Mobile menu

Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Forfait mensuel - monthly "retainer" instead of per-job billing
Thread poster: Priscilla Whitaker

Priscilla Whitaker  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:18
Member (2005)
French to English
Aug 25, 2005

I have a major government-related client with multiple departments from whom I get, and will be getting, consistent work on projects ranging from one emergency translation by phone to entire press kits. Based on a suggestion from a PR colleague who has tried a "forfait" method, we are evaluating whether it would be easier to pay me a set amount each month, like a retainer fee (guaranteed, predictable income, no matter what the work quantity - even when I get no work from them) or to continue the multi-department estimate-invoice-payment procedure, which is time-consuming and confusing, but does ensure I get paid for what I do. I have already done their "biggest jobs" (website, press kit, guides) and have been paid by the word/hour.

Has anyone ever tried this? What are your thoughts?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:18
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Possible problems - employment Aug 25, 2005

You could of course charge a 'flat fee' which could be revised every so many months based on the actual jobs done. (So I would always keep a record of the jobs and check if the 'flat fee' is still compensating the amount of work carried out vs easier invoicing - mind you, easier for the outsourcer as well!) The first thing I would be worried about though - not knowing about the situation in France, but taking a 'Dutch'(dim...) view - is whether this relationship would be regarded as an employer-employee relationship, in which case several kinds of social security payments are to be paid by the employer. You may have to check out what the French view on such contracts is.
France is between Spain (where you can invoice just one company as a free-lancer, no trouble) and the northern countries (e.g. the Netherlands where you have to prove you are an independent contractor time and again).


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Priscilla Whitaker  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:18
Member (2005)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
good point, Anjo - Aug 25, 2005

That's a good point, Anjo - especially with the new government heads redoing the labor law! I'll check on the legal dimension - I might have to do some monthly itemized "billing" to justify the flat rate (if indeed I choose to go that route). Merci.

Still, would love to hear from anyone who has tried it, in any country.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxsarahl
Local time: 22:18
English to French
+ ...
Could be mission impossible... Aug 25, 2005

Hi Priscilla...

Based on my personal experience, I don't think the legal aspect is going to be a problem, at least not in France.

However, coming up with a fair figure could prove close to impossible.

What I suggest you do instead -it has worked for me so far- is bill this client once a month. Basically, keep track of every word you translate for them and sum it up at the end of every month. This will also help with your professional relationship. As someone pointed out, a monthly retainer would make you an employee of sorts, at least in their eyes, and that could prove sticky...

Best,

Sarah


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Elizabeth Adams  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:18
Member (2002)
Russian to English
+ ...
Monthly billing Aug 25, 2005

I use monthly and even twice yearly billing for several clients.

It saves time keeping track of smaller checks and bank transfers, and there's no fear of being under- or overpaid.

If they are sending you a steady stream of work that you can predict fairly well, then why not agree to a retainer but with the provision that you would be paid separately for anything over a certain volume?

Elizabeth


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:18
English to German
+ ...
I would be very careful about "will be getting" Aug 25, 2005

Priscilla Whitaker wrote:

I have a major government-related client with multiple departments from whom I get, and will be getting, consistent work ...


What makes you so sure that you "will be getting" future work from them? Who can predict?

Isn't there a lot of outsourcers who promise "future consistent workflows"?

And how many times does it become true - one in a thousand.

The more when it's government-related. Tomorrow somebody will suspend the funding for their translation stuff, and you're done. Why shouldn't they pay a freelancer as it's common rule? Why do you want to do them a favour? If you agree to a fixed monthly, I am sure the amount of workload will grow every month, because you will be the cheapest worker they can have - in practice they will pay you like a "fixed salary" but with no obligation or guarantee, as in the case of permanent employment. You will be obliged to be at their service whenever needed, they will not have any obligations. Does this sound fair to you? Your choice...

This is besides the point that the financial authorities like to suspect permanent employment everywhere to try to hold you and your outsourcers liable to pay to the public social insurance system. We in Germany already have these rules.

One of the criteria for "suspected permanent employment" is if you work "too much", "too often" or "too regularly" for a limited number of companies. And this gives many freelancers in many professions quite some headache to proof to the tax office they are self-employed.

Steffen

[Edited at 2005-08-25 20:06]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:18
English to German
+ ...
Yes but... Aug 25, 2005

Elizabeth Adams wrote:

I use monthly and even twice yearly billing for several clients.

It saves time keeping track of smaller checks and bank transfers, and there's no fear of being under- or overpaid.

Elizabeth


... don't mix up different things: it's one thing to issue a bill for a client just once in a certain period instead of billing for every single order, but based on actual workload (if you can afford to wait a year for the money - why not), and a totally different thing to agree upon a fixed payment amount every month, which could be seen as kind of you're being employed by the outsourcer.

In Moscow, of course, none of these "wellfare state problems" would ever arise, I know.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Priscilla Whitaker  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:18
Member (2005)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
great to hear a variety of opinions Aug 25, 2005

To all of you, thank you for taking the time to reflect and reply - it is wonderful to hear a variety of opinions (instead of just all the conflicting voices in my head)...

I'll keep this open a while longer for more input - it will help me prepare for the next conversation with the division president!

Thanks again for your suggestions... Priscilla


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxsarahl
Local time: 22:18
English to French
+ ...
Hmmm... Aug 25, 2005

Steffen Pollex wrote:


This is besides the point that the financial authorities like to suspect permanent employment everywhere to try to hold you and your outsourcers liable to pay to the public social insurance system. We in Germany already have these rules.



Steffen

[Edited at 2005-08-25 20:06]


Steffen,

in France, free-lancers pay through the nose! If anything, the French government would hate to lose free-lancers to companies, they contribute so much to the public insurance system, unemployment fund and the like.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:18
Member
English to French
I wouldn't go for it Aug 25, 2005

Because I suppose this arrangement would imply that at any time, their jobs have priority against others. What would you do if they send you out of the blue some one-week full-time project starting now, just when you accepted another project from another customer?
I would simply not feel comfortable knowing that a project can just spring out and that anything else at hand would have to wait. As a freelancer I can turn down any job that I don't want to/can't do for any good or bad reason, but as an "employee" I would be tied up to whatever comes out. Very frightening indeed.
THE good arrangement would be to get a monthly cheque for the amount you would have earned translating full time...
My own opinion, for what it's worth.
Philippe


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Roberta Anderson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:18
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
advance funds, or monthly flat fee with min-max threshold Aug 26, 2005

For a couple of clients I have in place an arragement similar to what Elizabeth describes:
I invoice a certain fee at the beginning of a given period, get paid in advance, and keep track of when this "funds" run out - then I contact the client, who sends me a new PO (for the same or revised amount) that will cover the next few months/jobs.
It's not just easier for the client, but also for me, as I do not have to keep track of lots of POs for little jobs (... in busy months the advance funds run out faster, in quieter months they last longer... but I do get paid for the actual work done.

For a flat monthly fee (NOTE: of which I have no experience, so what follows is purely theoretical), I would consider establishing a min. (fair for the client) and a max. (fair for me) work amount covered, to avoid the risk mentioned by Steffen. When the min is not reached, that month's work would get bundled together with the following one and 1 monthly invoice missed; viceversa, when the max. is exceeded, I would issue a second invoice to cover the extra work not covered by the monthly fee - warning the client as soon as I realise that the max is getting exceeded, so the client can either cancel any further requests for that month or issue a PO to cover them.

cheers,
Roberta


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxsarahl
Local time: 22:18
English to French
+ ...
A word of caution Aug 26, 2005

Priscilla,

One more thing. You say this client is "government-related."
If you have been in France a while, you must know all about their bureaucracy.

I worked exactly ONCE for a government-related client myself. I finally got my check after 6 months and multiple phone calls. As you can probably imagine, the people dealing with you are not paying you themselves, and your invoice has to go through any number of controls before someone finally releases that money to you.

All the more reason not to commit yourself to this one client.

FWIW

Sarah


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxNicolette Ri
Local time: 07:18
French to Dutch
+ ...
I would accept Aug 26, 2005

In France, you will be considered as a salaried worker (in regard to Urssaf) if you accept the working conditions of the client (i.e. working in the client's offices) or if you accept the amount that the client wants you to invoice. Or in the case that you are working for more than 30% of your turnover for one client. So in order to avoid this:
- stay working at home or in your office
- sent your client a "devis" in which you state YOUR rates or flat free amount and conditions
- take care that the amount that you will be invoicing in a year does not exceed 30% of your turnover
- insist on being paid by direct bank transfer.

With these precautions I would accept the proposal of the client without hesitation. Payment will be long, but guaranteed. Their problem is probably that without a "devis" they cannot set aside the amount needed for a translator, and a "devis" is only possible if you can quote how much you will be working in a month. You can estimate this amount basing yourself on your past experience.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:18
German to English
+ ...
No way Aug 26, 2005

If you undertake to accept whatever work they send you for a flat fee, what is to stop the customer from sending you three months' work in a single month, to be completed in a single month for a single month's retainer? From your description, it sounds as though you are offering the customer a "season-ticket translator". If you have a season ticket for something, whereby you pay once and use as much as you like, you make full use of it, don't you?

As an aside: customers who have difficulty settling invoices should be taught to do so, rather than this foible being accommodated.

On the other hand, if an employer-employee relationship is the best solution for both parties, then why not propose becoming a salaried translator with them? On reasonable terms though, not some form of pseudo-employment.

Marc

[Edited at 2005-08-26 09:29]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Priscilla Whitaker  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:18
Member (2005)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
I'm listening! Aug 26, 2005

Sorry to not have had the time to reply to each of your excellent opinions - you know how it can be when you're on deadline. I'll write more soon (tomorrow) - there are a couple things I'd like to clarify. Just wanted to let you know I was reading what you wrote and appreciate the input. PW

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 »

Forfait mensuel - monthly "retainer" instead of per-job billing

Advanced search


Translation news





PDF Translation - the Easy Way
TransPDF converts your PDFs to XLIFF ready for professional translation.

TransPDF converts your PDFs to XLIFF ready for professional translation. It also puts your translations back into the PDF to make new PDFs. Quicker and more accurate than hand-editing PDF. Includes free use of Infix PDF Editor with your translated PDFs.

More info »
LSP.expert
You’re a freelance translator? LSP.expert helps you manage your daily translation jobs. It’s easy, fast and secure.

How about you start tracking translation jobs and sending invoices in minutes? You can also manage your clients and generate reports about your business activities. So you always keep a clear view on your planning, AND you get a free 30 day trial period!

More info »



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