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Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
Poll: Do you send your Terms and Conditions to every new client?
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 01:58
SITE STAFF
Nov 25, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you send your Terms and Conditions to every new client?".

This poll was originally submitted by Veronica Lupascu. View the poll results »



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neilmac
Spain
Local time: 10:58
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Nov 25, 2011

Not if they insist on their own, or if they're smart/communicative/flexible enough not to need them. Sometimes I only mention one or two, usually my stipulations about workable vs time-consuming formats and ABBREVIATIONS/ANAGRAMS and yes folks, I am shouting.

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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:58
Member
German to English
+ ...
No Nov 25, 2011

Neil, do your customers often send you anagrams? I can imagine that might be a little frustrating!

I don't have terms and conditions. Payment terms are stipulated on invoices. I do insist on POs from new clients. Other than that, I agree to deliver the project in the timeframe specified, they agree to pay me. What more do you need.


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Theo Bernards  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:58
English to Dutch
+ ...
Other Nov 25, 2011

I have my Terms & Conditions (I call them my "small print") on my website and since I do all my business via email, I refer in my email signature to my website. I have kept the legalese to a bare minimum and have outlined in plain language the obligations of both myself and my client, plus what the consequences are if the client ignores what is stipulated in my small print. Works reasonably well.

However, if I suspect there will be trouble down the road when I want to collect my payment, I send an order form for the client to fill out with all their business details plus details about the order, and I have placed my small print on that form, as well as a line for the signature of the client. That way, I am covered if I have to take the client to court in his or her own country.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:58
French to English
That would be enough... Nov 25, 2011


neilmac wrote:

(...) ANAGRAMS and yes folks, I am shouting.


.... to make me have a cross word with a client too

In truth, I think we see enough situations described on these very fora to make all of us seriously consider the idea of giving out a full set of T&C, especially where none are otherwise forthcoming, just to cover unusual events, e.g. orders cancelled part way through, new versions of files before completion, etc. And no, I don't always do so, but I recognise I probably should. New Year Resolution coming up...


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Angus Stewart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:58
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
Always Nov 25, 2011

I always send my Terms and Conditions to every new client. In fact it is one of the first things I do after contact is established. I regard it is a matter of good practice, as a way of limiting the potential for disputes to arise and is a practice that I have carried over from my days as a lawyer.

Since Term and Conditions are one of the categories of document that I translate, I think that it is vital for me to use them myself in order to portray a professional image.


neilmac wrote:

Not if they insist on their own.


Neil has a valid point, since some clients have their own Terms and Conditions and it is necessary to reach a compromise as to whose Terms and Conditions get used and adjusted to reflect the terms of the agreement reached. However, that is a matter for negotiation and (for me at least) is not a valid reason for not using my own Terms and Conditions in the first place.


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:58
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
yes and no Nov 25, 2011

Yes for direct clients, T&C are printed on my proposal.

No for agencies, they usually insist on their own T&C.
Rates and paiement conditions are included on the PO - I insist to get some kind of PO, even if it is an email.

T&C are not just about paiement deadline, but also all sorts of potential events like cancellation, dispute on quality, etc.
My translators' association provide a recommanded T&C document, where I did minor amendements to reflect my own practice.


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Veronica Lupascu  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:58
Greek to Romanian
+ ...
I try to Nov 25, 2011

I submitted this poll after a consultation with a debt collector. He suggested sending T&C to every new client and make sure the new client confirms in writing that he/she agrees with them. I try to do so, or to refer to the T&C published on my website.

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Rafal Korycinski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:58
English to Polish
+ ...
Always Nov 25, 2011

I have them printed on my PO confirmation form, and I tend to send it to all customers.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:58
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I usually accept the agency's T & C Nov 25, 2011

As I work for agencies most of the time, it is far simpler to agree to theirs.

I do have my own terms and conditions, however, and where these actually conflict with the client's, I simply tell them that it's my terms or they can take their business elsewhere.

It rarely happens, but I once refused to deliver extensive TMs other than the client's own. I think it was a misunderstanding, but the client insisted on receiving ALL TMs I had used on the job, and of course, they can't dictate how I work.

At the moment I am being offered far more work than I can handle by really good agencies.
Have a nice weekend everyone!


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 17:58
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes, always... Nov 25, 2011

...Unless they have their own set, of course.

In principle, I make a point of getting all contractual details squared and out of the way before I start the "walk down the aisle" with new clients. This way,

- We both have a clear idea of how we go about our respective businesses, which is a good start to any long-term business relationship, and
- More importantly, I can concentrate and focus all my time and energy on the project in hand and future projects without having to worry about distracting financial and contractual matters

Besides, it might be a short "courtship" and we both might find out things we don't like about our prospective new partner. So, both parties have the chance to nip the chance of this new "marriage" in the bud before rings and vows are exchanged.

Think of T&C's as a pre-nup.

This is all the more important in the case of long-term projects where larger sums of money are involved and there is the greater risk of losses -- not just monetary but also credibility and prestige -- on both sides.

I think that having a clear-cut approach in this respect and defining your business practices in advance will save all parties involved lots of pain and agony later on. And, we all know that lawyers are pricey!

If the client doesn't have their own T&C's, as a translator at least you must. Otherwise, you're on a sinking ship before it has even left port.

Hope this helps!

[Edited at 2011-11-25 17:08 GMT]


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Michaël Temmerman  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 02:58
English to Dutch
+ ...
yes and no Nov 25, 2011

I discuss the financial side of translation with new customers (of course), but don't really send out a whole text with my terms and conditions.

However, agencies often ask me to sign all kinds of documents. Many times I have refused to do so, because the content was just unacceptable. More often than not, agencies wanto to be intermediaries, take the profit, but not the risks that go with doing business...


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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:58
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Small agencies are better on the whole Nov 25, 2011


Michaël Temmerman wrote:

More often than not, agencies wanto to be intermediaries, take the profit, but not the risks that go with doing business...


I have found the above to be particularly true with larger agencies, who usually promise more, deliver less (to both providers and clients no doubt) and employ a variety of fiendish tactics to pinch pennies from wherever they can.

I prefer a more personal relationship with smaller agencies with just one or two PMs. And if the PMs are translators themselves, all the better. Working with honest, interested, like-minded people makes formal T&Cs unnecessary.


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Milena Nikolić  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:58
Serbian to English
+ ...
No Nov 25, 2011

Or at least-not yet. Agencies usually sent their own.

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de>en  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:58
Member (2011)
German to English
+ ...
Good news shared is doubled Nov 26, 2011


Christine Andersen wrote:

At the moment I am being offered far more work than I can handle by really good agencies.
Have a nice weekend everyone!


Awesome.

No T&C here, yet. On the to-do list.

I like how some here have figured out how to keep them visible and firm, but out of the client's face.


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