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Poll: Do you rely on just one client/agency for the majority of your work?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 13:33
SITE STAFF
Dec 30, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you rely on just one client/agency for the majority of your work?".

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Cécile Gaultier  Identity Verified
Member (2012)
English to French
+ ...
My great uncle used to say... Dec 30, 2014

It is a sorry mouse that has but one hole


Happy holidays to all!

Cécile


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:33
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Not now Dec 30, 2014

From 1965 to 2008, well over half my work was from one firm. Eventually they just stopped sending me anything, with no explanation even when asked for one.
As the sergeant said to the trainee drill instuctor, tongue-tied as the squad was marching towards the edge of a cliff: "For Christ's sake say something, even if it's only Goodbye!"


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 23:33
Turkish to English
+ ...
No Dec 30, 2014

No, although one agency accounted for about 25% of my 2014 turnover and has consistently been my largest client for nearly a decade.

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:33
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No way! Dec 30, 2014

I have more than 60 clients in my roster, though not all of them are currently active. It's first come, first served with me.

Seriously, maintaining a large client base has numerous advantages.

1. It's insurance against unforeseen events: Businesses reorganize, hire in-house staff, and even close their doors.
2. It ensures an uninterrupted flow of work: I rarely have any down time unless I choose to take a break.
3. It ensures a steady income: I plan how much I can do and that tells me what my income will be.
4. It keeps rates high: If clients want my work, they know they will have to pay my rate or I will work for someone else.

Anecdote: My oldest client approached me a couple of weeks ago with an enormous job. Because of the large volume, they said they were paying a "slightly lower rate." I turned them down because I want to stay available for my other clients; at a reduced rate I'd be shooting myself in the foot. Since then, I've had a flurry of jobs that pay better than what they were offering.

I built up my client base over time by answering every serious inquiry that arrives in my inbox. Even when I'm already booked, I tell them when I will be available, and I've been surprised to see that sometimes they're willing to wait.


[Edited at 2014-12-30 10:14 GMT]


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Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 22:33
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
No, Dec 30, 2014

But maybe 85% of my work comes from 3 regular clients.

[Edited at 2014-12-30 11:14 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 21:33
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No Dec 30, 2014

Over the years, I have built a solid client base, but some months a good percentage of my work comes from one direct client with whom I have consistently been working for more than a decade.

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Willeke Barens  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:33
Member (2004)
English to Dutch
+ ...
No Dec 30, 2014

I have a very broad client base and I am lucky that, through the years, I have been able to let go of the less professional agencies. Still plenty of work from the good ones. It will vary from one month to another where the work is coming from. I like it this way.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Dec 30, 2014

Heaven forbid!

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Teddy Okuyama  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 05:33
Japanese to English
No Dec 30, 2014

It's nice to have 3-4 solid clients/agencies. But I think more than 5 is detrimental.

I used to try to juggle many clients at once. But I received more jobs than I could handle.

And, each time, I would have to decide which to accept and which to decline.

In the end, it just narrows down to 3-4 by itself.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 22:33
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Not any more Dec 30, 2014

When I started freelancing, I was heavily dependent on my former employer, and I am extremely grateful to them - without them I could never have started up and got my business going.

For several years most of my work came from that agency and one other. However, I did on average send an invoice to a new client every month.

Then suddenly the agency sending the second-largest volume of work dropped me from their list. Its management decided only to work with translators living where their target language is spoken. I hear and read English - the real thing - every day, but I live in the country where my source language is spoken, and that was that.

I really started taking notice of new clients, took an extra diploma and told everyone about it, and made my presence felt on KudoZ and elsewhere... and those were the busy years anyway, so I soon filled the gap.

In 2010 my former employer, still my main client, went bankrupt after being a really good agency for 30 years and earning well for most of them. Some colleagues were left without pay for a lot of work. I was lucky: I had been working on a big project for another client when the crash came, and got paid for almost all the work I had done for the insolvent agency. I still had a full workload...

I would certainly miss some of my present clients much more than others, but I am practically always fully booked. I invoice about a dozen different clients each month, but only two or three of them every month.


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Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:33
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
No way Dec 30, 2014

I have one client who sends me a lot of regular editing work, some translations. They've been steady for several years but i never RELY on anyone. I have two or three others who also send regular work, but not in a large volume.
As we have all observed, agencies close up or change etc...I had a couple of regular clients who sent me good volumes of work, but who were bought up by other companies. You cannot rely on one client unless you have a full time inhouse job!


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 05:33
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
No Dec 30, 2014

Never put all your eggs in one basket. If your sole client stops giving you work, the carpet will be pulled from under your feet and you will run around like a headless chicken.

And, it's always wise to avoid clichés like the plague.

On a serious note, though, I was surprised at the number of those who answered 'Yes.' If the client finds a cheaper or better (most often 'cheaper') supplier, these people will find themselves without any work and source of income whatsoever - hence the headless chicken analogy above. Good luck job hunting!


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Ikram Mahyuddin  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 03:33
English to Indonesian
+ ...
No Dec 30, 2014

And I would like to read comments from those who respond "yes",

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TB CommuniCAT  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:33
Member (2014)
English to French
No Dec 30, 2014

I'll be starving if I do

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