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what information do I need to be sure I'm dealing with a bona fide business
Thread poster: Roy Williams

Roy Williams  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 21:40
German to English
Feb 28, 2008

Since I've been registered at ProZ, I've viewed so many forums dealing with supicious or non-paying clients and I'm therefore hesitant about freelancing. How can one best protect oneself from such dangers? When considering taking on a job/client, what information do I need to request to ensure that I'm dealing with a real business or company rep and not someone trying to get something for nothing?



[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-02-28 10:30]


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Mihailolja
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:40
Member (2004)
Ukrainian to English
+ ...
A few tips Feb 28, 2008

This is what I do:

1.Check the proz blueboard.
2.Check that the person offering you the job has a website and a "proper" one at that.
3.Never accept a job unless you are given a purchase order number.

Best Regards

Mihailo


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:40
English to German
+ ...
No perfect solution Feb 28, 2008

Hi WilRoy,
There's no perfect solution, I'm afraid - if you're in business, you have to live with a certain level of risk. But it's important to be aware of the risks you're exposed to, and to manage them actively.

To give you an example, turning down a € 50 job from an unknown client just because you don't know them might mean giving up a potentially attractive business opportunity. In this case, 50 euros might constitute a risk well worth taking. Doing the same with € 5,000 is gambling.

What I expect from a business partner asking me to do business with them is that they divulge (preferably, without having to ask):
- their full business address details, including a contact telephone number and a proper address;
- a full contact name;
- a reasonable description of the job at hand (if applicable).

Before committing anything, I look at
- reference databases (including in particular, but not limited to, the Blue Board);
- company registries (such as Companies House in the UK, or Handelsregister Online in Germany);
- other online sources.

Note that the non-existence of a website does not necessarily mean something is fishy. If in doubt, and/or the amounts involved are too large, ask for a 30-50% down payment.

Best regards,
Ralf


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 21:40
French to Dutch
+ ...
.. Mar 3, 2008

Mihailolja wrote:

This is what I do:

1.Check the proz blueboard.
2.Check that the person offering you the job has a website and a "proper" one at that.
3.Never accept a job unless you are given a purchase order number.

Best Regards

Mihailo

A website is not a good indication of a "proper business"... it isn't even an indication that the company really exists.

Other things you can do:
4. Check if the company is registered as a business and has a proper address, by all means available to you (Government company registration bodies, Yellow Pages, ...)
5. Check the financial figures of the company (for instance a € 30,000 job coming from a company with an annual turnover of € 10,000 is suspect)
6. Try to have them on the phone in order to "feel the temperature". If job handling is a mess, payment will be too.
7. Ask other translators
8. Do a general Google search

If the company is not a registered business, take care, because other intermediaries, including free-lance translators, are likely to have cash flow problems in case of big jobs.

And even if it is a registered business, accidents are always possible (companies that close down after 10 or 20 years of successful business really exist).

[Bijgewerkt op 2008-03-03 09:46]


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