Poll: Do you require a purchase order before accepting an assignment?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 04:24
SITE STAFF
Mar 28, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you require a purchase order before accepting an assignment?".

This poll was originally submitted by Paulo Celestino Guimaraes

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Graciela Fondo  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
English to Spanish
Budget Mar 28, 2008

In fact, my customers usually request a budget from me. I send a mail with the budget and the estimate date for delivering the job, then they send a reply accepting my terms. Sometimes they negotiate the date with me if they need a more urgent delivery.
I've also send budgets for new or prospective customers. Sometimes they accepted and sometimes they have not accepted or even replied.
But my usual customers need a budget to justify the expense for their company.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
Italian to English
+ ...
Never Mar 28, 2008

I work on trust. I've only had one totally negative experience in over 5 years of freelancing, and that wasn't due to lack of a purchase order.

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Aline Canino  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:24
Member (2007)
Chinese to French
+ ...
not always Mar 28, 2008

Usually I work on trust too. Most of the agencies I work with send me their own, so I don't have to require one.
I send PO to clients only when the translation hides particular points to be sure both parts are ok and there is no misunderstood.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:24
English to Arabic
+ ...
Glad to see I'm not alone... Mar 28, 2008

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:

I work on trust. I've only had one totally negative experience in over 5 years of freelancing, and that wasn't due to lack of a purchase order.


For me, an email with the words "go ahead" is as good as a PO, and I've never had a bad experience due to that either (so far!).
To be honest, I don't see how a "go ahead" can be misunderstood in any other way than a straightforward order to go ahead.


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Thomas Johansson  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 07:24
Member (2005)
English to Swedish
+ ...
easier without but perhaps problems can occur Mar 30, 2008

I think "informal" communication by email is just fine and never ask for a PO. Whenever clients start messing with PO´s the whole process usually is delayed a day or so (maybe because most of my clients are located in Europe while I live in Mexico).

Only once I had a problem with a client that perhaps was related to this fact: We had a communication of a few emails back and forth regarding a potential job of approx. 15,000 words, and, in the end, my understanding was that there was a (real, firm) order from the client. Since there was plenty of time to finish the job and I had other jobs to work on, I didn´t start the translation immediately. Two days later, I received a message from the client asking if I had started yet. I replied that I hadn´t. The client then replied that they had found another translator located in their own country (Turkey) (and, I suspect, charging a lower rate), and canceled the order with the explanation that this would be easier for them. Not too fair, since in the meantime I had rejected other jobs in order to make space for this one.

Thomas


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Bjørnar Magnussen  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
English to Norwegian
+ ...
when the assignment is likely to get cancelled/rescaled Mar 31, 2008

Some clients, particularly big software houses and agencies working for these, are notorious for cancelling/postponing/rescale assignments on a very short notice. From these I try, albeit with varying success so far, to require a PO before I reserve time for a project.

From clients that are likely to behave opportunistically, like in Thomas' case, it would also be a good idea to require a PO before reserving time.


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Julieta Moss
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:24
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
+ ...
So what do you do if its cancelled? Charge them a fixed amount? Mar 31, 2008

Bjørnar Magnussen wrote:

Some clients, particularly big software houses and agencies working for these, are notorious for cancelling/postponing/rescale assignments on a very short notice. From these I try, albeit with varying success so far, to require a PO before I reserve time for a project.

From clients that are likely to behave opportunistically, like in Thomas' case, it would also be a good idea to require a PO before reserving time.


Forgive me if I am just being silly, but I dont see how a PO may protect you from an eventual cancellation...does the fact that you have received a PO entitle you to any kind of compensation? If so which...

I normally dont issue POs, some clients send me theirs, others just an email, and if I have to give any quotations, I explain everything by email and wait until every term is agreed (in case extra costs like charging extra for formatting or transcription time that needs to be added to the final invoice).

But I used to have problems with an agency that sent me small translations and never clearly stated if they were firm jobs or proposals. One in particular I got one evening was very urgent (only about 3/4 of a page) and the email read "Can you do this as soon as possible?" I replied within 30-45 minutes as I had been away, nobody answered my email, I did the translation and sent it that night and the following morning they said they had given it to somebody else because I had not replied straight away. I instantly asked them to remove my details from their database.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
I actually have no idea what this means... Mar 31, 2008

I try to keep things as simple as possible and am more likely to reject any work that involves time-consuming formalities like this. I prefer to work on a trust basis where the client asks for an estimate (NB: which I don't call a "budget") and if they accept it, I take on the job, assuring prompt delivery and accuracy, always within the bounds of reason...
I often reject work offers through proz when the poster asks for sample translations, credentials, references, or other formalities, simply because they are a waste of time in my opinion.
One regular client asked me to classify each of their translation order requests from the different departments with a reference nº, which I now do, because they have given me a lot work over the years. This is probably the closest I get to dealing with this type of thing, apart from the quarterly VAT returns, yet another right royal pain in the... pocket area

[Edited at 2008-03-31 10:38]


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Bjørnar Magnussen  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Answer to Julieta Mar 31, 2008



Forgive me if I am just being silly, but I dont see how a PO may protect you from an eventual cancellation...does the fact that you have received a PO entitle you to any kind of compensation?



I am not a lawyer, but I think it would depend on your contract with the client. If you haven't signed any contract or the terms of cancellation are not specified in it, I think you would have a better case for claiming compensation if you have received a PO.

In my experience, PMs in serious agencies are quite hesitant in issuing POs if they are not 100 % sure that the project will materialize. Thus, asking for a PO can be used as a litmus test to decide whether it's worth reserving time for the assignment.

I have only received compensation once. It was for a quite large project (30,000 words) that was cancelled after it had started. I was paid in full for the words I had translated and received a compensation of 10 % for the rest.





[Edited at 2008-03-31 19:36]


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