When you charge hourly, do you include all of your administrative work?
Thread poster: Caroline Moreno
Caroline Moreno  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:27
Chinese to English
+ ...
Jan 10, 2008

This would include all time spent corresponding with the client, recording and computing your time, time spent in reviewing and signing the contract and scanning it or faxing it if applicable, time spent drawing up a contract if the client did not provide one, time spent invoicing, etc.

So, do you bill the client for this or just eat it?

Thanks in advance!

Caroline Moreno


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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:27
Member (2002)
English to German
Client setup costs Jan 10, 2008

That's a very good question.

Usually I charge by word so I my fee per word has to include administrative costs.

If I charge by time I usually charge a minimum of half an hour, which might cover some admin expenses (or not).

I always stop the timer before invoicing. The way I invoice is not the client's business, he shouldn't be punished if I choose to use a more complicated system without automation and he doesn't get any value from me invoicing him (rather the opposite ).

If jobs need a lot of faxing, scanning or other manual non-translation labor I will for sure charge for it cause that's directly job-related.

I wouldn't charge for reviewing a contract that establishes the relationship between me and a client. This wouldn't be considered direct costs of a job, rather general setup costs that I have to cough up myself.

So I guess it boils down to the question if the time spent is directly job-related or not...

Best regards

Andy
www.interlations.com


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:27
English to Arabic
+ ...
I never do Jan 10, 2008

Caroline Moreno wrote:

This would include all time spent corresponding with the client, recording and computing your time, time spent in reviewing and signing the contract and scanning it or faxing it if applicable, time spent drawing up a contract if the client did not provide one, time spent invoicing, etc.

So, do you bill the client for this or just eat it?

Thanks in advance!

Caroline Moreno



It would be interesting to have a poll on this, to see what percentage of translators charge for the time spent in administrative tasks. Personally, I only charge for the time spent doing the actual job.


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Yvette Neisser Moreno  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
agree with Andy Jan 10, 2008

I also charge only for tasks related to the specific job, whether it's administrative or not. That is, if it takes me an hour to print out materials for a project, that's part of my work time. Same thing with correspondence--if I'm emailing with a client (or having a phone conversation, or whatever) about the specific job I'm working on, that is part of my work time, it's a task necessary for the job.

However, I do NOT charge for time spent corresponding or interacting with clients about potential projects, time spent doing estimates, or time spent invoicing. All of that I consider "pre" and "post"-job admin tasks. These are tasks that I have chosen to take on myself by being a freelancer. For this reason, you want to charge a good hourly rate, to help cover the time when you're not actually earning money.

Hope that helps.

Yvette


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:27
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
It boils down to calculating per year instead of per word Jan 10, 2008

I know what I wish to earn per year, where I will get the amount of work that will earn me that amount per year, and how much I have to charge each client towards my annual salary in order to get it together. I work out my word rate from that.

Since my annual salary is at least as decent, in the end, as that of a full-time office job with an equivalent level of responsibility, and I would have to do all the associated office work there, then I also have to do it here. (The secretaries in offices do not, by any means, do all the administrative work for the people they work for. For one thing, they are often not there in the evening, and, also, they sometimes do not know enough about it in order to do all the associated administrative tasks.)

Astrid


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:27
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Not your administrative costs Jan 10, 2008

Hi Caroline:


  • Time spent corresponding with the client- depends:

    • Time spent on correspondence before accepting a job: No - it's part of your overhead;

    • Afterwards:

      • Time spent on correspondence about contractual terms and conditions: Again, no, still part of your administrative overhead;
      • Time spent on correspondence that is directly related to the project (for example, questions about what something means, questions about parts of the instructions that were unclear, etc.: Probably yes, you may charge the time spent on these tasks.


  • Time spent recording and computing your time;
  • Time spent in reviewing and signing the contract and scanning it or faxing it if applicable;
  • Time spent drawing up a contract if the client did not provide one;
  • Time spent invoicing.
  • No - all this is part of your overhead



Just my opinion, of course.


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 11:27
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
<B>No</B> - all this is part of your overhead Jan 10, 2008

so... fine... er ... but then, who's paying for my overhead?

I tried to discuss this subject with my cat and (well, I guess you saw it coming...) she was absolutely not amused about my suggestion she had to carry them...


[Urejeno ob 2008-01-10 22:52]


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:27
Italian to English
+ ...
Agree with Riccardo Jan 11, 2008

It all counts as part of my overhead (and of course my general hourly rate takes this into account) except time I actually spend communicating about the translation/revision itself, which in some cases can be considerable. That gets added and charged.

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Buzzy
Local time: 11:27
French to English
I don't include it all, but I bet a big firm would... Jan 11, 2008

When I started out in a large audit/tax/legal firm I remember being horrified to see that in billing season, the secretaries preparing the bills - and probably the managers who calculated the bills and the partners who authorised the amounts and maybe added a bit if they could - all noted the time spent doing this so it would be included in the client's next bill...

Without necessarily going quite that far, as freelancers we must make sure, as already pointed out, that our rates take "lost" administration time into account. So in fact we are charging for it indirectly.


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Caroline Moreno  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:27
Chinese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Everyone Jan 11, 2008

I appreciate the detailed thoughtful responses. This is an interesting dialogue. At the end of the day (or project), what matters most is that you and your client are satisfied with your productivity and the quality of your translation and your rates.

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When you charge hourly, do you include all of your administrative work?

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