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Do you charge more for weekend work?
Thread poster: teju

teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:09
English to Spanish
+ ...
Apr 1, 2008

Dear colleagues,

This is a topic that may have been addressed before, but I have some specific questions I'd like to ask you.

My question is, do you charge your client more when you work on the weekends? I charge my regular rate if I'm working on the weekend because it's my fault (the client gave me enough time, but I couldn't get to it sooner because of my other job -- I interpret full time Mon-Fri). But, if the client sends you something at the last minute, on Thursday or Friday, and they want it by Monday, that's a different story. In that case, I charge more. Is that what you do too?

I have some clients who don't seem to understand the difference. They sometimes send me work at the last minute without realizing that I will have to work all weekend to meet their deadline. What's the most diplomatic way to bring this up? Is there a tactful way to do it? Have you ever lost a client because of this? Sometimes I think "well, they do give me a lot of work, I should just let it go". Then I end up resenting not having any time to myself, especially when it was poor planning on their part. I'm happy to help one of my regular clients at a time of need, once in a while, but if this becomes the norm, that's a different story.

When you charge more for weekend work, is this surcharge a percentage of your usual rate? Do you let them know in the invoice that there's a surcharge, or do you tell them up front "I'll have it ready on time, but it's going to cost you more?" Any horror stories about sacrificing your weekend and then your client didn't pay? Thank you for any feedback on the matter.



Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:09
English to Spanish
+ ...
Weekends... Apr 2, 2008

...are when I do my best work, I love it when I can work through a weekend.

After all, I can kick back anytime.


Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:09
French to Spanish
+ ...
No. Apr 2, 2008

I charge more when it's a rush job, certainly... week end or not.


Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 01:09
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
No such thing as a weekend in freelancing Apr 2, 2008

When I was employed, I used to be asked to put in weekend hours, and that was a big (and rare) deal. My boss only ever asked us to do this when a big deadline had to be met, such as a major product release.

As a freelancer, however, I find that most clients - and fellow translators - do not distinguish between workdays and weekend days.

That's a price I have to pay, yes, but that's what lets me put in 80 working hours in a week if I feel like it, or none at all. I schedule my own time and choose my own holidays, days off, vacation time, etc, etc. Of course, the volatile and unpredictable working loads are also a factor.

Some of my clients schedule their deadlines based on a 5-day week, and I appreciate that - simply because that gives me more time to complete the work. Others don't, but I don't charge them for it. I work around the schedule.

My opinion is that you're free to do whatever you want - charge more for weekend work, refuse to work during weekends, treat this on a case-by-case basis, or any combination of the above. Just make sure your client is aware of this beforehand and keep in mind that they can make their own decisions (including going to another provider).



Carla Abdel Karim
United Arab Emirates
Local time: 02:09
French to Arabic
+ ...
Not really Apr 2, 2008

any last minute job with a high degree emergency is subject to a higher charge.
After all it's payment against a required service.



Andrew Steel  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:09
Spanish to English
My opinion ... Apr 2, 2008


Here's a link to a similar thread (with my own opinion included)icon_smile.gif.



Whoops, forgot the linkicon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2008-04-02 07:34]


Lakshmi Iyer  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:09
Italian to English
+ ...
No extra charge Apr 2, 2008

My rates are based on the assumption that a client will occasionally send me urgent projects or work to be done over the weekend. I quote a rate high enough to cover all eventualities because I don't want the hassle of keeping track of all the work that needs to be charged extra.

I'm sure your clients do realise you will have to work over the weekend to meet their deadline, but unless you say something about it they're not going to know how you feel.

Tell the ones that keep sending you urgent projects that you will be revising your overall rate or that you will be adding a surcharge - whichever you prefer. Good clients who appreciate your work will be willing to pay extra to make sure you keep working for them. Those are the clients you want to keep. And at least this way you won't resent having to work on weekends.

Oh, and if you are going to add an extra charge, it's only fair to discuss it with them beforehand.


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:09
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I just don't accept weekend work without charging extra Apr 2, 2008

Because we freelancers work alone, we need to take very good care of the real-life contacts we have. Everyone has to have a social life somehow. Of course, many people need to work at weekends in many areas, and thank goodness for Henry Hinds and his like. ("... I love it when I can work through a weekend. After all, I can kick back anytime.") - But make sure you do kick back.

All my jobs turn into rushed jobs, unless I say stop. They call for careful planning just to fit them in - and a minimum of private life around them.

On a permanent basis, a minimum private life is not enough. You can't ask your children to get married at 4 am on Thursday, because that fits in with your work. Either you go to that family party or sports event on Saturday when it happens, or you miss out on it. You have to earn a living, but what is it worth, if you don't have a life?

The whole point of being a freelancer is that you can set your own terms. Being a freelancer does not mean you are on call day and night, all year round.

If a client calls or mails with a job that forces you to work at a weekend or overnight, then you are fully entitled to charge extra. They are potentially taking away your privilege of planning your own time, and they can't assume that you don't have other commitments.


Andrea Matthews
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:09
German to English
Yes - slightly higher charge Apr 2, 2008

I charge a mere 1 cent more for weekend work. This gives me a little extra and when I am working on a large document over 3 days, it is really worthwhile. I am rigorous about turning clients down if they will not pay my weekend rate - some clients tell me they do not have the budget and I have even been offered lower rates than during the week!! You have to be wise in choosing the jobs that are worth the money on the weekend (i.e. simple jobs).

Good luck!


Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:09
English to French
With Christine Apr 2, 2008

It is entirely a business decision and there is no good or bad way of addressing the issue. I personally charge 50% extra if I am specifically asked to work on a WE or at night.
My free time is more valuable than my working time and weekends are the only periods when other people are available. And I need free time.
A surcharge deters customers from giving me work on WE and I am fine with that. If they're ok with the surcharge, then my WE is spoiled but the extra money irons out the sacrifice.



Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:09
Finnish to English
No Apr 2, 2008

I don't


Silvina Dell'Isola Urdiales  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:09
Member (2003)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
Agree with Christine but... Apr 2, 2008

Hi Teju,

In my opinion, it's right to ask for an extra charge, especially in case of not on-going, 'loyal' customers....




ErminaM (X)
Local time: 23:09
Slovenian to Bosnian
+ ...
Hi Teju, Apr 2, 2008

I charge my regular rate on weekend.

[Edited at 2008-04-02 13:29]


Per Magnus  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:09
English to Norwegian
Of course, you have to tell up front. Apr 2, 2008

teju wrote: Do you let them know in the invoice that there's a surcharge, or do you tell them up front

I don’t charge extra for weekends. As several colleagues have said: “I love working weekends and be free in the middle of the week”. But I do charge extra for rush jobs and difficult jobs. But of course the customer has to know about the charge up front, if not he would be well within his right to protest.
Per Magnus

[Edited at 2008-04-02 14:40]


chopra_2002  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:39
Member (2008)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Same rates Apr 3, 2008

I don't charge extra for working on weekends.

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