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Degressive Pricing - is it the done thing?
Thread poster: Player81

Player81  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:51
French to English
Jun 4, 2009

I have my first potential client (!) they would like 15 pages of word translated and have asked me for a quote with degressive pricing. From what I have seen on Proz and in books, this is not really the done thing. They have also asked for repeated paragraphs to counted once only -this seems reasonable - is it?

I have decided on the type of work I want and the type of life I want and have therefore decided to stick to my rate and work only with those that will accept that you get what you pay for. Am I doing the right thing? Should I be accepting anything in the beginning (fortunately I don't have any financial pressure for the first year of starting the business). Does anyone charge rates on a sliding scale?

Does anyone provide discounts for regular/good customers (ones that pay on time etc)?

Thanks
Laura


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:51
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Your business, you're the master Jun 4, 2009

Yes, you are doing the right thing. It's your business, so do as you think is best based on your view of your own business and life.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
On the one hand, on the other hand Jun 4, 2009

Player81 wrote:
I have decided on the type of work I want and the type of life I want and have therefore decided to stick to my rate and work only with those that will accept that you get what you pay for.


Good. You're doing the right thing.

Should I be accepting anything in the beginning?


Here's my take on things: when you market your services, you must stick to what you've decided, but when a client asks for something specific, you must decide on a case by case basis if you will allow it. Remember, marketing is expensive, and if you're going to lose this client, you'll lose also the expense you had to get the client in the first place.

My opinion is that you should be flexible when clients contact you with requests that you yourself hadn't volunteered. You can also tell the client that you normally don't do this sort of thing, but because you're having a quiet week, you'll do it this once.

I think you should give discounts only if the client asks for it, and even then you should not be pressured into giving a discount.

I have no idea what "degressive" means, though. As for discounts for repeating paragraphs, well for me it would depend on how much time is saved by not having to retranslate them. If the repetitions are easy to identify, then I don't mind giving a partial or 100% discount for such repeating paragraphs, but if it would take me time to identify those paragraphs (and carefully check to see if they are indeed identical), then I would certainly charge something for them.

Ask the client to mark the repetitions for you, and you'll not charge for them.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:51
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Discounts for customers who pay quickly Jun 4, 2009

Dear Laura,

I give 2% discount for payment within 7 days. You would be surprised at the number of agency clients who take advantage of it, even when they usually take longer than the standard 30 days to pay. It helps cash flow a lot. You have to plan for it when setting your prices in the first place, of course, just like businesses plan what to charge to ensure that they take in enough money to give away "free gifts" with their products.

As for degressive pricing, it is not a common request. However, on the basis that you should always quote in the manner that the potential client wishes: just start off at a rate higher than you normally would, decreasing to below your normal rate, so that it works out the same in the end as if you were to get exactly your normal rate for the entire job. Mathematical skills are at least as important for translators as language skills.

Astrid


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:51
Flemish to English
+ ...
Less is more. Jun 4, 2009

Less is more.
Would you like to end up with a number of pennypinching clients, looking for discounts and on top of that reductions for the use of CATs or customers who well and on time and do not look for rebates. If you can afford it, wish those who you do not want to have in your portfolio a nice day and good luck, stick to 1 rate-range and no discounts for whatever reason. In the end, you will earn more by working less.

I have been translating construction specification for years. Agencies who get their hands on them insist on a rate of 0.06cts p.w. (the rate of 1988) and the usual CAT scheme and payment at 60 days end of month.
No, thank you. I phoned to construction companies to place bids myself and a friend of mine works at one. It was not always the cheapest bidder who got the job.
Profit on the work of those who accepted these conditions: more than 50%.
I'd rather translate less and earn more.



[Edited at 2009-06-04 16:26 GMT]


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
Degressive what? Jun 4, 2009

What is degressive pricing - and can you get something at the chemist for it?

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conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:51
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Good attitude Jun 4, 2009

You have a good attitude and are on the right track in terms of, know what you want, know what you want to charge, and stick to it.

Basically, agencies will ask for just about anything they can get away with. Some won't--some are very professional and want to pay you a reasonable rate. However, others want to pay you as little as they can get by with paying, and ask for discounts left and right. Mostly the second type of agency should be avoided, because it will be a hassle for you in the long run.

Repeated paragraphs: I wouldn't give any discount unless it is a huge tract of text or large paragraphs that are the same, and that are easily identifiable. If you have to spend time going over the document with a fine-tooth comb to figure out what is the same and what is not, that is time you have to spend as well, so I wouldn't give a discount unless it is something that can easily be copied and pasted and takes very little time for you.

As for discounts for people who pay on time: Absolutely not... Agencies should pay on time, always. You don't have to give a discount for that.

However, as someone mentioned, if you want to give a discount to really quick payers, that might be a possibility, depending on what you want to do.


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conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:51
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Haha to J. Rawlins Jun 4, 2009

John Rawlins wrote:

What is degressive pricing - and can you get something at the chemist for it?


This was funny.


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xxxmarconline19
English to German
Discount for quick payers Jun 4, 2009

Hi,
I generally offer a discount of 3% for payment within 7 days, 2% withing 14 days and no discount for payment after 30 days. My experience is that the bigger agencies are quite happy to pay early as it saves them a little bit of money.
Markus


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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:51
Portuguese to English
+ ...
My strategy Jun 4, 2009

I can only assume that "degressive pricing" would mean charging lower rates per page for larger jobs. In this case, what I do is give a volume discount (in my case, for over 100 pages of work). A discount for quick payers is a good idea too, although it could be hard to manage (how sure can you be that the clients will indeed pay within the time frame agreed?) A discount for regular customers could also be a good idea. I would definitely not give discounts for repetitions, especially in Brazil where rates are so painfully low anyway.

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:51
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
If that means volume discounts Jun 5, 2009

(I'd turn John's question around: "WHAT pricing?), I've already expressed my opinions here http://www.proz.com/topic/22931

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Degressive pricing -- why not? Jun 5, 2009

Paul Dixon wrote:
I can only assume that "degressive pricing" would mean charging lower rates per page for larger jobs.


Well, if it means something similar to degressive taxation, then it may not be a bad idea. Limit the degression to a single month (in other words, it should not span more than 30 days) or preferably a single job.

Here's what degressive pricing will do to your bottomline, though. If you charge 10c per word normally, and you have this degression:

portion less than 5000 words = 10c per word
portion 5000-15000 words = 9c per word
portion 15000-25000 words = 8c per word
portion 25000-35000 words = 7c per word
portion 35000-45000 words = 6c per word
portion 45000 or any more words = 5c per word

Example I:
A job is 5500 words, the rate is 5000 x 10c + 500 x 9c = EUR 545.00 (instead of EUR 550 that he would normally have paid), so your real rate becomes 9.9c per word instead of 10c per word.

Example II:
A job is 42000 words, the rate is 5000 x 10c + 10000 x 9c + 10000 x 8c + 10000 x 7c + 7000 x 6c = EUR 500 + EUR 900 + EUR 800 + EUR 700 + EUR 420 = EUR 3320 (instead of EUR 4200 that he would normally have paid), so your real rate becomes 7.9c per word.

Can you live with giving a 20% discount because the job is 42000 words instead of your usual 5000 per job?


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xxxLucyPatterso
English
I would always keep the same rate Jun 5, 2009

Why does it make a difference if you spend the week translating 7 projects at 2000 words each or 1 project of 14000 words?

Surely you will be spending the same time on either option? So why get paid less for one?

The agencies are counting on the fact you might be worried about getting jobs - they are trying to get the upper hand on the basis of your insecurities ... I would not allow them to do this.


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Player81  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:51
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jun 7, 2009

Thanks to everyone who replied to my question. Your responses have really helped to reassure me. I told the client I could not offer this kind of rate - it's been a few days and still no response. Nonetheless, it's really helpful to have your responses confirm what I believe - especially when my family think I'm crazy not to just grab anything and everything that comes my way.

Not sure if Sarkozy would agree with us though- he reckons, 'travailler plus pour gagner plus' haha


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:51
Dutch to English
+ ...
Nine times out of ten ... Jun 7, 2009

Player81 wrote:

I told the client I could not offer this kind of rate - it's been a few days and still no response.


... in this industry, that almost certainly means you won't receive one at all. In other words, time to move on and search for other clients.

Best of luck
Debs


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