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Poll: What % of your total revenue comes from direct clients?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 17:10
SITE STAFF
Apr 30, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What % of your total revenue comes from direct clients?".

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Around 80% Apr 30, 2012

Most of it.

I don't keep a count, but I have managed to limit my agency work to a minimum as there are so few that are open-minded or professional enough to be worth the stress and hassle.


 

Franco Rigoni  Identity Verified
Italy
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
Around 80% Apr 30, 2012

Around 80%. Agencies expect you to translate massive texts in 0 time and rates are not always good (and some of them are bad payers). Over the years I focused much more on direct customers: they pay more, faster and they sometimes give you gifts + the owners ring you at Christmas and they invite you to the parties they organize!

 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:10
Member (2006)
German to English
Other Apr 30, 2012

Never thought about it as it varies from year to year. But my accountant would know ....

[Edited at 2012-04-30 12:29 GMT]


 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:10
Member
English to French
<20% Apr 30, 2012

And I am not complaining.

Philippe


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:10
French to English
100% Apr 30, 2012

It may well depend on the sort of areas you specialise in. When I first started out, I contacted agencies, big and small, in particular those in my area, which at the time was English law. 50% of my clients were agencies. In parallel, my direct clients were in yacht-racing (rules, contracts, architects, surveyors, construction) and the latter paid within 30 days. The boaty clients were direct clients through personal contact and word of mouth did the rest.

The 50/50 set up did not last for long as at the time, agencies paid one month after having been paid by their client. Technically, that is not my problem as I had privity of contract with the agent not with their client. Indeed, one of the theoretical advantages of an agent is being sure of being paid even if the end client pays late or never! 15 years ago it was commonplace for agencies to behave in this way, even large, well-known so called 'reputable' agencies. In other words, if the end client paid late, the agency paid me late. It became current to be paid three months after having submitted the work. I may just have been unlucky.

Over time, the volume of work across a vast number of fields in yacht-racing and the occasional job with the courts, police and social services enabled me to drop agencies altogether.

I repeat, I may have been unlucky but once bitten, twice shy. Never again!

[Edited at 2012-04-30 10:03 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-04-30 10:04 GMT]


 

James A. Walsh
Spain
Local time: 02:10
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
< 10%! Apr 30, 2012

I'd love to have more direct clients, but I'd say roughly 90% of all work I've ever done has been for agencies. Saying that, I'm perfectly happy with the rates I've negotiated with most of these agencies, and they keep me in regular work; so all in all, it's been a pretty much win-win situation for all concerned.

To be honest, I'm not really sure "where" to look for direct clients many times. They're an elusive bunch, what with all the agencies vetting for their business. This poll has inspired me to get more creative in my endeavours perhaps (i.e., go on the hunt for more direct clients).

Right, back to my agency work... icon_rolleyes.gif


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 10:10
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
<10% Apr 30, 2012

Which is fine with me because they do the running around to drum up the work, do a thorough QA check on my work (which they know, too, is hardly necessary), and more importantly pay on time.
If they didn't and dumped all of the responsibility on me icon_eek.gif , I wouldn't work for them.

And I occasionally get the chance to go out and have a jar or two with some of them. icon_biggrin.gif

Happy translating!


 

Interlangue (X)
Angola
Local time: 02:10
English to French
+ ...
Other Apr 30, 2012

Varies from less than 10% to over 80% from one year to another.

I have few regular direct customers but when they have their x-annual conference or forum, they have a lot to translate in a rather short time-span.

I also have a handful of agencies among my long standing customers and they do a very good job at getting work my way.

I do not like (and this is a euphemism) the administrative hassle of answering calls for tenders, for instance, or hunting for direct customers. The agencies I work with are good at it, far better than I will ever be, and their work deserves payment too.

Finally managed to get the whole text of my comment posted...



[Modifié le 2012-04-30 16:27 GMT]


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 01:10
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
61-80% Apr 30, 2012

but curiously enough my best payers are... agencies with whom I have established a good professional relationship these last 20 years!

 

Yvonne Gallagher
Ireland
Local time: 01:10
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
< 20% Apr 30, 2012

In the past, when I was working part-time as a translator, almost all my work was from direct clients who approached me via other contacts but they were almost all "one-offs", a letter, CV, contract etc.

However, as a full-time translator I find "hunting" for direct clients now rather time-consuming and am happy with two of the agencies I work for who send regular work, pay a decent rate and on time (30 days from invoice). Basically, I'd like some more (agencies) like that but James is right, maybe I need to be a bit more proactive about getting direct clients?


 

Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:10
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
<10% Apr 30, 2012

I very much dislike hunting for clients or any other marketing exercise.

Yes, I have had bad experiences, with one agency and with one direct client.
I now work for neither. Which, in the latter case was really too bad, as the client was involved in environmental activities that I highly support. Tja.

Barring those two exceptions, the agencies that I work for have been excellent about paying on time and sending work my way. They PMs have also been good at listening to what I am good at translating, and sending that type of work my way. Which means no CVs, no contracts, etc. which are more hassle to me than they are worth.

My direct clients are generally people seeking translation of family documents written in Suetterlin. Which becomes problematic, as the translation rates for them are quite high, and also tend to send me researching in the name registeries at Vad Yashem.icon_frown.gif

Technical texts tend to be less emotionally draining.


 

Patricia Charnet
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:10
English to French
41-60% Apr 30, 2012

but it depends a lot - I've had some years where most of my work came from agencies, and years when most of it came from my direct clients.

On average it's about 41-60% but the percentage has been slowing increasing gradually over the years


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:10
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
About 70 % Apr 30, 2012

Presently a good 70 - 75 % of my income comes from direct clients - as opposed to last year when about 80 % of my income came from agencies.

This, at least for me, is a matter of 10 - 12 days' (direct clients) vs. a 30 - 35 days' (agencies) payment. Needless to say which term I prefer.icon_biggrin.gif

[Edited at 2012-04-30 14:42 GMT]


 

Ikram Mahyuddin  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 08:10
English to Indonesian
+ ...
<10% Apr 30, 2012

But the more important thing is the revenue itself. We always hope for a better revenue in the future, no matter where they may come from, right?

 
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