Poll: Do you apply a minimum job charge for regular clients (that you regularly invoice anyway)?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:13
SITE STAFF
Jul 3, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you apply a minimum job charge for regular clients (that you regularly invoice anyway)?".

This poll was originally submitted by Oliver Lawrence. View the poll results »



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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 05:13
Russian to English
+ ...
Usually not, but... Jul 3, 2011

If I get many jobs a month from the same client, I usually don't apply minimum per-job charge. However, my biggest and most regular client forces me to submit a separate invoice for every job, no matter how small, through their electronic processing system. Naturally, I impose minimum per-job charge on this client to offset the cost of my time to do it and the item fee I pay to my accountant for each invoice.

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Oliver Lawrence  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:13
Partial member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
Hi all Jul 3, 2011

What I'm trying to get at with this poll, in case it's not clear (you don't get much space in these poll questions, do you?), is whether you insist on a minimum charge when one of your regular clients comes along with a little job of about 50-100 words, that would only amount to a few euros if you charged for it on a per-word basis.

The point about them being a regular client is 1) that you would be raising an invoice for them anyway and 2) you may (?) be happy not to insist on a minimum charge at all, as a little favour to help keep them onside.


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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:13
Member
German to English
+ ...
Sometimes Jul 3, 2011

If a regular customer has a couple of sentences to translate, I'll do it for them as a freebie rather than the hassle of producing an invoice for it. If it's more than that, I'll charge a minimum fee. However, if I've done another job for them recently, especially if it's for the same end customer, I'll offer to lump it together with the same job to avoid the minimum charge.

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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:13
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
No Jul 3, 2011

I don't have a minimum charge; although I probably would for a one-off client asking for a small project, I tend not to bother with such jobs unless I think it might lead to more in the future. For tiny jobs that take a matter of minutes, for my oldest regular clients I will often do them free of charge.

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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:13
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Other Jul 3, 2011

I always charge one and the same minimum fee, except for a couple of customers when we agreed specifically so because they send many many small jobs (150 to 300 words) in a month.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Jul 3, 2011

I was about to tick the "No, I apply min charge for infrequent clients only" box, but in reality I don't usually charge a minimum rate at all.

If it's for a regular client, I might just let the small jobs mount up until it's worth issuing an invoice for them. On other occasions, I might throw small jobs in as a freeby or perk for regular clients, but always make sure they are aware of my generosity and loyalty (hoping to inspire the same in them). I include minor revisions or modifications to translated texts in my basic rates, within reason.

I have occasionally asked for a minimum, usually equivalent to my hourly rate for "real-time" tasks, or threatened to apply one, but I can't remember the last time.

However, I wouldn't take my rather informal approach as an example, as I'm not sure if I even consider myself to be "professional" as defined, for example, in the guidelines here, or by "official" institutions.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 00:13
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Monthly minimum charge for drop-ins; none for regulars Jul 3, 2011

I have a USD 50 minimum charge per month for new clients who drop in, out of the blue, with some minuscule job. This covers the hassle of setting them up, sorting out exactly what they need, invoicing them, making sure their chosen payment method won't cost me more than what they'll owe me (e.g. PayPal 7.5%, bank xfer USD 70, Xoom USD 4.99). They'll have one month to order more and use the balance as credit.

My regular clients have no minimum charge. A particularly frequent one whose invoices span 1-4 digit amount figures (they require one invoice per job) has suggested that I should adopt a minimum charge, yet I declined.

I have a sort of minimum charge for video work, though: 15 minutes per order (not per video), and I never waive this one. Any video work order involving less than 15 minutes playtime is pricewise treated as if it were 15-min long. This covers the hassle of downloading large files, often waiting so many seconds before downloading from a free file xfer service, converting e.g. mov and some other files into something workable (one setup, hardware does the rest), and a few other unavoidable things. If they send the videos piecemeal, the same minimum applies.


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:13
Italian to English
The minimum charge isn't the point Jul 3, 2011

I have a number of clients whom I bill monthly because they send reasonably regular amounts of work, often from several different offices or branches. In some cases, a lot of the work comprises very small jobs with a very quick turnaround. As a general rule, I make my minimum charge of one standard page (1,500 keystrokes source) per job but obviously I don't want to look greedy so occasionally I throw in a freebie if things are getting out of proportion. Conversely, if the quick turnaround jobs are particularly long, I whack on a premium charge.

The crucial thing is always to deliver the service required at a rate that is perceived by the client as fair and is also worth my while.


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:13
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
I have a minimum charge for everyone Jul 4, 2011

I will, as others have said, throw in a few words, phrases, sentences for free for a good client now and again, but if regular clients want a small job done, they understand I will charge my minimum for it, and seem happy with that. As far as I'm concerned, the job still takes up time (including the analysis of the text, the email exchange involved, invoicing, etc.), and this needs to be properly compensated. Personally, I am not a great fan of small jobs, and if I thought I wasn't being paid properly for them, I would simply refuse to do them, which clients might find more inconvenient than having to pay a bit extra.

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