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Poll: Have your average rates changed in the last 12 months?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 08:41
SITE STAFF
Apr 5, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have your average rates changed in the last 12 months?".

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:41
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
How can they fall? Apr 5, 2007

While I can understand dollar depreciation causing a "fall" in certain cases, I'd like to ask the minority who said they've fallen to state some reasons.

I've bound my own rates to a CP Index, meaning I may get frozen for up to three years in some cases (blame it on cents), but that's about the limit...


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:41
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Unchanged Apr 5, 2007

I've kept my normal rate the same for several years now - I daren't attempt to increase it because of the increased competitiveness of the translation biz generally.
Kind regards
Jenny


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:41
Member
English to French
Increased Apr 5, 2007

in the past 12 months, but for the first time in 3 years...
Given a rough percentage of 50/50 in increased/stable, I would assume that respondents increase their rates every other year on average.
Congratulations!
Philippe


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Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2002)
Swedish
+ ...
Increased Apr 5, 2007

Jenny Forbes wrote:

I've kept my normal rate the same for several years now - I daren't attempt to increase it because of the increased competitiveness of the translation biz generally.
Kind regards
Jenny


Taking the inflation into account, and also higher expenses for all the daily stuff (food, clothes, petrol, rent etc), this means that you earn less and less every year?

I think it's important to increase the rates regularly, and as long as you can explain this with higher costs of living 99 % (and not because you all of sudden decided to demand the double price), your clients will understand that it's necessary.

Erik


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Sanmar
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:41
English to Dutch
+ ...
Rate increase Apr 5, 2007

I recently increased my rates for the first time in many years. Like Jenny I was initially worried about losing my competitiveness in a very competitive industry. However, I have had so much work in the last couple of years (on occasion more than I can handle) that I decided I could take the "risk" and that if a client is not prepared to accept this (small) increase that I don't really care about losing his/her business anyway. Needless to add, I have not lost any clients and I am even more motivated to work!

I am with Erik on this one. It is important for translators to keep pace with the rising cost of living and ask a reasonable fee for their professional services.

[Edited at 2007-04-05 15:14]


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:41
Dutch to English
+ ...
Increased Apr 5, 2007

Average rates have increased mostly because I only take on new clients at increased rates, albeit only slightly increased rates.

As matters stand, I fortunately don't need new clients, so I can afford to negotiate a slightly better rate when someone comes along, provided they are:

a) offering interesting work;
b) don't pose an unneccesary credit risk; and
c) are happy to pay according to my (non-negotiable) payment terms - 30 days.

Otherwise, there's little point as my client base is well-established and they've generally been willing to accommodate fair increases over time.



[Edited at 2007-04-05 16:56]


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:41
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
You're right, Erik Apr 5, 2007

Erik Hansson wrote:

Jenny Forbes wrote:

I've kept my normal rate the same for several years now - I daren't attempt to increase it because of the increased competitiveness of the translation biz generally.
Kind regards
Jenny


Taking the inflation into account, and also higher expenses for all the daily stuff (food, clothes, petrol, rent etc), this means that you earn less and less every year?

I think it's important to increase the rates regularly, and as long as you can explain this with higher costs of living 99 % (and not because you all of sudden decided to demand the double price), your clients will understand that it's necessary.

Erik


I guess you're right, Erik. Considering the big rises in the cost of electricity and gas and Council Tax (in the UK at any rate), I suppose it's only fair to increase my rate soon. By how much, do you think? My rate for most regular clients is £50 per thousand. One pays me more, bless them. Should I make it £52, perhaps? I expect you'll rightly say that you can't possibly advise me!
And I agree with LawyerLinguist - I won't agree to a lower rate and I won't agree to payment delays of more than 30 days end of month, which all my regular clients adhere to anyway.
Regards,
Jenny.


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Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2002)
Swedish
+ ...
Small and regular increases Apr 5, 2007

Jenny Forbes wrote:

I guess you're right, Erik. Considering the big rises in the cost of electricity and gas and Council Tax (in the UK at any rate), I suppose it's only fair to increase my rate soon. By how much, do you think? My rate for most regular clients is £50 per thousand. One pays me more, bless them. Should I make it £52, perhaps? I expect you'll rightly say that you can't possibly advise me!
And I agree with LawyerLinguist - I won't agree to a lower rate and I won't agree to payment delays of more than 30 days end of month, which all my regular clients adhere to anyway.
Regards,
Jenny.


Well, of course your increase shouldn't be too high, as you might lose clients. As it's very hard to justify an increase with about 10 percent or more at once, it's important to keep an eye on your rates and increase regularly but in small steps only. Clients will rather accept those small steps once a year or every 2nd year than a huge increase after 5 or 10 years.

First of all you need to decide yourself how much you want to increase, e.g. from GBP 50 to 52 per thousand. Inform all your existing clients in due time (at least 3 months in advance) about the coming increase, but charge the higher rate for all new clients.

Another argument for increasing your rates: In order to stay competitive, you'll need to invest in better equipment, software, training seminars etc.

To conclude, I don't think you need to be afraid of losing clients just because you need to increase you rates. Everybody else is raising the prices all the time. As for us, everything has become more expensive in the last 10 years, apart from telephone costs which have decreased by appr. two thirds, but that's really a small fraction of all expenses.

Happy calculating
Erik


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:41
English to French
+ ...
Recent increase Apr 5, 2007

It was easy! I do it in two steps. Step one: quote a higher rate to new clients (I have a steady flow of new prospects). Step two: raise rates for establihed clients.

By starting to raise rates for new clients first, I am taking 0 risk of losing my established clients. Once the new clients are well established (6 months) I have an idea of how well my new rate is accepted (since they keep giving me work, I guess most of them can afford my new rate). By then, I have enough work increase that even if I was to lose some, I still have plenty, so I am really putting myself in a position to be able to afford losing some. However, ever since I started, I have only lost one client, and it was a mere outsourcer. Because she was one of my first clients and helped me acquire experience, I didn't raise the rate ever since. But when I told her lately that I was raising my rate (and it was still 15% lower than what I am charging to others), she told me that her rates stay the same. I found that rude - since when does a client establish the rates in my stead?! She could hve simply said that my rate is not affordable enough for hr. Anyway, rude as she was, I didn't regret her...

I think that raising a penny per two years makes sense. But if you have a reason to raise more (just got a rocket science degree and are the only translator specialized in rocket science), you can go gor more. As far as I calculated, a penny per two years only covers increase of expenses and inflation. It's not really a raise. I'd say three pennies in four years would be more like a raise...


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:41
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
What's the Consumer Price Index for the UK? Apr 5, 2007

now that you're at it (you've got a rampant inflation, I think... and I'm there once every three years at least).

Jenny Forbes wrote:

I guess you're right, Erik. Considering the big rises in the cost of electricity and gas and Council Tax (in the UK at any rate), I suppose it's only fair to increase my rate soon. By how much, do you think? My rate for most regular clients is £50 per thousand. One pays me more, bless them. Should I make it £52, perhaps? I expect you'll rightly say that you can't possibly advise me!
And I agree with LawyerLinguist - I won't agree to a lower rate and I won't agree to payment delays of more than 30 days end of month, which all my regular clients adhere to anyway.
Regards,
Jenny.


Every year since you implemented your rates there must have been an increment. Add all that up and I daresay you'll get a figure closer to 55 or more -- but I'm talking off the top of my head. Do the maths, and think about the next few years' increment as well.

When you've been around long enough, you know how much your market can take because your availability becomes a question of "defensive pricing", whereby clients pay to keep you. So forget the competition issue!



[Edited at 2007-04-05 21:36]


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
The CPI should be a given Apr 6, 2007

Personally, I believe an annual increase based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) should be the norm (and the minimum) for every freelancer.

When I started as an in-house translator 6 years ago, I was handed a contract on beautiful stationary, which had already been signed by the CEO of the company. After reading it, I politely returned it unsigned and said it would have to include a clause about an annual increase in my rates based on the CPI. It’s a figure that every government releases each year and is used by many companies for gauging what salary increase employees will receive.

I think it’s a perfectly legitimate and “legal” figure and no freelancer should be ashamed to inform their clients in writing and then tack it on to their first invoice at the start of each new year.

Just another thought.... When I’m asked what my rates are, I state it like this:
“My rates for 2007 are...”
That gives a pretty clear idea that they’re not written in stone and will be subject to change at some point.


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:41
Member
English to French
Very clever Apr 6, 2007

John Cutler wrote:
...
Just another thought.... When I’m asked what my rates are, I state it like this:
“My rates for 2007 are...”
That gives a pretty clear idea that they’re not written in stone and will be subject to change at some point.

I may steal your idea and use it from now on! Thank you for sharing.
Philippe


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:41
Dutch to English
+ ...
Excellent idea! Apr 6, 2007

John Cutler wrote:

Just another thought.... When I’m asked what my rates are, I state it like this:
“My rates for 2007 are...”
That gives a pretty clear idea that they’re not written in stone and will be subject to change at some point.


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:41
English to Italian
too low? Apr 6, 2007

Jenny Forbes wrote:

My rate for most regular clients is £50 per thousand. One pays me more, bless them. Should I make it £52, perhaps?

Jenny.


According to the ITI rate survey (2001!) the average rate for French>English is £57/1000 words.

http://iti.4fx.co.uk/pdfs/newPDF/ITI2001R&S.pdf

I would expect you to charge at least £60...

Giovanni


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