Minimum fee "scheme" - any ideas to share?
Thread poster: MariusV

MariusV  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:43
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Nov 1, 2006

Hello all,

Just wanted to ask you how do you set the minimum fee for the clients (if you apply it) - on what principles, on what basis, etc. Maybe there are some "non-written laws" for that ? Would be very interested to share the opinion.

E.g. I decided on the following scheme:

1) All what is up to 200 words, I charge the fee as it would be per page, and what is over 200 words - upon the usual word count.

2) If the volume of the job is more "abstract" (some corrections, some changes based on the updates to the previous source text), I usually charge per 1 hour (my rate per page +- equals the hourly rate).

Do you think it is fair? Sometimes 60 words ASAP (and several such jobs from different clients) eat up a lot of time (the work itself, emailing, changes to the tight and already made schedules, registering of the job itself, invoicing, etc.)

AND ALSO - for the clients with whom I work for a long period of time, I try not to charge that "minimum fee". But some people (esp. new clients) sometimes appear to be somewhat "unhappy" for these minimum fees as they think that it is just a pleasure for the translator to waste half an hour, and make 30 words for 3 USD and be very happy about thaticon_smile.gif


[Edited at 2006-11-01 14:50]


Vito Smolej
Local time: 06:43
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
nothing much to add... Nov 1, 2006

I have a defensive minimum order charge - to teach those with a sloppy mind and quick fingers not to send every little paragraph my way.
It works.

And being in control of the situation it allows me to set the rules and go lower - much lower: my last quote was for 3.50€ -. Am I insane? No, but this is much better than sending your CVs around. Eventually - my hope - you end up, where you wanted to be - with a new client, who trusts you.

I used to feel guilty, counting up my minutes and hours. But the fact is, the clients got the best minutes and hours their money could buy, so no guilt feelings any more.

I appreciate most the clients who dont fool around with cents, because it's dollars that counts. They get a lot of "freebies" that are paid alright eventually. But it is game with rules which both sides respect and subscribe to. It's great... And of course sometimes it's less great (sg).




Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:43
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Hourly rate Nov 1, 2006

My minimum charge is in most cases equivalent to my hourly rate. But for regulars I do not always charge that, depends on the job.


MariusV  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:43
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Thanks, Vito Nov 1, 2006

A really interesting and practical approach I think. Will try to implement your ideasicon_smile.gif


Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:43
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Hi Marius Nov 2, 2006

for new clients and their very small jobs (granted I accept them at all) I use some minimal rate (and also pay proportional part of it to translators).

However (as we with you collaborate almost on daily bases), you see, that, e.g., there's a lot few sentences (or even words) updates for our bigger jobs already submitted to particular clients, and yes, these updates might drive one crazy, especially if you receive 5 or more such daily, but they are all good clients (I don't work with bad onesicon_biggrin.gif ), and I cannot charge them min. rate (or at all) for a 4 or 10 word update on a job worth many hundreds or thousands of Euros...

"So it goes"- quoting Kurt Vonneguticon_biggrin.gif


[Rediģēts plkst. 2006-11-02 00:46]


MariusV  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:43
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
"(a good) client is always right" versus "time is money" Nov 2, 2006


Well, by starting this topic actually I had some "hidden purposes":

1) "correct behaviour" (in the wide sense) with new clients from the very beginning. by that I meant forming an "advance" agreement on the principles for small-scale jobs to be acceptable and reasonable upon a mutual basis. some people sometimes like to exploit translators, and get the job done for 2 USD and get themselves some 10-20 times more from the client as their "own" minimum fee. it is not to count the client's money, but to count the own time resources of the translator as minutes make hours, like cents make hundreds in certain time.

2) for permanent clients with whom I work for many years I usually charge just per word basis. or like we have a reasonable agreement on a fixed rate that was actually PROPOSED by your friendly and fair initiative, not IMPOSED like some people like to do. so you are "out of question" (in the good sense) here being the 1st person in my 9-year practice whom himself proposed a really fair dealicon_smile.gif

3) sometimes (esp. when filling in some application forms) I needed to indicate the minimum fee at least "statistically". well, sometimes it appeared to be like a small puzzle what to indicate and I tried to get to know if there are some "non-written" laws about that as not to invent a bicycleicon_smile.gif

Best regards,

[Edited at 2006-11-02 02:05]


Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:43
French to English
+ ...
Flexibility Nov 2, 2006

I have a very flexible (and, I admit, a little capricious) minimum rate - for my 'normal' clients it is equivalent to my hourly rate, and I've never had a complaint. If it's a new client sending a small job I don't particularly want to do, this can increase by a factor of 3 - if they agree to it, great! Lucrative job! and if they don't, then I haven't lost much.

Similarly, if someone sends me a small but interesting job, I might just do it for free for a regular/particularly nice client.

And I would usually do little updates to existing jobs (as Uldis describes) for free - for me, that's part of the ongoing service for that particular job.


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