How to negotiate agency into my rate (or close)?
Thread poster: Maciek Drobka

Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 20:16
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
Jan 22, 2007

Hi all,

Here's the context:

A Western Europe-based agency likes my application form very much, but not my proposed rate.

They offer slightly less than half of what I started with. I would be very happy to work for 80% of what I started with (this is actually my target rate), still happy with 70%, and willing to work for no less than 60% of my starting rate.

Suppose they like my experience (which I detailed on the application form) very much. (Would they contact me with a rate less than half of what I offered if they didn't like my experience?) How can I talk them into accepting at least 70% of my starting rate?

It's my turn in the negotiation. I am afraid to counter-bid too high for fear of losing the agency client altogether. They offer a steady flow of work (an argument for reducing my rate), but on the other hand require priority treatment (which for me sounds like an argument for increasing the rate--I may lose other business). Still, I would like to work for them. That's the key thing, I think.

Please share your thoughts on this.

Maciek

[Edited at 2007-01-23 06:38]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:16
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
You know how much per hour you need to make a living Jan 22, 2007

Hi Maciek,

In particular if they are going to make a claim on your time regularly, it is important to be earning enough per hour. Also, since they are a prospective new client, you do not owe them any favours. They would have to earn those.

I would insist on 70% or 75%, if I were you, and explain politely that it would not be worth your while to work for them if you go any lower. Diplomatically state that it would be a pleasure for you to work for them, but at the same time make it clear that that would only be the case if they pay a fair price.

Good luck!

Astrid


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Timothy Barton
Local time: 21:16
French to English
+ ...
Supply and demand Jan 22, 2007

I find it's just a case of supply and demand. If they need you, they'll pay; if they don't, they won't. You can only do so much to sell your services. If they don't want to pay that, I suggest just leaving it and spending your time finding better clients. You never know, they may get desperate and phone you later accepting your rate.

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Fan Gao
Australia
Local time: 06:16
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Stick to your guns Jan 23, 2007

I agree with Timothy, it's totally about supply and demand. You have the power, there are a lot more of them out there than there are of you so stick to your guns and demand the rate you deserve for the quality of work you supply.

They're just a typical agency trying to get the highest quality at the cheapest price, and why not, it makes good business sense. However, they know that if it's quality they're after then they're going to have to pay for it.

If they are a good agency then they will pay you what you ask, if they don't budge then I really don't think it's the kind of agency that anyone should work for.

Let them go if you have to, there are plenty more greater fish in the sea:)

Best wishes,
Mark


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:16
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
A once-only introductory rate Jan 23, 2007

If you're really keen to work for this agency and are not too busy with better-paid work, you could suggest doing this one job for them at a slightly lower price than your normal rate, but strictly as a once-only introductory offer. Establish this fact in writing on your invoice. After that, if the agency offers you further work, stick to your guns and refuse to work for less than your normal rate.
Best wishes,
Jenny Forbes.


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Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 20:16
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not an option Jan 23, 2007

Jenny Forbes wrote:

If you're really keen to work for this agency and are not too busy with better-paid work, you could suggest doing this one job for them at a slightly lower price than your normal rate, but strictly as a once-only introductory offer.
(...)


I am afraid the above is not an option, because the agency is building a small team of English to Polish translators to work regularly in a specialty area. It's a qualification process, but for a long-term partnership rather than a single job. Sorry for not making that clear in my original post.

Maciek


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GingerR  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:16
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
Article knowledgebase Jan 23, 2007

I suggest you read this article

http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/327/1/-Are-you-Prepared-to-Meet-Your-Client?

Good luck!

Joanna


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xxxcmwilliams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:16
French to English
+ ...
your decision but.... Jan 23, 2007

Do you really want long term work that pays less than half of what you normally charge? It doesn't sound very good to me. I'd insist on a higher rate, especially as it's in a specialized area. If they don't want to pay it, I'm sure other clients will.

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Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 20:16
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
My fault again Jan 23, 2007

cmwilliams wrote:

Do you really want long term work that pays less than half of what you normally charge?


Looks like I've misinformed you with my context. What I meant by 'target rate' was the target rate for this particular job/partnership.

My average rate is lower than the target I am looking for with this client, but I mainly work for Polish agency customers. With this Western European client, I would like to increase my average rate. I know they are looking to Polish translators to drive their rates down, so the directions we're following are opposite. I guess I have to be faster to get further down the road...

Maciek


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Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 20:16
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Great article! Jan 23, 2007

Joanna Nowak wrote:

I suggest you read this article

http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/327/1/-Are-you-Prepared-to-Meet-Your-Client?

Good luck!

Joanna


Thank you for the link! It finally persuaded me to stick to my guns. Remains to be seen what comes out of it.

Maciek


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Ania Grajek  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 21:16
German to Polish
+ ...
Good for you! Jan 23, 2007

Maciek Drobka wrote:
Thank you for the link! It finally persuaded me to stick to my guns. Remains to be seen what comes out of it.

Maciek



Stick to higher rates with western agencies, some of them really want to squeeze a poor rate out of you just because rates in Poland are low. I keep my fingers crossed for you!

Cheers,
Ania


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