Poll: Do you think your income would increase significantly if you worked with more direct clients?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 02:06
SITE STAFF
Jan 11, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you think your income would increase significantly if you worked with more direct clients?".

This poll was originally submitted by Sarah Ferrara. View the poll results »



 

Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:06
Member (2008)
English to Italian
other Jan 11, 2010

I don't know, I mean, agencies have lower rates, obviously, but I don't work a lot with agencies, and those I work with have almost the the same rates as my direct clients (in my main fields), so I have no idea how it would be.

 

Maria Drangel  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 11:06
Member (2007)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Not really, no Jan 11, 2010

My experience so far from working with end clients is that they have a lot of questions about different things, and I end up having more administration than I do when I work with agencies. As agencies are more time efficient to deal with, it is more profitable for me to deal with them.

 

Brannigan
Italy
Local time: 11:06
Italian to English
+ ...
no brainer Jan 11, 2010

Agencies charge clients a lot more than my rates. The fact is that I don't have the time (or skill/patience)to be a PM. My current arrangement suits me better: I work with a few, trusted agencies and have just a few direct clients.

 

xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 11:06
English to French
+ ...
Not necessarily Jan 11, 2010

Jobs for some direct clients are very time consuming, and the direct price takes that into account. Working for those customers through an agency at its rates (they tend to bid way below translators' prices) would dramatically reduce my income.

Working for direct customers implies much more commercial/administrative type of work, which I gladly leave to agencies (with a fee/commission): what I like is translating, not the other aspects of our profession.

I have a handful of direct customers and also work for a series of agencies. Between those, I keep busy full time.


 

John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
My experience Jan 11, 2010

This poll is still in the early stages, but I get the impression I live in some translator's parallel universe.

The question was, would my income increase if I worked with direct clients. To me the answer was obviously yes. I work for an agency or two, but I prefer dealing with direct clients. I can charge them more than an agency would pay me but less than the agency itself would charge. That means a lower price for the client, but more money in my pocket and less in a third party's/middleman's pocket.

What can I say? I'm an entrepreneur at heart.icon_smile.gif


 

Ken Fagan  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:06
French to English
Night and Day Jan 11, 2010

[huge difference]

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
Perhaps Jan 11, 2010

I already work mostly with Direct clients and find it much more personal, lasting and satisfying than with agencies.
Agencies don't usually want to "bother" the client by asking them to clarify anything about the translation, maybe because they don't want to look unprofessional, but it can be a real nuisance, for example with undefined acronyms or ambiguities. This hacks me off tremendously, as I like to get feedback (negative or positive) on my work in order to improve. Most agencies in my experience do not appreciate quality per se, and many don't seem to care about the rigour of a text as long as they get their cut of the loot.
My rates are comparatively low given the standard or service provided, and I usually charge more or less the same to agencies and direct clients, although the agencies will always haggle if they think they can get away with it.
All in all, I prefer direct clients, and any new ones will obviously increase my income, which is, obviously again, significant.
Another plus is that they usually pay on time... (if they don't, I tend to drop them)


 

Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:06
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
I already work with both Jan 11, 2010

I have very good relationships with the agencies that I work with long term. I get feedback, and I *don't* have to deal with the clients. I would not make a very good PM.

I have worked with some direct clients in the past. Some I will work with in the future. Some I never want to see again. I often find there is more administrative work involved with direct clients.

I don't mind that the agency is also making money off of my translations: I make money off of their labor as well. They find the clients, they provide software, one of them provides the loveliest glossaries a translator could ask for specified by client, and they deal with the people end of things.


 

xxxAguas de Mar
I am not sure... Jan 11, 2010

... if I get this whole thing about different rates for agencies and direct clients... and I wonder if I am the only one...

I work with both, and the difference in my rates is around 4 cents per word more for direct clients, amount that usually goes to having another professional review my work. To me, this means that I basically charge the same for agencies and for direct clients.

One could say that if I dropped the agencies to get direct clients instead I would be making 4 cents more on each word (in case I did the proofreading myself), but that might not be totally true; volume plays a role too, as work from direct clients tends to be less frequent than that coming from agencies.

I take that invoicing and maintaining a constant relationship with both are part of my job, I do not consider I am doing project management when I do this. I certainly cannot offer additional services like desktop publishing or translation into many languages, but I do not believe this to be a problem.

[Edited at 2010-01-11 17:47 GMT]


 

xxxdrben  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 11:06
German to English
It's not (just)the price, Jan 11, 2010

it's the communication via a third person, that's the problem. Example: something turns out to be much more effort than either the client or the agency expected, but you do a really good job at a loss, the client is really happy and insists on having you again, but it is then tricky to set up a direct negotiation to shift up to a reasonable price. Even though you know the client has plenty of budget.

Translating is about trust, and trust doesn't go around corners very well.

It also matters when it's necessary to persuade the client about translation issues; you often need to talk directly with people to explain and reassure about what you're trying to do with a text.


 

Lutz Molderings  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:06
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
yes Jan 11, 2010

yes, I'm pretty sure I could increase my income if I worked for more direct clients, but I prefer flexibility over cash - at least at the moment.

 

Bernadette Mora  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:06
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Direct clients Jan 11, 2010

This is one of my main objectives for this year: increasing my portfolio of direct clients, so that I work less, and earn more!
Best, Bernadette


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:06
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Absolutely! Jan 11, 2010

John Cutler wrote:
The question was, would my income increase if I worked with direct clients. To me the answer was obviously yes. I work for an agency or two, but I prefer dealing with direct clients. I can charge them more than an agency would pay me but less than the agency itself would charge. That means a lower price for the client, but more money in my pocket and less in a third party's/middleman's pocket.

My direct clients pay much better. I'm fed up with working for agencies that pay less and sometimes don't even understand the translation process.

Not only that, Neil said: "I already work mostly with Direct clients and find it much more personal, lasting and satisfying than with agencies."
They care about their subject, and the want to help solve problems. I feel that they respect me more.

With more direct clients on my list, I would feel more secure if the work flow from one of them had to stop for one reason or another.

In summary, working with direct clients greatly enhances my ratio of time invested:monetary reward, improves the quality of the translation, enriches my experience, and heightens my professional self-respect.


 

Thierry Destinobles  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 11:06
German to French
+ ...
yes, wish I had some Jan 27, 2010

I'm all about direct clients, but for the time being, I have not a steady workflow with them, so I worked mainly with agencies. When I see on their websites what they charge the clients, it's frustrating because I know they make a good margin on my back!

And it's also nice to know that with direct clients, you're not just a number but a real person!

Maybe with the time and experience, I'll land more direct clients and will be able to ditch the low-paying agencies...


 


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Poll: Do you think your income would increase significantly if you worked with more direct clients?

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