How much can I charge for express fee when working whole weekend?
Thread poster: Fredrik Pettersson

Fredrik Pettersson  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Member (2009)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Sep 19, 2014

How much can I charge for express fee when working whole weekend?

I will begin tomorrow Saturday and work every day until deadline on Thursday 25th next week. Wordcount is 15,000 new words (plus 2,000 repetitions), so I would need to translate 2,500 new words/day. Which means 5,000 new words in the weekend.

My customer just asked me, because I said a later deadline a few days later. So they are eager to have it completed as soon as possible.


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:10
English to Dutch
+ ...
Two questions Sep 19, 2014

First the short answer: you can decide whatever you want. There are no rules here.

Question 1 to ask yourself: how much money will make you NOT regret working the whole weekend? That will be the absolute minimum to ask, don't work for less (or you will regret it)

Question 2: will I get away with that number? If not, you should refuse the job. If yes, ask for that amount.

Optional question 3: will I get away with even MORE than the number from Q1 and Q2? Then you might try that...


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Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:10
German to English
Jan has put it perfectly Sep 19, 2014

As he says, there is no right answer. It depends entirely what value you place on your weekend time and what the client is prepared to agree to. I might consider asking for an increase of between 20% and 50% on my normal rate - although in practice I might simply work the weekend and take time off during the week in lieu.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:10
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Non-optional Question 4 Sep 19, 2014

Jan Willem van Dormolen wrote:
Question 1 to ask yourself: how much money will make you NOT regret working the whole weekend? That will be the absolute minimum to ask, don't work for less (or you will regret it)

Question 2: will I get away with that number? If not, you should refuse the job. If yes, ask for that amount.

Optional question 3: will I get away with even MORE than the number from Q1 and Q2? Then you might try that...

Question 4: Will I be able to maintain my normal quality work if I work without a proper break from last Monday to next Thursday? If the answer to that one is "No" then no percentage surcharge is going to make the job worthwhile. It would be better to turn it down.

If the answer's "Yes" then I'd have thought you ought to charge either (a) 50-100% surcharge on 5,000 words (1.5 to double time being totally normally for weekday employees having to work at the weekend), and your normal rate on the others, or (b) 25-50% surcharge on the entire job. I haven't worked out the two totals, but either way seems reasonable and justifiable to me, personally. Bearing in mind that it's now Friday, I think you have a lot of leverage in this so I wouldn't be afraid to charge what's needed.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:10
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Question # 5 Sep 19, 2014

How many hours a day can you work without a) compromising the quality of your work, and b) you facing a breakdown due to lack of sleep?

How many hours a day can you work for 6 days in a row? 8? 10? The calculation is as follows: you need to translate 2,500 words a day plus additional time to check if the 2,000 "matches" really match (which sometimes takes longer than "just" translating them), plus however long it takes you to accurately proofread 17,000 words. Also, will you be able to work these hours without any interruptions or disturbances?

A few years ago I did a translation of 22,900+ words, including proofreading and/or editing in 8 days. Frankly, even though I knew/know the subject matter by heart, I will never do it again. Not even for a 100% surcharge. Being tied down to only one project for one week is not everybody's cup of tea. It certainly isn't mine.

As Jan Willem already stated, there is no right or wrong answer, for you are the only one who knows whether you can or want to do it.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:10
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Overtime pay Sep 19, 2014

In most regular business or administrative jobs (certainly those that are unionized), overtime pay is usually 1.5 times your regular pay. That seems fair to me and it is what I would request for translation.

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Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:10
Dutch to English
+ ...
Or in this particular case Sep 19, 2014

just charge the full whack for the reps? Or is the client unaware you will be working with CAT? In which case you'd maybe need a surcharge (if you want) on top of the full whack for reps.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:10
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
You've got a problem (-: Sep 19, 2014

Fredrik Pettersson wrote:
My customer just asked me, because I said a later deadline a few days later. So they are eager to have it completed as soon as possible.


Oops. Well, obviously you're going to do it, but you can't just cave in, because then the client will think (or know!) that you have no backbone. So you have to charge a surcharge. But you really want the job, so you can't make it something ridiculous. At the same time you don't want the client to think (or to realise) that your work week is actually 7 days long. Difficult... difficult...

I think it's important to sell it right, with a logic that seems to make sense. Tina's time-and-a-half suggestion is probably quite a plausible excuse to use. But that means a surcharge of 50%, ouch.

So my suggestion would be to charge 25% extra for the work on those two days, and hint strongly that this is a once-off favour simply because you were able to reschedule your weekend appointments with an amount of effort that the client will hopefully appreciate.

Advantages of the "rescheduled appointments" excuse include that you create the impression that this is truly not meant to become a regular thing, and that you are willing to prioritise this client's work if needs be (always good for PR). I don't use it often, because I prefer to use it only when I really had to reschedule something.




[Edited at 2014-09-19 17:59 GMT]


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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
I would go for at least a 100% surcharge for the weekend Sep 19, 2014

or also, like Tina says, 150%.

For the customer it might be difficult to understand what that means, but you can explain him that you have got xxx days for completing your job, and two of them are saturday and sunday. Dividing the whole amount by xxx days, you will get the daily output, and for two days you claim the surcharge.

I think this would be fair. A 25% only for the weekend seems by far too little to me; I would never sacrifice my weekend for so little. I myself have claimed (and got) a 25% surcharge on a whole when weekend work was involved, but for the whole job that needed several days.

In a similar situation, I have been offered 50% more by my customer, but the job needed only 3 or 4 days including the weekend. See what is most convenient for you - maybe to your customer 100 or 150% could seem too much, but he accepts a 25 or 50% for the whole job and for you as a result it's the same!

[Bearbeitet am 2014-09-19 19:56 GMT]


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:10
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
You are the service provider Sep 20, 2014

Samuel Murray wrote:

Fredrik Pettersson wrote:
My customer just asked me, because I said a later deadline a few days later. So they are eager to have it completed as soon as possible.


Oops. Well, obviously you're going to do it, but you can't just cave in, because then the client will think (or know!) that you have no backbone. So you have to charge a surcharge. But you really want the job, so you can't make it something ridiculous. At the same time you don't want the client to think (or to realise) that your work week is actually 7 days long. Difficult... difficult...

I think it's important to sell it right, with a logic that seems to make sense. Tina's time-and-a-half suggestion is probably quite a plausible excuse to use. But that means a surcharge of 50%, ouch.

So my suggestion would be to charge 25% extra for the work on those two days, and hint strongly that this is a once-off favour simply because you were able to reschedule your weekend appointments with an amount of effort that the client will hopefully appreciate.

Advantages of the "rescheduled appointments" excuse include that you create the impression that this is truly not meant to become a regular thing, and that you are willing to prioritise this client's work if needs be (always good for PR). I don't use it often, because I prefer to use it only when I really had to reschedule something.




[Edited at 2014-09-19 17:59 GMT]


Like Samuel said, a difficult decision to make.

You might want to take the following into consideration.

If you really want a) the job, b) keep the client, and c) aiming at a long-term collaboration, then you could settle for a 25% surcharge...as a one-time deal! You will also have to politely let your client know in a subtle way that you are not available 24/7, but that this is going to be a - again - one-time deal!

Always keep in mind, though, that you are the provider of a service. It is the prerogative of every service provider, regardless of the industy, to set his (or her) terms and prices.

Do you hope for a long-term collaboration at a good rate, both frequency and rate? Are weekends important to you, or is it okay with you to take any day of the week off?

Frankly, Frederik, only you can make this decision. Only you set the price for your service. It is a difficult decision, and your final "verdict" needs to be based solely on the aspects and effects that weekend work will have on your personal/family life.

Personally I find a 50% surcharge acceptable.

Good (and wise) luck!


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:10
Member (2008)
Italian to English
? Sep 21, 2014

What's a weekend? To me, every day is a normal working day and the other things that happen in my life, and that are important to me personally, can happen on any day, at any time, and not particularly on a Saturday or Sunday.

I never charge more for urgent jobs. That's because my normal rate is sufficient to take account of urgency. Asking for more, just because the job's urgent, feels too much like blackmail. Instead, I prefer to take on a job and then, if I feel like it, give the client a discount. That always creates a good impression.

Anyway, the kind of clients I have often ask BOTH for (a) urgent delivery and (b) a discount !

[Edited at 2014-09-21 12:07 GMT]


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 01:10
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
This Sep 21, 2014

Tom in London wrote:

What's a weekend? To me, every day is a normal working day and the other things that happen in my life, and that are important to me personally, can happen on any day, at any time, and not particularly on a Saturday or Sunday.

This. Of course it would be a different situation for those with school-age children, but as a freelancer there is no particular need to designate the weekend as rest day, especially since I don't book myself into long hours to begin with. A day is a day for me and commitments can happen any day.

Now clients may skip weekends when counting working days needed, which is completely fine by me since I get two extra days for a project.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 18:10
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
When you have earned your living, don't forget to get a life! Sep 22, 2014

Of course the beauty of freelancing is that up to a point you can adjust your hours to suit yourself and your lifestyle - or acommodate clients in a different time zone, or a little of both.

Many of my friends are pensioners, and events are not always between Friday evening and Sunday evening. But some things do go on at weekends, and translating is isolated enough in the first place.

I charge extra for tight deadlines, 150% of my normal rate for work overnight or on Saturdays at the client's demand, and 200% if I can for Sundays. A job that takes seven days' work, to be delivered in seven days definitely counts, or an order taking more than an hour or two, arriving in the late afternoon for delivery early next morning.

It is all part of educating the client. They spend time polishing their source text and sometimes setting it up with graphics etc. It takes me time to produce a similarly polished target. So why not send me a Word file BEFORE doing the DTP-work, and then I save time fiddling with the format and can spend it better?

I appreciate that sometimes schedules are just tight, and there is no more time to spare. However, the terms are: you can have your translation good, fast or cheap, but not all three.

I aim at good first, then fast if necessary, and I charge accordingly. I do not sell myelf cheap.


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Adam Jarczyk  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 18:10
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
It takes a clearly defined position to be able not to sell oneself cheap Sep 22, 2014

Christine Andersen wrote:

I charge extra for tight deadlines

...

I appreciate that sometimes schedules are just tight, and there is no more time to spare. However, the terms are: you can have your translation good, fast or cheap, but not all three.

I aim at good first, then fast if necessary, and I charge accordingly. I do not sell myelf cheap.


The very same here. And given the information of the OP about the assignment in question I am almost sure I have been asked as well, for another language pair.

However, we could not agree on the fact that I do not sell myself cheap, and so the client's interest vanished. Not a big problem, though - I got a wonderful day off and am now working on another project in which my customer obviously values my input much more.


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