Poll: When did you last raise your rates?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 07:00
Jan 28, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When did you last raise your rates?".

This poll was originally submitted by Armorel Young. View the poll results »


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Jan 28, 2015

I was thinking about putting my rates up in 2008 but then the economic crisis started, so I kept them more or less the same for my regular clients. I finally raised my basic rate 25% for one client at the beginning of this year, mainly because they don't send me so much work nowadays and when they do it is often "urgent", so I didn't feel so bad about upping the ante.

As they keep telling us the economy is getting better (believe it if you like), I'll probably apply the new rate for any new clients that come along, and also think about gradually raising my rates for the others as I see fit.


Teresa Borges
Local time: 15:00
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Jan 28, 2015

For my "regulars" my rates were raised 3 years ago and I intend to continue to serve my existing client base at current rates and apply higher rates to new clients only, depending on the subject-matter and other circumstances. Anyway, it’s easier to change your rates for new clients than to up your rates for existing clients…


Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:00
French to English
ongoing Jan 28, 2015

I don't pick a day and write to them all to say - right, as of now, I'm charging this (I know some do, and for some that day is 1 Jan, so the poll is well-timed).

I do know my agency rates haven't changed for, er, quite a while in most cases. Shameful.

For direct clients, I've stopped quoting rates per word unless I'm specifically asked. I charge a sum for the document(s) I'm asked to do. It's more flexible, I can round up a bit if I foresee issues, knock a bit off for "repetition" without being specific, and, indeed, gradually increase prices without the client even noticingicon_smile.gif
(Except the cat's out of the bag now, if they ever stumble across this!)

I used to think telling them word rates was more transparent (which it is) and enables them to anticipate costs and so on but it really appears most direct clients (not all) don't think like that. They usually just want to know how much, and don't much care whether the figure is arrived at rationally or by virtue of the alignment of the stars.


Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:00
Turkish to English
+ ...
Other Jan 28, 2015

Things are not that cut and dried.

After the 2008 crisis, I found business conditions to be tough, and for some years grit my teeth and resolved not to lower my rates in the face of falling demand. In 2011, however, I finally had to reduce my premium rate for legal translation by about 15%. In 2013, with demand rising, I increased the lower rates I was charging some long-standing clients to bring them in line with what everybody else was paying. I mainly charge in two currencies, EUR and GBP, and with the fall in the value of the euro over the course of last year, I realised that I was either going to have to raise my EUR rates or lower my GBP rates to bring them back into parity. With the eurozone economy looking fragile, it did not seem to be the right time to increase my EUR rates, so at the start of this year I lowered my GBP rates to bring the two into parity.


Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Last week Jan 28, 2015

I completed one of these feedback questionnaires from a customer that bought a customer that bought a customer that was quite a good customer that bought a really good customer that bought my original favourite customer... and then I got an email saying the answers had been lost due to a technical error so could I do it all again because they really value my feedback, so much so that they sent this from a no-reply address, whereupon I lost it and emailed them venting my spleen and upping our price to them by 10% in retaliation. Now that's what I call professional. I'm a joy to work with.

[Edited at 2015-01-28 09:09 GMT]


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:00
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Domestic or international? Jan 28, 2015

My domestic rates in BRL have been stable, unchanged, since July 1994. I managed to convert the gains in productivity from progress in IT into benefits to my clients.

Over 50x faster computers, CAT tools, OCR software, electronic/online dictionaries, no need to print output, no need to take floppy disks or paper to the client's office, instant file transfer via Internet, and other innovations have generously covered inflation, increased cost of living, and much more.

On the other hand, I had a peculiar situation with my international rates, generally stated in USD, since most of my foreign clients are in the USA.

In Jan. 2009, the USD plummeted relative to the BRL (the currency I use to pay all my bills) by 25%. I thought it was a temporary situation, so I spent that entire year losing money on each job from overseas.

In Jan 2010 I'd had enough if it, so I braced myself, explained the situation to all my clients overseas, and raised my rates by 20%. I immediately lost all clients I had in the questionable zone (in battery testers, that yellow zone with a "?") forever. The good clients I had understood it immediately, and we are still working together to this date.

I said I braced myself, because I got prepared for a substantial drop in my demand. It didn't come. As soon as I raised my rate by 20%, I attracted the attention of a flock of new clients, a breed who did not believe the quality they wanted (and which I had been delivering since day one) would be possible to obtain at my earlier rate. Yes, we are still working together.

Some time in 2012, the USD recouped its value relative to the BRL. Did I lower my rates? No! I implemented some discounts, though.

By then I had ascertained the impact of Brazilian interest rates being ominous, if compared to most other countries. In Argentina they are worse, but I haven't had clients there in ages.

In rough figures, I realized that if a client in the USA would only have the money to pay me 30 days later, it would cost me as much in interest as to that client taking a 4-year loan to pay me COD.

So I separated financial costs from translation costs. My stated rate includes the financial cost of getting paid via PayPal (costs me 10% in fees) in two weeks. However my clients get generous discounts by paying me COD via cheaper methods. For the record, 97% of my translation work nowadays is being paid COD; clients can't resist those discounts, of up to almost 17%.


Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:00
French to English
+ ...
Direct clients and transparency Jan 28, 2015

Charlie Bavington wrote:

I used to think telling them word rates was more transparent (which it is) and enables them to anticipate costs and so on but it really appears most direct clients (not all) don't think like that. They usually just want to know how much, and don't much care whether the figure is arrived at rationally or by virtue of the alignment of the stars.

I agree, Charlie - I think direct clients would much rather know exactly what they're paying. I used to have a complex system of urgency surcharges for one particular client, based on the old HM Treasury rates, but I was aware that they didn't like having to pay extra for very urgent jobs. So when the job came up for tender I discussed it with them and we agreed that I would increase my basic rate by 25% but apply that rate across the board, even for jobs required the same day. They seemed to prefer that solution, so that's what happened, resulting in an increase overall for me and them knowing exactly where they stand: win, win.


Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:00
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
January 2015 Jan 28, 2015

I adjust my rates once af year, not always raising them.

My rates are public and I don't do much negotiating, especially not concerning min. fee or discount on large volumes. Forget it. It is just take it or leave it.

And that's what works best for me.


Willeke Barens  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:00
Member (2004)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Ten years ago Jan 28, 2015

I raised my rates ten years ago when I was just way and way too busy. This filtered out the agencies that paid lower rates. Have been struggling to stick to my rates and not lower them further when things got bad a few years ago. Some new clients still get the resulting lower rates, but I am slowly getting back to the stage that all clients pay the same rate again.
I do have some direct clients, and there I just assess the situation and see what I can reasonably ask. Once I was asked to work at nght and I really really really didn't want to do that, so I doubled my rate and that was OK, so I ended up doing it. Of course that is a nice bit of extra money, but still, I strongly value my evenings and nights to relax and keep my energy level high enough for my work during the day, so try to keep them free.


Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:00
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Newer clients pay more Jan 28, 2015

I have regularly raised my rates over the years with more recently acquired clients paying more. As I have lost some of the older clients, this has worked out in favor of generally higher rates.

However, I still work for my first agency at a lower rate. They are great people to work with, and while I occassionally think about raising my rate, it never seems that important.


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:00
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Ongoing Jan 28, 2015

A year ago I ran a campaign with myself and dropped a couple of the lowest payers, giving me time to work for those who pay more. I also raised my rates for others at the bottom - mostly clients who only turn up once or twice a year.

I have a spectrum of rates - I translate a wide range of texts and one rate does not fit them all. I have been charging some clients the same rate for nearly 12 years, but they were good rates back then, and I actually still earn well by working for them. These clients send files ready to drop into Trados, and they help clear up any issues fast.

In principle I charge others higher rates, but if I have to sort out my own problems, or if I spend more time on administration and formatting and so on, they are not always more profitable.

I thought about raising rates again, but at the moment I simply send the lowest payers to the back of the queue, which in practice means they have to find another translator!

One or two have asked me to update my details in their databases, and if I get that far, I often raise the rate as well. But these are typically the kind who send more paperwork than paid jobs, so it doesn't make any big difference!


Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:00
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A real revolution Jan 30, 2015

Until 2013, my clients were mainly Brazilian agencies. My prices were quite stable for over three years, despite the local inflation. And when I tried to negotiate readjustments, many clients simply disappeared.

The revolution was in the beginning of 2014. And I should have gone through it much, much earlier. I decided to invest in foreign agencies. I started doing some netwroking, and gradually I became "known" to foreign agencies. As soon as I became the leader of my pairs in ProZ and started a translation page in the web, contacts started flowing in.

Well, I made an appraisal in March, 2014, of prices practiced by Brazilian and foreign cooleagues all over the world. And I stipulated my price as the average of that research. Then I defined my rate in BRL, a bit lower than that average.

As soon as I started working for agencies in Canada, USA, Europe and Israel, I started to decline invitations from Brazilian, Indian and Chinese agencies. I currently have clients only from these countries (the former), and a few Brazilian agencies (very few).

The clients I work with rarely ever question my prices or ask for discounts. And those who think my price is too high or ask for a discount may look for another translator. I only have decent clients now. As I said, I should have done that a looooooong time ago, and I'd be doing much better off today.


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