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Poll: Do you accept jobs from clients even if you can't find much information about their reputation?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 04:21
SITE STAFF
Feb 23, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you accept jobs from clients even if you can't find much information about their reputation?".

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:21
Spanish to English
+ ...
Depends Feb 23, 2015

Most of my clients come to me by recommendation, by word of mouth from other happy customers. But anyway, it will depend on how the fancy takes me, or the mood I happen to be in when they approach me.

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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Depends Feb 23, 2015

I find common sense goes a long way

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 21:21
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Depends Feb 23, 2015

Every overture from a potential new customer is a gamble even if information about their reputation is posted on the Internet. You can't trust everything you read on the Web, right?

With new clients, I have a mental list of criteria that they have to comply with. Any sign of a flashing red light, then I'm off. In fact, alternatively. I don't mind being asked the same by them since it is quite likely that both parties - the client and the translator - are equally wary of each other.

This is why an NDA and Basic Agreement signed by both parties is a must to establish a level playing field and equal terms of engagement. Sorry, a nod and a wink are just not good enough for me these days.

Trust, I believe, is something you can gain only by actually working with someone - it can't get be earned beforehand.


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:21
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It depends Feb 23, 2015

If it's an agency on ProZ or with a decent website, and if the job isn't too large, I'll take the chance.

As for individuals, I have had good luck with people in the research field, though if they are still students, I may ask for a 50% deposit, or I may offer to do a small part of a larger piece (for a fee) so that they can see my work and I can see their willingness to pay.


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dianaft  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:21
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
Direct or agency? Feb 23, 2015

Most of my work comes from direct clients - and most of those are SMEs or very young start-ups. I can't say I have any hard and fast rules, I only apply some combination of gut instinct and common sense.

With agencies, I assume that a track record must exist and specifically search for that. The blue board helps, but there are also other sources of information. Despite this additional information, the only payment issues I ever had were related to agency work.

[Edited at 2015-02-23 09:06 GMT]


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Lucy Williams  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:21
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Upfront payment Feb 23, 2015

If I'm unsure then I'll ask for some or all of the payment upfront. I did this recently with a client who was a friend of a friend of a friend and was apparently setting up an agency. It was only a small job and I explained that my policy was the first job was to be paid 100% in full before work commenced and then payment terms could change after that if all went well. He paid and I did the job and he is actually one of the best payers I work with in that he pretty much pays instantly he receives my invoice.

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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 14:21
Turkish to English
+ ...
It depends ... Feb 23, 2015

on the amount involved. I am always prepared to test the reliability of prospective new clients with a small job first, and if this goes well, to move on to bigger things. However, I would be very wary of giving a large amount of credit to a prospective new client unless I can confirm that they have a good payment record.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 12:21
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Ditto! Feb 23, 2015

neilmac wrote:

Most of my clients come to me by recommendation, by word of mouth from other happy customers. But anyway, it will depend on how the fancy takes me, or the mood I happen to be in when they approach me.


Over the years, one develops a sort of sixth sense about these things, but we are human beings, and therefore fallible…


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:21
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Depends Feb 23, 2015

If the amount involved is quite large and/or if my stomach/gut feels uncomfortable, I'll pass.

Alternatively, I might ask some questions - as is the prospective client's right as well - and if the answers provided are satisfactory, I'll accept the job. Depending on the amount involved, I might ask for partial upfront payment.


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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 15:21
English to Russian
+ ...
It depends Feb 23, 2015

I will not accept a very long project, say, 300 pages, from any client, even a reputable one, if payment is to be made some time after the whole project is delivered, but I will accept work from any obscure client if he pays me in advance or, say, for every 10-20 pages delivered.

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Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:21
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Depends Feb 23, 2015

As many have already said, I tend to trust my gut instinct. As the years go by I am getting better at spotting warning signs, but I do occasionally get my fingers burned. Although I have made some mistakes along the way, I have also found some of my best customers by taking a few calculated risks here and there.

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Harald Roald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:21
English to Norwegian
+ ...
I ask for Upfront payment Feb 23, 2015

...and then I never hear again from 95% of them. I just see that as loss prevention - not losing any sleep over "lost work opportunities"

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:21
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Quite frequently Feb 23, 2015

Some sound fine, and some set the alarm bells ringing straight away, and of course, I turn them down. I have had one or two lucky scrapes, but usually my gut feeling that a client is going to be OK proves correct.

Most of those with large jobs have been recommended by colleagues, and if they are in the UK or Denmark, then debt collection procedures are reasonably straightforward, assuming they actually have any money!

I check out some more than others, but academics with large jobs are usually backed by universities, and the others I have worked for have also been backed by organisations I could chase up.

I have sent out some reminders over the years - and been paid.

Most jobs I do are small, so the risk is smallish too. The one time I actually lost money was when an otherwise highly reputable long-term client went bankrupt...


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:21
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Feb 23, 2015

No.

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