Old client with unrealistic demands
Thread poster: Josie St-Amour

Josie St-Amour
Canada
Local time: 07:12
English to French
Oct 19, 2004

Hi,

I have this client who's been with me for several years now. She is by no mean a "big" client (ie I don't even make 1000$/year with her).
However, she keeps sending me urgent translation requests (less than 12 hours to send back the files) and will often disturb me for 5-20 words translations (I was once on vacation, for Xmas, and her assistant called me at 5 am (xmas morning) for an URGENT request.. it was only 3 words!)

I still want to be polite because she was one of my first client. So I advised her that since I am extremely busy, I needed more time...
to which she told me:
" Great to hear that you have more to do than before, but please do not forget
us as we have always been regular clients. You know that these small translations are always urgent and as you are many hours behind us I think this should be possible."

Any idea?? I feel like I'm loosing my temper and would rather avoid it. I'm on the verge of telling her that I don't what her as a client anymore?

Any of you have experienced something like this before??


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:12
Member (2004)
English to Italian
yes, I have... Oct 19, 2004

and I have asked them to delete me from their database...
When the demands get unreasonable, usually there is no point in arguing. The message you received is quite rude and I would forget about them, especially since it's such a small amount of business. Not worth the aggro.

Giovanni

[Edited at 2004-10-19 16:04]


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Mónica Machado
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:12
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Be polite but stick to your deadline Oct 19, 2004

Hi,

I see what you mean... From your client's comments I think your client isn't being very polite either... do you?

"Great to hear that you have more to do than before" is really something intended to pull the trigger:-(.

I would simply be polite once again but stick to my own deadline if the one proposed by that client is really not feasible. "Funny" comments are better forgotten and ignored.

All the best
Mónica
English into European Portuguese translator
Member of APT and IOL and Associate Member of ITI


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John Simpson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:12
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
If you can live without them, live without them! Oct 19, 2004

I have had something similar (a call on a Saturday at 8am for an urgent translation which was going to be so badly paid - I didn't say that I don't even get out of bed for less than €40,000 but I was clearly "standing" by the phone) but a call at 5 am on any day of the week is over the top.
I would just ignore the emails and say that you're too busy when they call. If they don't get the message, then ask them to take you off their database.
Good luck!
John


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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:12
Member (2002)
English to German
Losing a client is sometimes very good Oct 19, 2004

Hi Josie,

One of my first clients paid me much less than my current rate (already some years ago). I received a constant workflow from her, texts between 100 and 300 words but a few of them each day. The downside was the rate and the urgency. She called me, I had to be ready, and the time was very limited so she called me again soon afterwards to check why I didn't finish already.
When I had more clients this was completely stressful and I just couldn't do it anymore. What I did was to raise my fees adequately. I told her that I had to raise my fees anyway because they were much lower than my usual rate and since her jobs were so urgent I had to raise them even more.

I lost her as client but that was fine. She wasn't upset at all and I was also happy because I could concentrate on less difficult and more profitable jobs.

Andy


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 08:12
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Two ideas Oct 19, 2004

Hi Josie

I see two possibilities, either increasing the rate for the translations (3 words : 30 minutes) or forwarding this client to somebody that you know who hasn't as many clients as you and would easily accept their conditions.
It seems to me that you don't want them any more but need to hear that from us

Recommending another translator would allow you to remain as helpfull as always, give a client to a needed translator and be happy.

Good luck anyway

Claudia


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Josie St-Amour
Canada
Local time: 07:12
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Oct 19, 2004

I guess live without her is what I'll do... there's no point in me getting upset over someone who clearly doesn't respect me.

I'll finish this last job and after I'm done with her.

Thanks I'll go calm down now


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xxxNicolette Ri
Local time: 13:12
French to Dutch
+ ...
2 different telephone lines Oct 20, 2004

May be the solution. One for business calls, closing down after business hours, and one for personal calls. Of course, clients should not know your personal number!

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Erika Pavelka  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:12
French to English
Distinctive ring Oct 20, 2004

Hi Josie,

I agree with Nicolette about the different lines. Bell Canada and Sprint both offer Ident-a-Call. We have 3 numbers on one line (personal, business and fax). Outside business hours, we don't answer calls to the business number. Luckily we don't have clients who call us at ungodly hours of the morning!

I agree with referring that client to another translator or simply telling them you can no longer fulfill their requests because of your workload. I actually terminated my relationship with my very first client because it was taking her more than 6 months to pay invoices.

Erika


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Eliksir
Local time: 07:12
English to French
+ ...
ending it? Oct 20, 2004


I actually terminated my relationship with my very first client because it was taking her more than 6 months to pay invoices.


Thanks Erika!

One question, how did you end it?

Is there a possibility to end a business relationship and still be in good terms?

I don\\\'t want her to be upset but I\\\'ve had just about enough and can\\\'t keep up with all the demands.


Thanks
Josie


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Erika Pavelka  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:12
French to English
By letter Oct 20, 2004

Hi Josie,

I wrote her a letter that said I was terminating our collaboration because of the payment issues. We haven't been in contact since, but I certainly wouldn't be hostile toward my client if she ever got in touch with me again. She was just a very disorganized woman. Perhaps I could have talked to her about it, but I don't think it would have helped much.

If you don't want to come right out and say "I don't want to work with you anymore", then start refusing work from them and/or raise your rates (January 1st is the ideal time to do that).

If you want more info, just e-mail me.

Erika


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