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Poll: When clients ask for discounts, do you usually accept ?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 10:07
SITE STAFF
May 25, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When clients ask for discounts, do you usually accept ?".

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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 19:07
English to French
+ ...
Other May 25, 2012

My clients do not ask for discounts

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, sometimes May 25, 2012

It depends on the client and circumstances, or which side I get of the bed on. I sometimes even give my regular clients the odd unsolicited discount as a sign of appreciation for their custom, although on the other hand if I take the hump I am equally likely to tell them to go and raffle their doughnuts elsewhere...

[Edited at 2012-05-25 08:29 GMT]


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 19:07
German to English
+ ...
Never May 25, 2012

Cos they never ask! If it's extremely urgent they might offer a surcharge (weekend work) which is gratefully acccepted.

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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 19:07
German to English
+ ...
"raffle their doughnuts elsewhere" May 25, 2012

@ nielmac - love the expression but never heard it before - do you make them up yourself or do you have a scriptwriter somewhere in the background? (and can I borrow him for witticisms when needed in the face of clients demanding the impossible?)

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Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:07
English
+ ...
Same here: They never ask. May 25, 2012

.

[Edited at 2012-05-25 08:47 GMT]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 19:07
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Other May 25, 2012

It depends what you mean.

I should probably have voted no...

As I explained to a would-be client only yesterday, volume discounts do not make sense for me. Normally I have plenty of work, and sometimes have to turn down interesting and well-paid jobs because I don't have time.

So why on earth would I give a discount for a large job that meant I had to turn down better-paid jobs, and what am I supposed to do about my regular clients in the meantime?

I work for agencies most of the time, so I don't outsource, but every time I turn down a job, they might find someone more 'available' and/or willing to work for a lower rate, and eventually drop me. Then I have to spend non-earning time finding new clients.

It's a free market, but we are here to make a living, and we are entitled to a life like everyone else!

* * * * *
Trados discounts are negotiable - if the overall fee for the job is acceptable in view of the time spent on it, then I am quite happy to say new segments cost xx kroner or euros per word, and repeats cost half that or whatever.

Break it down as you like, because I look at the total.
If the client wants cheaper repeats, then it should press the starting price for new words up...
That can be an advantage, and with some highly repetitive texts, it is also fair to good clients.

We have to stand together on this one.


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don't ask, don't tell May 25, 2012

My clients have never asked directly for a discount, but some have tried the "Mcapproach" (volume discount). You know, the typical, "We'll give you lots of work, but at a lower rate". In other words: long hours at low pay, reminiscent of fast food restaurants and other low-paying service sector work. My response is that I'm a translator, not an unskilled hamburger flipper, so they can take their offer and place it gently where the sun never shines.

On a more positive note, I often just simply discount certain small translations on invoices for regular, well-paying customers (agencies) who give large jobs at my regular rates. I list it on the invoice and then put something like "Free of charge" in the amount column. (I've often wondered if they pass any type of savings on to their own customers, but since it's a no strings attached offer, I don't ask any questions.)


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dasein_wm  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:07
Member (2009)
Italian to English
+ ...
Other - I negotiate pricing with new clients May 25, 2012

To say that there is no room for negotiation would be equivalent to thinking of every job as having the same parameters. They don't, so I don't.
I do have a minimum below which I will not go and have said: 'Thank you, but no thank you' on a few occasions. But by and large, it is normal business procedure to negotiate a fair price for a service. After stating my price, I might accept a reasonable counteroffer from the client. To never do otherwise would be silly.
Having business sense involves knowing how to bargain respectfully and fairly with respect to what is expected and what is offered. After this is accomplished and a price is agreed, there is no need for a discount.
I may negotiate a lower/higher price with a client but I do not offer discounts - especially not volume discounts - after all, I am not selling potato chips.


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:07
French to English
No problem! May 25, 2012

You want a discount of 10%? Sure: I'll give you 90% of the quality, 90% of the time, 90% of the term research, 90% of the text. I'll pay the state 10% less for health, education, retirement and taxation. I'll eat 10% less, drive 10% less far and pay 90% of my bills. Sure...Hello. Still there? Ah. Gone. I was just about to take off 10% of my clothes!

I am happy to negotiate a quote but never a discount on the final bill once established.


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Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:07
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
sometimes May 25, 2012

If a regular client has a project with a limited budget, I will accept a slightly lower rate or flat rate. Or if it's a newer, smaller agency, i'll accept to start out slightly below my rate. I will not accept anyone as a client if they're asking some ridiculously low rate.

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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:07
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
Just a thought... May 25, 2012

I do hope this question wasn't asked by an agency to find out which of their translators would be willing to work for less money!

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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
Never May 25, 2012

Potential clients sometimes ask for a discount, but I always say "No." Last week, an agency pushed hard for me to accept a 50% discount. I explained politely that there's no incentive for me to turn away full-price work from existing clients to work on the cheap for someone else.

After several attempts to get me to work at half price, they accepted my fee (which is, as far as I can tell, fairly average for my language pairs).


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njweatherdon
Canada
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
Sure, why not May 25, 2012

Actually, I often overquote jobs (don't mind if sticker shocks loses me some work) ... then lower the prices if it was easier than expected and increase the price if it was more work than expected. If clients know that I don't hesitate to apply discounts for easy project then they can be confident that I'm not BSing when I say towards the end of a project that factors xyz mean it should cost more.

As far as asking for discounts goes, I explicitly make it known that I'm open to negotiation. It's not 'cause I want discounted work. Rather, I don't think the size of someone's bank account should necessarily exclude them from the type of high quality translation that will make it easier for them to showcase their work, which can be difficult to do if one's language skills aren't in the main international language. But if I ever thought that someone was just trying to push down the price so they could have more drinking money, I'd pretty much never agree to the discount.

So yeah, I apply lots of discounts, but they're not really discounts for the most part. I charge what it's worth, and sometimes it's more or less than I think it would be after a 2-5 minute look at a document.

[Edited at 2012-05-26 10:55 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 15:07
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not discounts, however streamlined costs for them May 25, 2012

If I gave a client a discount merely because they asked for it, in my book it would be tantamount to my initial cost estimate being dishonest, an attempted rip-off.

However I fight for my clients' best interests, one of which is reducing costs.

My standard rate is defined for payment within two weeks from delivery via PayPal. However PayPal costs me 10% of the total amount, which they deduct in fees, lower exchange rates, and delayed transfers. So if the client agrees to pay me via Xoom (only from USA, costs them $5, costs me nothing), a bank transfer (costs me BRL 40 ~ USD 20), or unlikely a P2P system (Moneygram, Western Union) instead of PayPal, they'll immediately get a 10% discount, which I prefer to give my clients than to PayPal.

Some clients tell me not to review my translation beyond the spell checker: Our local marketing/technical/whatever experts will change it completely, so all they need is a translated text to start working on. They may get a discount, because I'll be doing less work for them.

Others request a video transcription and a translation for dubbing or substitling. I warn them that if all they need is the video dubbed or subtitled in my target language, the transcript is wasted work, so they can pay for the translation only, i.e. half of what would be the price for both.

Some clients are willing to pay earlier. As interest rates in Brazil are around 10% per month, COD instead of two weeks justifies a 5% discount.

Yesterday a client requested me a video subtitling & DVD authoring estimate, including a massive quantity of copies. I told them to outsource the mass duplication services directly, as I wouldn't do it myself, and keeping me in the circuit would only add to the costs. In the past, in one such case, I outsourced the mass duplication, however for a reason... three countries were involved, and there was no time for complex logistics.

Bottom line is that while I charge for all the work I do, I try to sell my clients out of anything that doesn't need to be done. Furthermore, I am into translation, not financial services, so I keep these two apart. Therefore I let them know exactly how much they are paying me for my services, and what are the financial costs of different payment methods and longer payment terms, leaving them the choice.


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