Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Client getting annoyed by having to sign a contract every time
Thread poster: mike316
Jul 22, 2012

Hello,

I run my own translation agency. Most of my clients are one time clients. They sign a contract for a specific job, when job ends, (hopefully) they pay, end of story.
but right now I have a repeat client who has brought me 3 jobs. Every time a job was brought, I had him sign a new agreement: "I agree to pay $x" etc. etc. 3 times.
but client is getting annoyed by having to sign an agreement every time.

So I need to formulate a one-time contract that the client can sign and never have to sign again. The problem I am facing right now is there is no way to know how much a job will cost without knowing specific details about the job. As you probably know, prices are not always consistent and can be somewhat subjective, depending on difficulty of text. So I can't write in the contract "client agrees to pay $0.xx per source word" because there is no way to know what $.xx is without seeing the document.

So how do I write a one-time contract if I don't know the details about the job?
I want to make this as easy as possible for the client. at the same time, I want to cover myself legally.
I am in the US, if that matters.
The way client orders is they email me the document, get a price quote, and say "proceed" or "dont proceed"


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:57
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
E-mail Jul 22, 2012

And after that you send them an e-mail to confirm that you have both agreed that your agency will do X job for such and such a client by Z deadline at Y price (+ payment terms). Asking for a signature would require that the client has a scanner or a fax machine. Granted, many people have that nowadays but just as many may not.

I don't know what agencies do with their clients but, as a translator, I have never signed a job-specific contract with any of the agencies I work for. I receive a PO or a confirmation e-mail and that's it - no signature required.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:57
Member (2008)
French to English
Contract Jul 23, 2012

If you are in the US, a simple "offer and acceptance" by any means constitutes a contract. As long as it is clear and can be proven to have originated from the two parties involved, it is legally binding. A signature can add a sense of certainty but doesn't actually add to the obligation by both parties to perform.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 21:57
Chinese to English
Contract plus quotation format Jul 23, 2012

You write a contract without any specifics in it. Where you've got price now, you write "the price specified in the quote form", and similar stuff for dates, name of document, services, etc. You then have a clause that says, each time the client wants a translation, they will confirm a quote.

The contract still contains all your general terms which define the commercial relationship between you and your client. Then as a schedule to the contract you include a blank quote form. Your client signs the translation contract once only, and thereafter, whenever they want a translation, they send the document to you, you fill in the quote form (should be very quick: name of the document, service required, translation rate, deadline), they confirm the quote, and that constitutes an order.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Paula Gordon  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:57
Bosnian to English
+ ...
ATA has a sample agreement that you can modify Jul 23, 2012

For an example of the type of agreement that Phil just described, see the ATA site:
http://www.atanet.org/careers/translation_agreements.php
"Guide to a Translation Services Agreement"

Or make sure your e-mail trail contains all terms and conditions. It's never a bad idea to repeat back to the client your understanding of the scope of work, rate or lump sum or "not to exceed" amount, deadline, delivery format, and special conditions. (As Tina said.) You can end this recitation of terms with a sentence like: Please confirm. If I don't hear otherwise from you by [date/time], I will assume that these are the terms of the assignment and I will proceed as soon as I receive the source material. Something like that.

I've never asked for a signature from a client. If I'm unsure about a client, I ask for a full or partial payment up front. That's better than a signature, in my opinion.

Good for you for adapting, though. The client may be getting the idea you don't trust him, and if you keep insisting on a signed contract for each job, you might loose his business.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:57
Danish to English
+ ...
I would get annoyed, too Jul 23, 2012

I hate having to read through long contracts for simple jobs, or any jobs for that matter, and I don't quite understand why there's all this fuss in the translation industry. For four years, I worked for a production company and handled external translations via a large translation agency, and I got thoroughly fed up with having to sign their lengthy contracts for every single job. By principle, I would never sign a contract without having read all the small print, you never know what they might have changed since the last time you signed a contract, so it seemed an awful waste of time once a good working relationship had been established.

Personally, as an independent translator now, my procedure is as follows:

A client contacts me, asking if I can do a specific job.
I ask for the files, preferably in Word, and once received, I check the word count and difficulty of the text, and assess whether I can do a decent job of translating the specific text.
If I can do the job well, I submit my quote to the client, including a suggested deadline based on the time they give me the 'go ahead'. If it's a regular client, I don't even quote the price, just the suggested deadline (unless they specifically want to know the cost), as they already know my rates.
If it's a first-time client, I specify payment terms in ONE line.
And that's it.

Have had no trouble whatsoever following this simple procedure.

My only hesitation would be if I were asked to take on a huge job for a new client. In such a case, I might insist on partial payments either up front or after delivery of parts of the assignment. But I would still not bother with a lengthy contract.



[Edited at 2012-07-23 05:33 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:57
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
An overkill Jul 23, 2012

mike316 wrote:
Every time a job was brought, I had him sign a new agreement: "I agree to pay $x" etc. etc. 3 times.
but client is getting annoyed by having to sign an agreement every time.

I would be annoyed too. Aren't these one-job contracts a bit of an overkill? Personally I would only sign contracts with customers when there is big money involved, and I mean the equivalent of at least one full week of work. Even then, a framework agreement for repeat customers would be more than enough, with a clause stating that any quotations within the framework agreement will be issued and accepted by email.

Our current fast-paced business world is not quite compatible with swamping customers with paperwork, I reckon.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
No wonder Jul 23, 2012

So would I. To me, asking for a contract more than once is like saying, in big loud capital letters, "we don't trust you, or even ourselves".

Maybe I'm just a weirdo, but I have little regard for contracts at the best of times. I don't remember the last time I signed one - it was for some agency. I prefer to operate on a system of good, old-fashioned trust and integrity, which used to be known (sorry ladies) as a "gentlemen's agreement". It still works for me.

[Edited at 2012-07-23 07:57 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

mike316
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, but... Jul 24, 2012

neilmac wrote:

So would I. To me, asking for a contract more than once is like saying, in big loud capital letters, "we don't trust you, or even ourselves".

Maybe I'm just a weirdo, but I have little regard for contracts at the best of times. I don't remember the last time I signed one - it was for some agency. I prefer to operate on a system of good, old-fashioned trust and integrity, which used to be known (sorry ladies) as a "gentlemen's agreement". It still works for me.

[Edited at 2012-07-23 07:57 GMT]


You are probably still living in the "good old days"...today, it nothing works based on trust, at least not where I live. The way I see it, you have to get legal with people (at least a little), otherwise, they have no problem screwing you over.
Sorry if I sound pessimistic, maybe it's because i have been screwed out of money before.
so I always always make sure to cover myself legally. Of course, this drives clients away so I have to find a balance.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:57
English to German
+ ...
Dear mike316 Jul 24, 2012

mike316 wrote:

You are probably still living in the "good old days"...today, it nothing works based on trust, at least not where I live. The way I see it, you have to get legal with people (at least a little), otherwise, they have no problem screwing you over.
Sorry if I sound pessimistic, maybe it's because i have been screwed out of money before.
so I always always make sure to cover myself legally. Of course, this drives clients away so I have to find a balance.


We do not know where you live. We do not know if you need to wear shotguns, stun guns or spears whenever you live your house. Your profile is empty. In our industry, business relationships are indeed based on mutual trust. What kind of clients do require international translations? International companies. We know where they live.

If you have too many one-off projects, have been screwed over and need "to get legal", you might want to think over your clientele and your business concept. Especially since you don't even know how to do proper business correspondence while "running a translation agency".

??


Direct link Reply with quote
 

564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:57
Danish to English
+ ...
No need to get personal, Nicole Jul 24, 2012

Hi Nicole

Why do you find it necessary to be unkind to the asker? He is simply asking for views on something that is a problem to him - there's no need to get nasty.

Gitte


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:57
English to German
+ ...
Gitte, I am not getting nasty. Jul 24, 2012

Gitte Hovedskov Hansen wrote:

Hi Nicole

Why do you find it necessary to be unkind to the asker? He is simply asking for views on something that is a problem to him - there's no need to get nasty.

Gitte


I am not being unkind. I am being honest.

How can anyone get personal to an anonymous person?

I have been in management for most of my career, and this is simply the regular tonality. There is no space for sugar-coating. If my tone is considered nasty, then I recommend participating in a true management seminar and to make it through without bursting out in tears.



Direct link Reply with quote
 

564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:57
Danish to English
+ ...
Not exactly worth copying, though Jul 24, 2012

Hi Nicole

Just because there's a rough tone in your particular line of business, there's no need to be rude to someone here. It's not exactly a management ideal to strive for, is it?

Gitte


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:57
English to German
+ ...
Gitte, I do admit that I mixed up two different threads in terms of "upsetness" Jul 24, 2012

Gitte Hovedskov Hansen wrote:

Hi Nicole

Just because there's a rough tone in your particular line of business, there's no need to be rude to someone here. It's not exactly a management ideal to strive for, is it?

Gitte


I am still not a nasty person.

The most valuable things I ever learned about the translation business came from colleagues here on ProZ.com whom I at first considered "rude". To this day and many years later I am grateful for their honesty.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:57
Danish to English
+ ...
Be helpful, then... Jul 24, 2012

Hi Nicole

I didn't say that you were a nasty person, I said that your comment was nasty and unkind.

I've no doubt you have a lot of experience in the world of marketing and management and whatever, and maybe with your own colleagues, who you know well, you can joke about at a sarcastic level, which is not an issue here at all. The issue is practically telling somebody who is merely asking for advice, that he might as well pack it all in due to your view of his abilities as a communicator. THAT is unkind and uncalled for, utterly unnecessary.

With all your experience, you could, undoubtedly, give him valuable, constructive advice... Alternatively, at times, less is more...

Gitte


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 »

Client getting annoyed by having to sign a contract every time

Advanced search







Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »
BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, ProZ.com integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »



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