Tiny jobs
Thread poster: tinageta

tinageta  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:20
English to Latvian
+ ...
Dec 21, 2004

I know that the subject has been discussed in various threads before, but my problem is a bit different. I have a regular, good and trusty client, and very often among the “normal” jobs I receive very small orders, like 30 words (once it was even 4 words). Of course, normally I would consider this just a small favour for a good client and would not charge for it. However, this happens quite often, 1 euro here, 2 euros there and at the end of the month I realize I could afford a new pair of shoes on the account of these favours. Also I invoice the client once in a month or once in a couple of months for all the services rendered, mostly to save on banking expenses. Unfortunately when negotiating the collaboration terms I did not set the minimum charge (my mistake) and I do not feel like changing the terms at the moment.
So, what would you do if you were me? Would you include all the small jobs in the monthly invoice or not?


Luciano Monteiro  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:20
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No minimum fee Dec 21, 2004


I would include all jobs, regardless of their size, in my monthly invoice. But I would not charge any "minimum fee" if this is a regular and trusty client. Of course if the only job my client provides to me is a sentence every six hours for me to translate and return on the spot, I would have to review this business relationship; however, if this client regularly provides larger jobs, I think doing these small ones will be worthwhile. But charging for one´s job is fundamental and the client will certainly understand it.




Charlesp  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:20
+ ...
do it as a service Dec 21, 2004

I'd do it without charging. As a service.

Alternatively, if it actually amounted to something, if it was more than a few times a month, you might install some time-tracking software, such as that lawyers use, to keep track of their time expended on each job/client. And then simply submit a monthly bill.

There is of course another alternative, also very often used by lawyers, and that is to simply take a retainer. Have your client pay a monthly fee for your availablity, and don't count the hours.


writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Save all the 'small jobs' in a separate file Dec 21, 2004

I have client who does the same thing. However they suggested that I save all the 'small jobs' (a few lines, a few words) in a separate file, then count the total and add it to the invoice at the end of the month.


Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:20
English to Turkish
+ ...
same here Dec 21, 2004

I have a client who does the same. Most of the time I send the translation of tiny bits of sentences and terms in a reply mail. At first, I had also considered doing it as a favor, but then decided to copy-paste them all in a file, and add the wordcount in my monthly invoice. A little headache for me, to be honest, but it's a regular client who supplies me with larger projects every once in a whileicon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2004-12-21 09:59]


vixen  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:20
Member (2002)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Agree with writeaway Dec 21, 2004

I think I would follow the approach that writeaway suggested.

If it's only a few words or lines once in a while, I would do it as a free service. However, if it happens very regularly, which seems to be the case here, adding these jobs to the monthly invoice seems fair to both parties involved. After all, doing a lot of small jobs can be even more time-consuming than doing one large job.

I have a regular client (agency) that sometimes has a very small job in between larger jobs, for which the agency itself offers to add one hour (my minimum rate) to the next work spec for the same end client. Occasionally there are a few additional terms that need to be translated, for which I don't charge anything, because I think it's part of the service.


Lucinda Hollenberg  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:20
Dutch to English
+ ...
Save the little amounts to put on one invoice! Dec 21, 2004

I actually have two clients with the scenario that you describe and they have been with me since the beginning (many years). The smallest job that I had for one of them was a, yes one, word. But they send stuff all the time, a tiny one here and a tiny one there.

I actually just send them an invoice once every quarter; the one pays immediately after receiving the invoice, the other one after 45 days. A long time, you might say. Yes, but they were my first client and we have always had a pleasant business relationship. I do not mind; it gets there and a loyal (paying) client is a precious commodity.

Both use PayPal, so the charges are not so high. I try not to have them pay by bank draft because the bank charges at my bank are high.

Happy Holidays!


expressis  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:20
French to German
+ ...
Include it in your invoice without charge Dec 21, 2004

The only client I'm doing this for asked me recently for a year rebate.

Unfortunately, I didn't include all these short sentences in my invoice, I just did them the favour. And now it's too difficult to check.

So, just start mentioning it and also save it in one separate file as the others propose.

Even so, if you recognize doing it, that the amount is worth it, you can still include it in the invoice (although I wouldn't do it, if it happens unregularly).

Good luck!


Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:20
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
You can announce charging minimum fees Dec 21, 2004

Your customer will not sell these "for free" either, and you do not have to fear, that they will stop to use your services.
At least if you have to interrupt your regular work for these small bits the loss for you can be enormous. A 15 minute minimum charge would be appropiate.
What would a barber say if I would enter his shop and ask him for a free trimming of my moustache?


tinageta  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:20
English to Latvian
+ ...
Thank you! Dec 21, 2004

Thank you all for your very useful and valuable suggestions! I think I will follow the advice to save all the small jobs in a separate file and will include them in the invoice under a heading like “Small jobs” or “Documents not exceeding xx words” or something of a kind. In this fashion I would not work for free, but the client still would not expend as much as he would if I charged a minimum fee for all the small flies.

Merry Christmas!icon_smile.gif


Omar Osman
Local time: 05:20
English to Somali
+ ...
Minimum fee Dec 22, 2004

I charge my minimum fee of £30.00 (from 1 word up to 380 words). It all depend on your language pair. I work from English into Somali and don't have much competition out there so can afford to request this fee to my best clients too. I would charge 30% of my minimum fee for small jobs in more common language pairs (such as English into Italian).
Merry Christmas Everyone.

[Edited at 2004-12-22 07:35]


stonejohn  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:20
English to Chinese
+ ...
Calculate the word count to a certain amount, then... Dec 23, 2004

One of my long-term cooperated clients asked me to calculate all of the tiny jobs they provided, I think it is OK and usually, I invoice them when the word count reaches around 500. By doing so, both we two parties are with great satisfaction.:)


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