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Poll: Do you work with direct clients?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 00:49
SITE STAFF
Apr 20, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you work with direct clients?".

This poll was originally submitted by Siwei Wang. View the poll results »



 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 10:49
Turkish to English
+ ...
Yes, but rarely Apr 20, 2015

In the past eleven years that I have been freelancing full time, there has not been a single year in which I have not done at least one job for a direct client, but, unfortunately, such work usually amounts to less than one percent of my turnover for the year.

 

Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:49
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
About two-thirds Apr 20, 2015

of my work is for direct clients.
I made an effort to define my target market and build up a customer base of SMEs in a specific sector from day 1.
Nevertheless, I still need agency work. A direct client relationship only works if one becomes the exclusive translation provider for a language pair. That is a lot of pressure in terms of availability. I would not be able to increase the proportion of work for direct clients.


 

Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
pros and cons Apr 20, 2015

As Diana points out, there is a lot of pressure from direct clients over availability, and I often have to bite my tongue rather than suggesting to my main direct client that they should have me on their payroll if they want the kind of availability they often demand.

Another thing to remember before moaning about agencies is that you are not responsible for employing someone to revise your translation when working for them. This makes me mellow about getting paid less by agencies, but does not enamour me of direct clients who want to pay what I charge agencies!

Edited to remove some Spanglish.

[Edited at 2015-04-20 09:57 GMT]


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, mostly Apr 20, 2015

And thank goodness, because in my experience 9 out of 10 agencies are a pain in the... neck.

 

Umberto Steindler  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:49
Member (2005)
German to Italian
+ ...
I agree, 100% Apr 20, 2015

neilmac wrote:

And thank goodness, because in my experience 9 out of 10 agencies are a pain in the... neck.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
50/50 Apr 20, 2015

neilmac wrote:

And thank goodness, because in my experience 9 out of 10 agencies are a pain in the... neck.


In my experience 9 out of 10 direct clients are even more of a pain in the neck...

But they pay much better


 

Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 09:49
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Yes, but rarely Apr 20, 2015

I actually much prefer to work with agencies..

but that is after weeding out the ones that were a pain in the neck.


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 16:49
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Other N/A Apr 20, 2015

I used to when I had my company. Working with direct customers/clients in Japan can be a real pain in the derriere. They are very demanding and would often ask me to visit them for a meeting about the translation of a new catalog, web page, etc. Jobs would frequently involve a return trip of 3 to 4 hours for a small volume of work of about 15 to 20 pages - which I could do in those 3 to 4 hours, anyway. And, all they basically wanted to do was to chat about the weather. Sigh...

Also, there is such as thing as the 'promisory note' over here which is often used in industry and printing for payment. Payment terms for these are typically account closed at the end of the month, promisory note issued at the end of the following month for payment 110 days later. Now, coupled with the 'job acceptance period' which often resulted in jobs billable for the current month being taken over into the following month, I was sometimes looking at payment 180 days down the road for largish projects (translation + DTP) that took 2-3 months to complete. Juggling the books was so exhaustive and running the company often required my looking at the whites of my knuckles while tiptoeing on thin ice.

A good agency that does all the interfacing, running around and reviewing of my work before delivery to the end client is worth their weight in gold for me since I can just sit down and focus on the work.

Now, if there was an understanding direct client just around the corner that was generous with its spondoolicks, then I might make an exception and jump through a few hoops for them as long as they are not too high off the ground.icon_smile.gif

Just read Chris's comment - of course, the money is better. But for me these days, the money really has to be that much better to outweigh the hassle and make it all worthwhile.


 

Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:49
Portuguese to English
+ ...
yes Apr 20, 2015

I would venture a guess that about 25% of my work is from academic institutions who hire me directly (and 1099 me at the end of the year).
I also take work for local immigrants going through the immigration process, but that is probably less than 5% of my work yearly, I'd guess, but they pay cash, which I like.

I used to do a lot of work directly for law firms, both local and in other states (generally all domestic/US firms), but I see less of that now than I used to, probably because I stopped advertising on Bar Association websites and mailing postcards to law firms...I should do that stuff again.

I would much rather work for direct clients, in general.
Most agencies seem to always have last-minute rush work and keep trying to drive rates down, while everything is getting more expensive.


 

DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:49
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Yes ... Apr 20, 2015

I answered yes, sometimes - as that seems the closest answer to my situation - but not quite a perfect fit.
I do a higher percentage of work for agencies in terms of hours worked / word count, but about 50/50 in terms of turnover.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 08:49
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes! +/- 50/50 Apr 20, 2015

Last time this question was asked I said: "Approximately half of my jobs are from agencies and half from direct clients, with monthly variations” and this hasn’t changed much. I can assure you that there are very good agencies and very bad direct clients out there. I have been fortunate enough to have been working with some very professional and respectful agencies that pay quite well (as much as my direct clients).

 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:49
English to Spanish
+ ...
Time saver Apr 20, 2015

This poll has been run many times. I kindly advice the poll's author to do a search of past polls first.

 

Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Apr 20, 2015

I decided that I only want to translate video games for the rest of my professional life. I still have a few agency clients that send me legal documents (I still have to eat, you know), but all my new clients are game developers ^_^

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:49
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mostly Apr 20, 2015

The ratio varies, but it's usually at least 75%. This year 100% of my work so far has been for direct clients (5 of them).

The pay is great. I haven't encountered any drawbacks so far in 22 years of freelancing.


 
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