How to charge for jobs...
Thread poster: Dan Mackey

Dan Mackey
United States
Local time: 22:50
Member (Feb 2017)
Arabic to English
Mar 16

For example,

let's say I was asked by a client in one email to complete two different documents. Both of them combined were below my minimum charge of (just for example) $40.

Each document had a different due date and time.

Should I charge the client the $40 for each of the two assignments since they are technically separate?

I am naturally inclined to only charge them $40 since, even combining both assignments, the word count is below $40 total. BUT, let's say the one factor that slightly changes things is that one of the documents has a quick turnaround of tomorrow morning.


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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
One PO Mar 16

Dan Mackey wrote:

For example,

let's say I was asked by a client in one email to complete two different documents. Both of them combined were below my minimum charge of (just for example) $40.

Each document had a different due date and time.

Should I charge the client the $40 for each of the two assignments since they are technically separate?

I am naturally inclined to only charge them $40 since, even combining both assignments, the word count is below $40 total. BUT, let's say the one factor that slightly changes things is that one of the documents has a quick turnaround of tomorrow morning.


You Customer could have put both documents in one single PO with two different deadlines, couldn’t they?

I think you should trust your instinct. An extra $40 won’t make you rich. It can, however, upset your customer and consequently you could lose him. Not worth it.


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Elif Baykara  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 05:50
Member (2015)
German to Turkish
+ ...
It depends on your relationship with your client. Mar 16

Actually, it is quite acceptable to charge a minimum fee for two different files if you invoice them separately and/or if you will get the payment in two different times.

Still, it depends very much on your relationship and previous arrangements with your client.


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:50
Member (2008)
French to English
Minimum invoice Mar 17

I use the term "Minimum invoice", since I consider the minimum charge to basically be to cover the cost of invoicing. For good clients, I will hold off billing until a second order comes along that raises the total above my "minimum invoice". But then, as others have said, it all depends on your relationship with your client.

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
Always have a minimum charge per service Mar 17

I've been communicating my minimum charge to all my clients, who either asked for it in advance or negotiated it.

Since my university days (late 80s), I learned that a minimum translation charge should cover the cost of translating 250 to 300 words. Some people prefer a different number, and that's just fine.

Minimum charges are important in many professions. It helps to look to other types of work to see what they consider a minimum charge and then, with that information, make a determination for your own case.


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Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 03:50
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
If I may Mar 17

That's a good question Dan has raised.
With two different files only, I wouldn´t probably make an issue.
But what to do when there are some 4 to 7 small files, or sometimes more? Each of them takes its own time to download, to work on it, save and upload.
So far, I haven't dared to charge my minimum for each separate file but, honestly, it gives an uncomfortable feeling.
I haven't come up with a feasible solution yet.
And though my minimum is way lower that 40$ yet it scaress pretty many potential clients off.


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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Depends Mar 18

Inga Petkelyte wrote:

That's a good question Dan has raised.
With two different files only, I wouldn´t probably make an issue.
But what to do when there are some 4 to 7 small files, or sometimes more? Each of them takes its own time to download, to work on it, save and upload.
So far, I haven't dared to charge my minimum for each separate file but, honestly, it gives an uncomfortable feeling.
I haven't come up with a feasible solution yet.
And though my minimum is way lower that 40$ yet it scaress pretty many potential clients off.


If my steady customer sends me five small files, I never charge any minimum rate as in most of the cases those five files will certainly contain more than 300 words. I understand that it takes more time to deal with each file, but next week that very customer can send me a 30k word project with generous deadline.

Now, if a new or occasional customer sends me five small files in PDF format that contain 350 words, I will certainly factor in the time it takes to deal with each file as well as conversion or having to work without a commodity of a CAT tool. Therefore, I would charge for actual word count plus an hour for extra work.

I have customers to whom I never charge any minimum fee, no matter how small or difficult the project is. The fact is you cannot have just one commercial policy that applies to all, because one size does not fit all.


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Elif Baykara  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 05:50
Member (2015)
German to Turkish
+ ...
+1 Mar 18

Merab Dekano wrote:

If my steady customer sends me five small files, I never charge any minimum rate as in most of the cases those five files will certainly contain more than 300 words. I understand that it takes more time to deal with each file, but next week that very customer can send me a 30k word project with generous deadline.

Now, if a new or occasional customer sends me five small files in PDF format that contain 350 words, I will certainly factor in the time it takes to deal with each file as well as conversion or having to work without a commodity of a CAT tool. Therefore, I would charge for actual word count plus an hour for extra work.

I have customers to whom I never charge any minimum fee, no matter how small or difficult the project is. The fact is you cannot have just one commercial policy that applies to all, because one size does not fit all.



This is what I do.


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Elena Va  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 05:50
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes Mar 19

John Fossey wrote:

I use the term "Minimum invoice", since I consider the minimum charge to basically be to cover the cost of invoicing. For good clients, I will hold off billing until a second order comes along that raises the total above my "minimum invoice". But then, as others have said, it all depends on your relationship with your client.


"Minimum invoice" is a good term for the agreement when you begin.

But for good clients you always try to find a compromise decision. It is the matter of constant work and very often you choose your client but not your price list:-)


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Texte Style
Local time: 04:50
French to English
subject matter Mar 19

If both files are clearly part of the same thing, on the same subject matter, I would lump them together.

If they are on wildly different subjects, requiring different expertise and voice, I might want to bill them separately. But I would also take the points raised by everyone else here into account.


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matt robinson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:50
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Minimum invoice Mar 20

The purpose of a minimum invoice, in my opinion, is precisely to put off potential time-wasters. I would not want to translate 10 words, for example, and charge a per word rate, but I would translate 10 words for a one-off client for my minimum invoice amount.
For regular clients the situation does not arise, as they did not become regular clients by offering this type of job.


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Dan Mackey
United States
Local time: 22:50
Member (Feb 2017)
Arabic to English
TOPIC STARTER
Kudos to Merab and John, and all :) Mar 21

Merab:
1. You're right, must use discretion and tread carefully. Not worth it to make $30 now but lose a client.
2. As a new translator, I have not yet found a purpose for the "per hour" rate. I will keep this in mind if and when I run into trouble with file management and fussy end-client DTP requests.

John:
1. Minimum Invoice is a term I will adopt.
2. Holding off on billing a regular client makes sense. I was, in fact, dealing in real life with a regular client when I asked this hypothetical question. Thanks for this advice, I will use it in the future.

In the end, the real life situation worked out differently, so for now it is moot.


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Elif Baykara  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 05:50
Member (2015)
German to Turkish
+ ...
What is a "language translator"? Mar 27

Are there other kinds of translators? Non-language translator?

Just asking because I don't know the answer.


Przemek Kalemba wrote:

A great place to start your career as a translator is this Guide on How to Become a Professional Translator: http://www.columbustranslations.co.uk/language-translator. I have put a lot of work into it but I would still love to try and improve on it. That's why please feel free to share and comment and if you'd like to suggest your favourite resources, let me know in the comments below the article so I can add them as and when they come in. Many thanks. Any questions, let me know. You could suggest a section on translation fees...


[Edited at 2017-03-27 12:50 GMT]


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