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Poll: Do you have a minimum invoice charge?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 10:36
SITE STAFF
Nov 13, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you have a minimum invoice charge?".

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



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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:36
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Nov 13, 2012

Not as a rule, but it depends on the client. I might prefer to do small jobs as a freeby for regulars rather than bill for them...

Although if necessary, I could always pull one out of my freelancer's magic hat.


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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:36
Member (2006)
German to English
No Nov 13, 2012

not really. But fortunately those companies that I work with, do.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:36
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I have a minimum charge per client per month Nov 13, 2012

... which is USD 50.

This happens mostly with once-in-a-lifetime clients. Say they have one job worth $29.80 they want me to do instead of their 'regulars' for any reason. I charge them $50, and they have 30 days from that delivery to use the balance for another job.

I have a few regular clients whose individual invoices range from 1 to 4 digits in USD, the mode being 3 digits. For some I don't charge for single-digit jobs. Others insist they must have an invoice for each and every job they get done.

My point that the time it takes to issue, send, file, and follow up on these invoices, plus the inevitable money transfer fees would make it look like spending 11¢ to lift the safe, in order to get the dime that rolled under it. Transfer fees span from USD 4.99 (Xoom) to BRL 40 (~ USD 22 = my bank's fee for receiving a wire), or 10% (PayPal) of the whole amount, so $50 should be fair.


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Susanna Martoni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:36
Member (2009)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
No Nov 13, 2012

not as rule.

Especially if texts are addressed to regular customers.

In other cases it has happened to me to charge 20 EUR or so.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 18:36
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes Nov 13, 2012

I do have a minimum charge for short texts (less than one page), but I only apply the minimum charge to new customers. From a business point of view I find it good to offer a small freebie to my trusted customers...

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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Effectively, yes Nov 13, 2012

We have a minimum charge per job, otherwise small jobs just wouldn't be worthwhile.

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Oliver Lawrence  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:36
Partial member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
Invoice vs job Nov 13, 2012

I draw a distinction between small jobs and small invoices. If a get a small job and one or more larger jobs during the month from a regular client, then I will probably charge the small job on a per-unit basis. But if the only job in the month for that client is a small one, then I will charge a minimum fee.

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tradu-grace  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:36
English to Italian
+ ...
Yes Nov 13, 2012

the same as Susanna.

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 03:36
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes Nov 13, 2012

For new customers, my minimum is the equivalent of one page or 200 translated words because the same amount of effort and hassle goes into getting the paperwork done even if the "paper" invoice is sent as a PDF attachment.
I also insist on shorter payment, say, within 10 working days of the customer receiving the invoice, which makes it more worthwhile. New customers never balk at the idea of sending small sums sooner. If they did, I'd worry about their financial stability and wouldn't accept the job anyway.

For older and long-term customers, however, small jobs and invoices are part of the package so I don't have a minimum charge. Goodwill given here carries over and helps grease the tracks to larger projects in the future.


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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 19:36
French to English
+ ...
Bill by the month Nov 13, 2012

I bill at the end of the month. 99% of the time, my customers send me enough work in a month to make preparing the invoice worth my while. On the very rare occasions they don't, I roll the invoice over to the next month. I've only ever had to roll an invoice over more than one month once and, in that case, I ate the 5 Euros in question.

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James A. Walsh
Spain
Local time: 19:36
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes and no Nov 13, 2012

For small, one-off jobs like birth, marriage certificates, etc. (less than 500 words), I apply set minimum charges in £s for the UK, €s for the eurozone and $s for the rest of the world (pretty much).

I also have several long-term clients who send small jobs on a regular basis, though, and I bill them for the total word count once monthly. However, I charge a higher per-word rate for these small jobs, which kind of compensates for the minimum charge not being applied for each job.

Regular clients occasionally send me jobs that are so small, like 1 or 2 sentence emails, that I offer them free-of-charge as a goodwill gesture. These jobs typically require about the same amount of time and effort that I would spend answering a KudoZ question, so it would actually be more annoying to have to issue invoices for them. And I find that the goodwill gesture keeps the clients happy, which usually equates to them sending me more beefy jobs down the road.

[Edited at 2012-11-13 11:05 GMT]


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
I'm shocked Nov 13, 2012

by the number of people offering freebies and discounts to butter up customers.

Are these the kind of customers you want? Don't you want customers who appreciate quality and service and are willing to pay for this?

Given that agencies certainly won't pass on your discount to their end-customers, and that direct customers are fully accustomed to paying a professional price for a professional service, what is there to gain from selling yourself short?

To my mind it's just asking to be ripped off again and again!

This all reminds me of a recent job offer where a customer proposed paying 50% of our minimum charge...


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:36
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Minimum of US40.00 Nov 13, 2012

As Chris says, it simply wouldn't be worth the time otherwise.

The only time I do "freebies" is for regular clients in cases involving very short texts of less than, say, 100 words.


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:36
Member (2004)
English to Italian
I always charge Nov 13, 2012

unless it's a few words and it's favour for a long standing client... it happens, but very rarely.

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