Poll: Have you ever lost a regular client after raising your rates?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 22:39
SITE STAFF
Mar 16, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever lost a regular client after raising your rates?".

This poll was originally submitted by Maciej Burak. View the poll results »



 

Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:39
Member (2008)
English to Italian
no preference Mar 16, 2013

Never happened, but there is a reason for that. I have worked with my regular clients for about 10 years, every time I want/need to raise my rates, I ask them if we may do that. They usually agree, a couple of times they asked me to wait for raising my rates, explaining the reason why they could not accept.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Mar 16, 2013

We discuss these things like normal, civilised people. I'll say "I was thinking of raising my rates..." and take it from there. It's not usually a case of "like it or lump it".

PS: I don't consider agencies as "regular", a designation I reserve for my own non-agency direct clients. I use "agencies" as a category on its own, warts and all.

[Edited at 2013-03-16 09:05 GMT]


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:39
English to German
+ ...
Lost? No, but some send work less often than before. Mar 16, 2013

Which is perfectly fine with me - they are still great clients.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 06:39
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Mar 16, 2013

I never lost a client for raising fees but once I was unable to extend a long-standing contract because I made the mistake of bidding too high…

 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 02:39
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Mar 16, 2013

I "lost" my longest standing and largest direct client on a paradigm shift. The founder/owner originally did "my work" himself. Then the company blossomed, and he had to manage it. For 20+ consecutive years they outsourced 90% of that kind of work to me. Then a paradigm shift took place, the company had to downsize significantly, and the owner got back to do it himself again. We are still good friends, though.

I think the last time I raised my rates in my local currency (BRL) was in July 1994. Developments in IT applied to translation enabled me to cover 'tamed' inflation and cost of living increases, so I could keep my rate stable.

International clients have an additional variable: exchange rates. In early 2009 the USD suddenly plummeted; it dropped by 25% in BRL. I endured the loss on foreign jobs for that year, expecting the USD to recover, which it didn't. So in Jan. 2010 I raised my rates in USD by 20%.

This automatically got me rid of several undercapitalized clients who were more price-sensitive and generally slow payers. I had expected that, and was prepared to face a drop in demand. Surprisingly, my new higher rate attracted a flock of new clients who absolutely demanded the quality I had always been delivering, and who were clearly willing to pay faster for my service level.

In 2012 the USD recouped, relative to the BRL. Meanwhile interest rates in Brazil remained abusively high, often a 2-digit number of times the rates adopted in countries where my clients are located. So, instead of backing down to my old rate in USD, I began offering generous discounts on fast payment.

This worked! Upon seeing the facts, all finance-savvy clients noticed that they'd make a bundle with these discounts, even if they had to get a loan to pay me quickly in order to benefit from the Brazilian hefty interest rates. So everyone is happy now.

I don't think I ever lost a client from having raised my rates, since many of those slow payers from the days they were lower never stopped offering me jobs. Of course, they usually find cheaper vendors who will take their extended payment terms, but I haven't 'lost' them at all.


 

Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
Regular clients Mar 16, 2013

My only "regular" clients are agencies. Agencies are very price-sensitive in Spain. As I put my rates up over the years all my agencies deserted me. But that's OK as agencies here are ten a penny and I have better paying ones now.

 

Augusta Habas
France
Local time: 07:39
Italian to French
+ ...
The very first agency I worked for Mar 16, 2013

Paid me ridiculous amounts, but at least they gave me a first experience and I realized I liked the job. When I decided to ask them for a normal rate, they let me down. After that, I never worked at such a low rate and the agencies always accepted when I decided to raise my rates.

 

Enrico Zoffoli  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:39
Member (2013)
German to Italian
+ ...
Other Mar 16, 2013

I never raise my rates.

 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:39
French to English
Just once Mar 16, 2013

In my very early days, I found myself being talked into very low rates. Someone I knew who had a long-running project with lots of short regular pieces to translate, but a low-budget project. The low budget was his reason for seeking low rates. On his next project, a big budget affair, I sought to raise my rates to the standard level and never heard from him again for translations. Thank goodness actually as he was one of those folk who always supplied later than planned and who had the cheek to pay late, not to mention the fact that he always altered the English version to make it sound more French. Not the sort of client I want!

 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:39
French to English
You should Mar 16, 2013

Enrico Zoffoli wrote:

I never raise my rates.


If you are still translating professionally 5, 10 or 20 years from now, you should!
Indeed, if you are still translating professionally 5, 10 or 20 years from now, you will have!


 

Maria Dimitrova  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 08:39
Member (2011)
Bulgarian to English
+ ...
So far, no Mar 17, 2013

My main regular clients are still agencies and usually they update translators' rates when they raise their prices, so up to now I didn't really have to raise my rates. However, for the past four or five years with the global crisis, rates have remained unchanged and my work increased tremendously. So I started to turn down almost half of the jobs, which I was reluctant to do in the past, I just had problems saying "no" to my long-term customers. This is how I decided to use the simple mechanism of economics - raise the rates and decrease demand for my services so I don't have to turn down jobs or accept them when I'm overloaded just for the sake of our long-term partnership (and sacrifice my sleep and spare time).

Surprisingly, this did not lead to decrease in demand. Some of my clients really started sending me less work, but others increased the amount of work they send me, so overall, the end result of my increased rates is more work and I am still left with the task how to balance my work time and family time and at the same time not turn down jobs too often.

Of course, I don't think it is the higher rates that increased demand for my services, actually in the past two years I improved the quality I deliver a lot, I learned a lot, I started using CAT tools /and there are still few translators using CAT tools in my country/, so I am thinking that maybe I did not raise my rates sufficiently to balance demand and supply.


 


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