What can you do when you can't work more?
Thread poster: Eva Jodar
Eva Jodar
Spain
Local time: 08:25
Member (2012)
French to Spanish
+ ...
Feb 14, 2014

and the clients send you more work?
And what can you do to earn more money whith the limit of time? I mean when you arrive to your maximal capacity?

Sometimes, a month is not very good, and other times, a month is not only good, you must refuse thanslations because you can't simply do more. Have you ideas to avoid this situation?

Thank you for your comments.


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 14:25
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
First World Problems Feb 14, 2014

I really don't know why I would want to avoid a situation where I'm turning down jobs. I usually fill to 50-75% max capacity, then cherry pick the jobs that interest me.

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Hege Jakobsen Lepri  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:25
Member (2002)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
maybe... Feb 14, 2014

it's time to increase your rates.

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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:25
Dutch to English
+ ...
Find a colleague who can share the work load Feb 14, 2014

You can then both work on jobs when there are too many and you can correct each other's work. When one of you is not doing so good, the other is bound to be doing OK. Spreads the risk.

I am lucky. My sister is a translator too with my language pairs. We help each other out. You need to communicate though so that you both know what jobs you are working on.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:25
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Two-layer strategy Feb 14, 2014

My approach to all this is to classify my customers in two categories:
- Strategic customers (some 10 companies) who send regular work at a good rate
- Non-strategic customers (some 30-40 companies) who send occasional work at a rate that could be better.

For my strategic customers I stretch as much as needed so that I never have to say no to them, while I am more relaxed with the non-strategic customers and I only take their jobs if I can comfortably do so without compromising the time I usually dedicate to big accounts. I "fill the gaps" with their work, so to say.

With this approach, I keep my strategic customers all happy and they never feel tempted to go elsewhere, but when the big accounts have less work I also have the option to serve other customers to whom I say no every now and then.

It takes a bit of time to decide who is strategic and who is not, but in a couple of years time you get a pretty good idea of who goes where. If all your strategic customers send so much work that you cannot take care of it, you have to make your list shorter and put the lower payers in the non-strategic list, but make sure you never depend too much on a customer (never 20% of your income) so that you are safe in case they close down or whatever.

Last but not least... I would strongly recommend not to take work you will not do personally. Let the customer choose someone themselves, so that you are not responsible of other people's work (or errors...). Marijke's is an enviable case, however.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 08:25
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Negotiate deadlines Feb 15, 2014

In addition to Tomás's strategy, keep on good terms with the best clients so that you can ask them a favour now and then.

Ask if you can extend the deadline a little. Sometimes, obviously, the client's schedule is tight, and they can't, but clients are human, and surprisingly often, they are willing to give you some extra time if you have built up a good relationship with them.

(And of course, when you have time, you go the extra mile for them in return.)

If you have a trusted colleague, you might be able to recommend him/her and let the client make the arrangements. I find this goes both ways - good colleagues recommend me occasionally too.

A supportive, understanding family is a great help... but if you have small children, don't expect too much of them. They are only young for such a short time!

Best of luck!


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:25
Russian to English
+ ...
Just tell them you can only do as much Feb 15, 2014

and they have to book you in advance, otherwise they have to find an additional qualified translator to work with.

[Edited at 2014-02-15 06:18 GMT]


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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Duplicate post

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:25
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Absolutely Feb 15, 2014

Christine Andersen wrote:
Ask if you can extend the deadline a little. Sometimes, obviously, the client's schedule is tight, and they can't, but clients are human, and surprisingly often, they are willing to give you some extra time if you have built up a good relationship with them.
(And of course, when you have time, you go the extra mile for them in return.)

Indeed, this is how it works.

Christine Andersen wrote:
If you have a trusted colleague, you might be able to recommend him/her and let the client make the arrangements. I find this goes both ways - good colleagues recommend me occasionally too.

Yes, I agree. It is critical however that a) you make absolutely certain --by thorough testing-- that this person's quality is up to level so that you don't end up looking stupid, and b) you choose someone who has high ethical standards since this person will be handling one of your most precious assets, i.e. your customers.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
Pasalo! Feb 15, 2014

Eva Jodar wrote:

and the clients send you more work?
And what can you do to earn more money whith the limit of time? I mean when you arrive to your maximal capacity?

Sometimes, a month is not very good, and other times, a month is not only good, you must refuse thanslations because you can't simply do more. Have you ideas to avoid this situation?

Thank you for your comments.



If you ever have too many offers of translation work into Spanish, I'm sure I have a few friends/colleagues here who would be more than pleased to take some off your hands!

[Edited at 2014-02-15 09:17 GMT]


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:25
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Indeed Feb 15, 2014

Hege Jakobsen Lepri wrote:

it's time to increase your rates.


This might separate the wheat from the chaff. - No offense intended here at all.

When you reach the absolute maximum of your capacity, you can refer your client to a colleague (as suggested before) or, as I just recently had to do, ask for an extended deadline. If push comes to shove, you might not have any other choice but to decline the job.... good clients do understand, unless you ahve to turn their jobs down one too many times.


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Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:25
Portuguese to English
+ ...
My thoughts exactly! Feb 16, 2014

Hege Jakobsen Lepri wrote:

it's time to increase your rates.


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:25
Italian to English
Why not... Feb 16, 2014

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

and they have to book you in advance, otherwise they have to find an additional qualified translator to work with.



... find the other translators yourself, as Neil suggests? If you know any colleagues who can do the job, suggest them and if you don't know anyone suitable, suggest a reputable agency.

Always try to leave your customers with a solution, not a problem.


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Davidrainey
Australia
Hire an assistant...? Feb 16, 2014

Well Eva, You can increase your rates at that time. And also hire a assistant who can help you at times when you are loaded with allot of work.

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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 01:25
German to English
+ ...
As others said Feb 16, 2014

Make sure you're not overrun because your rates are too low (if so, rectify that); possibly pass on to trusted colleagues; see if anyone can juggle their deadline.

I'm experiencing an unusually high volume right now. Two of my regular clients extended their deadlines, one is sort of "floating" for when I can squeeze them in and is willing to do that. The one exception is the agency that e-mailed me on a Friday night to announce that they had "assigned" a project to be done on the week-end with a Monday delivery, at a fee they had not asked about, and lower than what I would charge for the work. The ones that I ended up keeping were longstanding customers who value my work and pay my rates.


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