Poll: Do you charge a minimum fee?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 03:03
SITE STAFF
Jul 15, 2014

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

This poll was originally submitted by Margherita Facchini. View the poll results »



 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 13:03
Turkish to English
+ ...
Yes Jul 15, 2014

I didn't used to, but with rates stagnant to falling and the cost of living rising, I have changed my policy simply because I find that the market will bear it and it helps a little to stem the erosion of my living standards.

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:03
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Jul 15, 2014

I have to allow for the time it takes to file my e-mails and prepare my invoice. Also, I might have to do a little research and I need to cover my time. With a large job, the cost of research is spread out over the word count, but with a really small job the research could take three times as long as the actual translation. I have to allow a small cushion for that, even if the worst-case scenario doesn't happen.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:03
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Jul 15, 2014

As I said before (2010) depends on the client! In case of regular clients I don't charge it.
http://www.proz.com/forum/poll_discussion/197317-poll_do_you_charge_a_minimum_fee.html


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:03
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Jul 15, 2014

But perhaps I should. The reason I don't is that I equate it to telling clients with small jobs that they are somehow unworthy. Maybe they can't help it if they only need one sentence done for a slogan or whatever.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:03
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Yes Jul 15, 2014

A minimum fee per invoice is absolutely essential, IMHO. There's always significant work involved in issuing, tracking and accounting for an invoice, and of course if it isn't paid on time then the potential time spend is enormous. I normally charge for an hour's work, but I do sometimes reduce this to 30 minutes if I'm feeling generous AND I'm invoicing a private individual or another freelancer.

But paying for an hour of my time just to proofread 200 words or translate 50 could be very offputting to regular clients. I try to minimise that by (a) reducing the amount of time we both spend on admin; and (b) having a much lower minimum per job request. I achieve both by issuing monthly invoices - the invoice carries a minimum of one hour's work; but each line on it may represent a smaller amount of work (the absolute minimum varies quite a bit between clients, depending on their procedures and our relationship). Once you've got Excel spreadsheets set up then it's a matter of minutes to record each job and then copy the details to the invoice at month end.

The only downsides of monthly invoicing are the amount of time you spend on admin on the last working day of the month (but it's planned in, of course, and I find sending invoices far less onerous than other forms of admin), and the fact that for jobs completed early in the month you're allowing a longer payment term. But almost all my clients pay with a week - at lasticon_biggrin.gif! - so it normally means waiting 7-40 days for payment, which I consider reasonable.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 12:03
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Yes, but I waive it when it seems ridiculous Jul 15, 2014

One of my clients - who goes back a long way... now sends a lot of very small jobs, and instead of discussing word counts - from about 20 to a couple of hundred - we simply have a minimum rate.

The end client needs almost all these snippets set up in Trados and translated into most languages in the EU, so they sometimes need mine in a hurry to relay to other translators as well... They have to pay for my time and the agency's. They never complain; on the contrary, they often tell us they are very satisfied.

Another good client sent me two lines yesterday, an afterthought from a job I invoiced last month. I sent the translation back in an e-mail and said I would not waste time setting up an invoice. It would take far longer than the translation! The next job may not come from that client for two or three months after the summer break...

Usually I do charge a minimum rate, because I do a lot of small jobs, but if it is going to be the only item on the invoice, then I often drop it.

I simply refuse to work for large agencies who ask for ten minutes proofreading or so-called QA and will not pay for the administration time!


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Yes Jul 15, 2014

£20 or £50 or whatever is peanuts to all serious customers

They are businesses, they pay the wages of lots of employees, many of whom earn far more than us, they get big grants to export stuff, your £50 or whatever is nothing to them, end of story

And even with really tiny businesses and private individuals, it's no different to a plumber's callout fee - you might not like it but you accept it


 

Platon Danilov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 13:03
Member (2014)
English to Russian
+ ...
Yes Jul 15, 2014

$ 10 or EUR 10
but if it is a regular client, I am more likely to include payment for a small order into the next invoice or even not to charge it at all.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:03
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It depends Jul 15, 2014

For frequent clients, I don't. One of them actually suggested that I should, but I don't. My invoices to them range from 1 to 5 digits in USD, only because they want an invoice for anything I do for them.

For one-night-stands, I have set a USD 50 minimum fee per month. If their job is less than that, they pay me $50 for it, and then have 30 days to redeem the balance with another job.

I keep a strict minimum fee for video work, though. If it's only for translation (either for dubbing or subtitling), I waive that, and charge strictly per minute. However if it involves doing anything with the video itself (e.g. burning subtitles, authoring a DVD), I keep a 15-minute minimum.

The reason is that, as soon as I get the video file, I'll have to analyze it, and then usually devise a strategy and convert it into a working format. The analysis is the same, regardless of the playing time of the video; a 30-sec or 2-hour video will require the same amount of analysis time/work. Ensuing work is "mechanical", the computer does it on its own. I may wait for the 30-sec video to render, or leave the computer working overnight on a longer video. After I'm done, I'll have to convert the video into the format the client requested. If I charged separately, this part of the job would be the most expensive item for small videos.

The best example I had was a data DVD I received with four video files to translate, subtitle, and deliver in some different file format. All players I had played them, but no editor would open them. Can't remember the file suffix. It took me a few hours' research on the web to discover that it was a digital video format that Panasonic had developed in 1995 (?), and manufactured some 1,000 cameras that used it. Though it was abandoned, it became the cornerstone for all ensuing digital video formats, that's why all players played it. If their playing times added up to less than 15 minutes, they'd never cover the time I spent on research, which included finding a suitable "vintage" file converter.

I keep this principle to other kinds of work, e.g. if the client sends me several megabytes of reference material to wade through, in order to translate just a few kilobytes, I'll enforce a minimum fee.


 

keelin feeney  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 11:03
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Absolutely! Jul 15, 2014

I have a minimum charge for all jobs under 300 words. Otherwise, I would be spending/wasting lots of my own time opening and closing documents, other websites, possibly ftps, etc. and simply not getting paid for it. I think it goes back to how much we want to earn per hour and for our time.

In saying that, if a regular client asks me for a few words to be translated directly into an email or it is an addition of a couple of sentences to a previous job, well of course then I am either not going to charge for it or I will add it in to the same invoice as the previous or a different job.


 

Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 12:03
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Definitely! Jul 15, 2014

And it is absolutely needed:

I have to pay income tax and bank fee - and there is my time of administration plus the fact that the client usually gets 30-60 days of credit.

[Edited at 2014-07-15 17:33 GMT]


 

tilak raj  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 15:33
Member (2012)
English to Panjabi
+ ...
YES Jul 16, 2014

I charge my minimum fee for work $10, it depends upon word counting which is less than required amount ($10).

 


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