How to calculate fees for advisory service between Purchaser and Estate agent
Thread poster: Lara Benegiamo

Lara Benegiamo
Russian Federation
Local time: 23:37
English to Italian
+ ...
Aug 11, 2011

Hello, everybody!

I'm not new here. I've been registered for almost three years. I joined the discussion in the KudoZ translation network but I've never used this forum.
Now, I need your opinion about a "job" I'm currently doing as mediator between two Russian purchasers (who want to buy a house in Italy) and an estate agency. What I'm doing is reporting the information each part wants the other to know. I've already translated some e-mails and I usually talk to the purchasers via Skype because they live in Moscow, while I use the phone to talk to the estate agent.
Well, I was wondering how to calculate the fees for the job I'm doing. I thought to apply the fees I usually apply to do my translations for the e-mails I translated, adding the cost of the calls done on the phone. But how to calculate the time spent on Skype? And, most importantly, do I have to ask the estate agency for money (for the service I provided) IF the deal is closed? What do you think about that? Do you have any suggestions about how to calculate fees in my case?

Thanks in advance,

Lara

[Modificato alle 2011-08-11 15:11 GMT]


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sokolniki  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:37
English to Russian
+ ...
Per hour Aug 11, 2011

I am sure you made notes on how much time you spent on the project in general (and Skype will show you the history of your calls with their length). This should be your regular (unless it is after business hours or on weekends which requires 20-50% extra) per hour rate. If in doubt, check the Proz community rate for your language pair in your country.

With the phone calls I always establish a minimum - let's say 30 min. / one hour, regardless of the length of the call.

Whether the deal is closed or not, you ARE to get paid for the services you provided, so there is no IF - IMHO. You will issue an invoice to the client with all the dates/length of calls/total.

Actually, it looks like you did not confirm the rates with the client (by the way, who is the client - Russians or real estate agency in Italy?) BEFORE you started working for them, and I mean in writing, having some kind of Purchase/Work Order including payment method and term. I would recommend doing so ASAP, before the deal falls through or something goes wrong. Your services are to be paid for no matter what. Good luck!


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:37
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Do you really not know who your client(s) is/are? Aug 11, 2011

most importantly, do I have to ask the estate agency for money (for the service I provided) IF the deal is closed? What do you think about that?


It's very difficult for us to define your relationship at this late stage, but it does seem as though there has been a major lack of definition in this job. Surely before you provide any translating or interpreting services, you must know the scope of the job and the client and you must negotiate rates and terms. You need to bill someone for every minute of your time, regardless of whether or not any property ever changes hands. Work done = payment required, unless some other specific terms have been negotiated beforehand.

Lara Benegiamo wrote:
I thought to apply the fees I usually apply to do my translations for the e-mails I translated, adding the cost of the calls done on the phone. But how to calculate the time spent on Skype?


I can't be sure of what's right in this particular case, but it would be normal to ask for a per-word rate for text translation, a per-hour rate for other work, plus reimbursement of any actual costs incurred. As has been mentioned, there should be minimum rates so you don't spend 15 minutes filling out an invoice for a 5-minute phone call.

But don't be surprised if either party turns round (particularly if the sale falls through) and says: "Oh, I didn't think you were going to charge us!". Frankly, they would be well within their rights and I doubt that any court would support your claim for payment.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:37
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Time + costs Aug 12, 2011

Skype always tells you how long your phone call is. From that you could add up how much time you spent in total, say per day or per week, and then charge an hourly charge for your time (rounding up part-hours) plus the cost of your phone calls. I agree with what others have said and I think you should discuss this with your client NOW and make an agreement in writing, before it is too late.



[Edited at 2011-08-12 18:18 GMT]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:37
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Set a baseline Aug 13, 2011

How much do you earn per hour doing what you usually do? This would be rock-bottom for covering all mediation services not requiring you to move from your workplace (note that by rock-bottom, I mean, you can't go lower).

Then consider the stress factor. You've been doing interpreting, as far as I make out. That adds -- even if you bill it by the second. Skype and telephones give you a time stamp; we may well be on the way to having second-rates (no pun intended). But you could also do some rounding, as our colleagues suggest.

Hope it helps.


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Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:37
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Money per hour Aug 13, 2011

First of all fully agree with everyone else, you should never start a job (no matter what job) BEFORE agreeing ALL (not just price, there is also payment method, payment term, penalties, etc,) the conditions, but no used crying over spilled milk so let's hope your clients are willing to negotiate at this stage.

You sell your time you should know how much it costs.

This is a very easy calculation to do, if every job, day, week, month or whatever you decide, you write down the time you spent working and the money you got paid it is very easy to know how much money you get paid per hour of your work, obviously this fluctuates, but over time it tends to level out and you can get an idea of both your translation speed and how much money you make per hour.

Knowing how much you normally make per hour it is then up to you to decide if you are going to charge your normal fee or add an extra amount.

I personally don't see why you should add an extra amount or charge both the buyer and seller, in my opinion you aren't really acting as a "middlewoman" (apart from in the obvious sense of being in the middle and facilitating the negotiation process) because you did not get the parties together to do the deal which is what a "middlewoman" would have done and why they would get paid a commission (possibly even by both parties).


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Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:37
English to Russian
+ ...
You add value Aug 14, 2011

to this deal.

If I were you I would try quoting something about 200-250 euro per hour keeping in mind the nature of the service you render.

Believe me, these clients of yours can swallow much better rate.

[Edited at 2011-08-14 02:18 GMT]


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Lara Benegiamo
Russian Federation
Local time: 23:37
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Sep 26, 2011

Thank everybody very much! You could not imagine how your answers helped me define my fees! Sorry for the delay in replying to you, I had some problems with my laptop.

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