same - but it's ok to apply different rates Aug 11, 2003

Since an existing client has sent this new client to you, probably he told also what you are charging him. Hence, I would advice to offer the new client the same rates you are applying to your old client, and even state it explicitly that you are doing so. If you think it's still high, indicate that you are aware that your prices are high, but that is due to the quality or your work, and offer a discount in case of a long relationship is established.

On the other hand, it's ok to charge different rates to different clients - for example, you will charge more to a newcomer, but make discounts to somebody who is giving you tons of work, or who always pays promptly, etc...


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