Poll: Are you planning to raise your rates soon?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 22:57
SITE STAFF
Sep 17, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Are you planning to raise your rates soon?".

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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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 07:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
What the market will bear and measures against late payment Sep 17, 2009

I fear that the my market may not react well to a rise in rates, although for some of my clients this would be long overdue. Some of my clients are used to me putting up my rates in line with the cost of living index as published by Spain's Statistics Institute, but with the likelihood of this being negative, I might just keep my head down!

However, one thing which I have just started to do is to try and protect myself against late payment, since this has been an increasing problem in recent months (and this means not just not receiving the money when it is due, but also having to spend time chasing it up). Rather than trying to impose a penalty surcharge for late payment, I have decided to give a higher price and a discount for payment within a certain period. Thus, if someone pays within a certain period, they actually pay my normal charges. This is the practice in various other business areas in Spain (descuento por pronto pago - discount for prompt/early payment). If a client chooses not to pay within this period, then they also pay the consequences. There is also a cut-off date beyond which the payment becomes overdue even at the higher rate.


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Simon Cole  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:57
Member (2008)
French to English
Interesting view on late payments Sep 17, 2009

I voted "definitely no" because most of my clients are French and the French are taking the economic "crisis" very personally. Even if (for example) car sales in France appear to have remained stable over the last 2 years, every claims the "crise" is making things difficult and using it to demand lower prices and better deals.

An interesting view of Spain and an idea worth considering, but I fear the French response would be to pay late and at the discounted rate. After all, what are you going to do about it? Try to insist and they will go elsewhere. I once tried adding the legal percentage surcharge for an invoice unpaid at over 100 days - the agency simply took out their calculator and substracted the surcharge, paying only the invoiced work. By the way in France 90 days is seen as on time or early for many companies, although a few pay at 60 days; no-one pays earlier than 60 days.

Aceavila Noni, please let us know if this approach works. Does anyone else have experience of this approach, especially in France?


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Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:57
Member
French to English
+ ...
Come on, Simon Sep 17, 2009

Simon Cole wrote:

By the way in France 90 days is seen as on time or early for many companies, although a few pay at 60 days; no-one pays earlier than 60 days.



I'm afraid that I have to take issue with the above statement, Simon. It's just not true that no one in France pays at less than sixty days. All of my French agency clients pay within thirty days. My only clients that don't pay within thirty days are institutions that have to send invoices through mazes of bureaucracy, but even these generally don't go much beyond forty-five days.

Deadlines, like rates, can be negotiated.

For information, the SFT is organising an event precisely on the topic of "not being your client's banker" (Traducteurs : accélérez vos règlements clients et améliorez votre trésorerie) on 27 November in Grenoble. It's meant to be very interesting.
More information here:
http://www.sft.fr/page.php?P=fo/public/evenement/accueil/fiche

As to increasing my rates, I'm not planning on increasing my rates with my current clients this year, but I often increase my rates when taking on new clients.

I generally find that when I pick up new clients at better rates and have enough work coming from these, I then tell my "old" clients that they have to up their rates or start looking for someone else.

That said, I don't have one standard rate, but many, with most of my customers.

Best,
Jocelyne


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Maria Drangel  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 07:57
Member (2007)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Minimum fee or do deal Sep 17, 2009

I am not planning on raising my rates BUT I will stop doing small projects without a minimum fee.

If the client is a very big one which order large quantities regularly, pay in time and is pleasant to deal with then I can do small jobs for free or sometimes charge per word, but I will stop working with clients who only have small projects and do not pay a minimum fee OR whom I constantly have to remind about the payment.

I have found that it is not worthwhile to keep those clients even in slow times and I have not experienced slow times since June, so I just don´t see the point in bending over backwords for clients who cost more in time than they deliver in money.

I am looking forward to see what my collegues say about minimum fees and poor payers...


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Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:57
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
backwards Sep 17, 2009

I've actually gone backwards no rates over the last year.
I had built my rates up for several years, and, despite the fact that everything is MORE expensive now, I've gone back to rates I was charging 3 to 4 years ago.
Clients are whining about the economy, blah blah, competition from third world agencies that charge next to nothing, etc., etc., repetition discounts for CAT use, machine translation and other technical advances putting a dent in work volume (I get more "revision" work, often of texts that were clearly machine translated), some clients having completely disappeared/closed shop, and my work volume has taken a huge hit.
Even the local immigrants who brought me their birth certificates and documentation to translate for immigration purposes has been reduced to near nothing, what with so many of them having gone home.
I made c. 60% in 2008 of what I made in 2007, and, so far, 2009 hasn't been any better.
I had maintained my rates after the crash for while, but just too many clients begging for discounts, and low work volume has led me to reduce rates in the hopes of being more competitive. I've cut everywhere I can to reduce expenses. Still, the work load has been sporadic.
But I'd rather work for less than not work at all.
Quite frankly, if this keeps up, I'm going to be looking for some other kind of work soon.

This is all in reference to translation work.

For interpretation, I have NOT altered my rates at all. The demand is low for such services, but local providers are very, very scarce, so, in that arena, I have not felt the need to make any changes. I'm still on the top of everyone's list, for lack of other qualified providers in my state.
I'm considering additional studies so I can take the FCICE tests to also become a Spanish interpreter, as such (I currently interpret only Portuguese, although I do speak Spanish, as well, but have difficulty understanding some Spanish speakers, there being such a broad variety of dialects, accents, slang, etc.). There ARE far more Spanish interpreters in the area, but there is ALWAYS a need for them.


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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:57
Member (2008)
English to Italian
I would Sep 17, 2009

I would, but the answer is: "well we'll call you if we cannot find anybody else (cheaper)"- It happened in the past.
So this change needs to be done when "safe".
Too many people, who have a different job, offer translations (as a hobby) and keep rates low for full-time professional translators and some clients prefer paying a proofreader for a very bad translation instead of paying a bit more for a good translation.


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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:57
Member (2006)
German to English
Not yet Sep 17, 2009

I have not really thought about it yet. I prefer to have customers that pay normal rates (for Europe) and pay within the deadline.

I frequently get work to be checked that has been "translated" by the far east. Sometimes very amusing, but very sad at the same time.


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Penelope Ausejo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:57
English to Spanish
+ ...
I raised my rates Sep 17, 2009

I already raised my rates. I still keep a couple of clients at my old rate, but the rest of them are paying the new (raised) one. I have a family to support and I cannot afford to charge a low rate and work restlessly. Otherwise, I would look for another type of job.

[Edited at 2009-09-17 13:23 GMT]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:57
English to Spanish
+ ...
Other Sep 17, 2009

For my existing clients I plan to keep my rates the same for now, but for new clients I will raise them a bit. I have not raised my rates for a very long time, but my productivity has increased steadily so I have been doing OK.

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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 07:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
"Early" payment Sep 17, 2009

Further to my comments above, I have as yet nothing to go on to see whether my system will work (and I do suspect that things may turn out as Simon says). But I am applying it not just to my translation work, but also in another educational business that I own, and my financial advisor points out that if I do have to take anyone to court, it can at least be for the higher amount. That said, a family member has been using the system for years now in the agrofood business, and quite a lot of people do (still!) go for the discount rate, and pay up the other rate otherwise.

Even if it doesn't work Simon, the "discounted rate" I might eventually get paid was at least my original rate.

I'll keep you posted.

The strict application of minimum rates is I think something we should impose more - I agree with Maria.


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Minoru Kuwahara
Japan
Local time: 15:57
English to Japanese
+ ...
asked to lower rates by a few agencies, staying on it Sep 18, 2009

Since the global economic recession, I had been asked to lower my regular rates by a few agencies with whom I had already accumulated respectable numbers of working records. I felt I had no choice to accord, and have stayed on this "irregular" standard of rates for over half a year already.

I don't know if some of you here have similar experiences under the current recession. I simply hope to "turn back" my rates to what they were previously accepted by most agencies, but I also cannot but help think when could be the best timing for myself to ask them for it, much less request consideration for further "raise". This is sort of my recent concern.

Minoru


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:57
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Rates have plummeted Sep 18, 2009

New clients who contact me through ProZ are offering me rates that I was getting more than 30 years ago. I have lowered mine a bit: my challenge is to inch them back to where they were.

With international organizations one takes what is offered: those rates are negotiated by an interagency group that meets with United Nations personnel. But no one is complaining; they are approximately twice as high as rates that have been suggested to me by prospective clients.


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Penelope Ausejo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:57
English to Spanish
+ ...
Asked to lower my regular rate Sep 18, 2009

mulberryvalley wrote:

Since the global economic recession, I had been asked to lower my regular rates by a few agencies with whom I had already accumulated respectable numbers of working records. I felt I had no choice to accord, and have stayed on this "irregular" standard of rates for over half a year already.


One of my clients (a well-known, large agency) asked me at the end of last year to lower my rate for them due to the economic crisis. I told them, that I couldn't afford it since all my expenses were going up, they didn't say anything back but kept on sending me work at my normal rate. This is the only agency that has asked me to drop my rate and so I don't know if all would do the same... but it worked for me.


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Minoru Kuwahara
Japan
Local time: 15:57
English to Japanese
+ ...
that's good to you Sep 18, 2009

Penelope Ausejo wrote:

mulberryvalley wrote:

Since the global economic recession, I had been asked to lower my regular rates by a few agencies with whom I had already accumulated respectable numbers of working records. I felt I had no choice to accord, and have stayed on this "irregular" standard of rates for over half a year already.


One of my clients (a well-known, large agency) asked me at the end of last year to lower my rate for them due to the economic crisis. I told them, that I couldn't afford it since all my expenses were going up, they didn't say anything back but kept on sending me work at my normal rate. This is the only agency that has asked me to drop my rate and so I don't know if all would do the same... but it worked for me.


I think your response appeared to be correct, Penelope. I feel my rate was not necessarily so highly ranked, but still their explanation was that more works would be coming as long as I consented to their requests in my case. You are lucky as your client is sending you works at your normal rate even after you clarified your condition.

Minoru


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