Customer sending many small size translations
Thread poster: Alexandre Chetrite

Alexandre Chetrite
France
Local time: 22:39
English to French
Jul 27, 2012

Hi,

I have a problem. Usually I get large volume translations or of medium size but this time I have a new customer who is planning on sending me frequently very short size translations (ranging from 150 words to 2000 or so).

Should I apply a minimum charge and make a new contract every time I get a new short translation or by tacit reconduction? Should I offer a higher translation rate or bill per hour rather?

I was planning on asking the customer if he or she could send me one or several medium translations rather than frequent short ones, but I don't think that is possible.

Thank you in advance for your advice.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:39
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
It depends Jul 27, 2012

Hi Alexandre,

it depends on how often your new customer sends you these smaller jobs.
It might be a good idea to arrange with him/her a monthly invoiceing system. This way you collect the smaller jobs and then invoice your client at the end of each month, listing all the smaller jobs on one invoice.


Or you could charge a minimum rate and then deduct the "overpayment" from your total rate for the next project.

Regards,

Thayenga


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:39
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You need a system - here's one possibility Jul 27, 2012

Thayenga wrote:
It might be a good idea to arrange with him/her a monthly invoiceing system. This way you collect the smaller jobs and then invoice your client at the end of each month, listing all the smaller jobs on one invoice.

That's what I do with these clients (and I have one who sometimes asks for 3 words! and regularly for less than 100, as well as regular jobs of 2000+). Try to enforce some sort of straightforward identification for the files, and try to get the client to give you the word count and file name in the email subject line. Of course, you'll want to check the word count until/unless you have confidence in the client's count, but this way you can keep track of multiple jobs more easily and refer to them easily on the invoice. Rates should be discussed in a separate email so they don't need to be agreed to each time, though deadlines need to be given for each job.

As an example, my main "frequent small job" client sends an email with the file attached. The email subject may be "Job AAA111, nnn words", where AAA is an end-client name or some other grouping and 111 = sequential number for that end-client or project. The body of the email is normally just "Can you handle this by EOB dd/mm?" or something similar, and my reply can be as short as "OK" or "no problem". I keep a spreadsheet with a line for each job and just transfer it to an invoice at the end of the month.

Of course, you're giving them extra time to pay for jobs early in the month, but you can't have your cake and eat it! This way, there is minimum time spent on admin and they get charged a fair rate for every word, when they need them. Of course, I have a minimum invoice amount, but they've never seen that. I do have a client who did similar but one month they only asked for 11 words. They were miffed about paying 30€ for 11 words and went quiet for a while, but they got over it and came back!

Or you could charge a minimum rate and then deduct the "overpayment" from your total rate for the next project.

That sounds like one of those schemes that always ends in hard feelings when the audit trail gets in a tangle and the client thinks they've been overcharged (even when they might have been under-charged). I suppose if you're really organised and automated it could work, but it's not for me personally.

Sheila


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Anne Bohy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:39
English to French
Minimum rate or hourly rate Jul 28, 2012

Small jobs are really time-consuming, because there is an important overhead: all the time you spend managing this small project (all emails back and forth, file management, accounting).
First, I established a minimum rate (0.5h) - but now I realize that there is still a problem with jobs which are from 50 to 300 words... because the overhead is still an important part of the total amount!
I'm considering handling these jobs at an hourly rate, not a word rate.
Another solution is to add a per-project fee to all jobs... which would account for the management work.


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Customer sending many small size translations

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