Poll: What is the main reason for which you decide to stop working with clients?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 02:23
SITE STAFF
Aug 20, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What is the main reason for which you decide to stop working with clients?".

This poll was originally submitted by Angus Stewart. View the poll results »



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Francesca Grandinetti
Italy
Local time: 11:23
German to Italian
+ ...
2 reasons, ex-aequo Aug 20, 2015

Bad payment practices AND low rates.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Aug 20, 2015

Mainly payment issues, but sometimes for sloppy work or failing to respect agreements. The last client I dumped had ordered a translation on the Friday to be delivered on the Monday, but then reneged on the deal at the last moment when I'd already done most of the work. This was the last straw in a long line of similar issues and late payments over more than a decade, so I told them to stuff it. After a year or so, they approached me again and begged me to work for them again, which I did after raising my rate 25%, but I'm still regretting it - AFAIK they still haven't paid me the bill I sent them in March. They have a conference coming up in October and I'll have it out with them before then - right now I'm too busy with proper, regular paying, intelligent clients who DO appreciate my dedication.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 10:23
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Serious payment issues… Aug 20, 2015

… have always been the only reasons for me to “fire” a client: one recent case (which after a number of e-mails, telephone calls and letters I decided to “forget” as the amount is very small) plus two other cases solved some years ago after my lawyer's intervention. I must say though that my long-standing client (25 years) has a strong tendency to pay late, but I know that sooner or later I’ll be paid.

As far as I’m concerned, the other factors don’t apply:

1. My clients know my rates in advance
2. I don’t mind if they are demanding (within reason)
3. Never dealt with an unfriendly or rude client
4. Some clients are more helpful than others, but nothing that a little diplomacy can’t cure
5. Never had to deal with ethical issues after accepting a job, but I have refused some jobs for ethical reasons
6. Some projects are much more interesting than others, but I’m never bored when I’m working…


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:23
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Aug 20, 2015

I only once recall that I intentionally stopped working with a client and it was because they were nitpicking about why I hadn't translated an address and other silly things.

I did lose some clients when I changed my e-mail address. I was too busy to contact everyone and some of them dropped off the vine.

I don't start working with clients unless the terms are clear to begin with, and once we have a relationship I maintain it. I'm a firm believer in having a long roster of clients. It means that I don't get much time off, but that's a good thing, isn't it?


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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:23
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
A combination of these points Aug 20, 2015

But both very low rates and what I call "technical and administrative harassment" (you called it "high maintenance") are reasons that make me stop even if the job otherwise looks great. The compulsory use of an online CAT tool is an absolute no-no. And even an agency with decent prices will be fired if it requires a paper invoice in triplicate in a format of their own, and then it takes 6 months and several reminders for them to pay.

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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 13:23
English to Russian
+ ...
nitpicky is the word! Aug 20, 2015

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

I only once recall that I intentionally stopped working with a client and it was because they were nitpicking about why I hadn't translated an address and other silly things.

I did lose some clients when I changed my e-mail address. I was too busy to contact everyone and some of them dropped off the vine.

I don't start working with clients unless the terms are clear to begin with, and once we have a relationship I maintain it. I'm a firm believer in having a long roster of clients. It means that I don't get much time off, but that's a good thing, isn't it?


In my opinion, there is nothing worse than a nitpicky client. I trashed a couple of such even though they paid well. And I don't the least bit regret! The money they pay do not compensate the damage they inflict on the nervous system.

[Edited at 2015-08-20 13:33 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:23
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Actually "fire" or just become less available? Aug 20, 2015

Payment issues are the only ones that actually force me to break off all collaboration with a client - and tell them so, too. I can accept an occasional late payment; that goes with the job. But any client who continually needs to be reminded to pay will be fired. After all, they'd fire me if I continually delivered late, wouldn't they?

But I become somewhat less available for "high maintenance" and unfriendly clients, depending on how much work I actually have. Of course, if I'm going through a period of really not having enough work to generate a sensible income, I'll bite my tongue and accept their work.

If/when I decide to increase my rates (hasn't happened recently, due to inflation being so low), I raise them first for potential clients, and then for my least-favourite clients. If they refuse, we go our separate ways, but that's more their decision than mine really. I mean, if I stop going to a shop because their prices go up, I don't take it personally; I just decide to take my custom elsewhere. Anyway, sometimes my clients come back. As they're now paying more than my best clients, I'm happy to put up with a few inconveniences.


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Amanda Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:23
Member (2013)
French to English
+ ...
Deadlines! Aug 20, 2015

Ridiculous deadlines are my bugbear and combined with low rates, what's to like?!

Thinking of personal experience, I parted company with a client - although he was very happy with my work and I loved his rates - because he expected me to be available 24/7 and even at Christmas. I guess I could've put him in the 'demanding client' box. I didn't like it, it felt like being employed again and he thought he owned me...


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Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
I dropped once an agency Aug 20, 2015

They paid well and always punctually, I got a lot of work, but they were too chaotic! I never knew who I was to address because I got mails from many different persons. Before leaving for holidays but more often to look after my mother who had health problems, I regularly contacted the "wrong" person, so that others would continue to send me jobs and I would get angry phone calls why I didn't respond or send the translation ... It was a nightmare!
And it wasn't one of those awesome entities though, spread all over the world, they had only one office!
This has been a difficult decision for me, because I didn't have any problems on the economical side, on the contrary, but I couldn't really stand longer this situation.

However, as the saying goes, "one door closes and another one opens". Well, soon afterwards, I was approached by a new agency and still today, after many many years, we collaborate to our mutual satisfaction



[Bearbeitet am 2015-08-20 17:55 GMT]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 11:23
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
The relationships go stale Aug 20, 2015

Not sure how you categorise these, a combination of increasing hassle and shift from friendly, helpful PMs to a ghastly portal. Usually with rates that simply do not justify the irritation or the extra waste of time, and I have enough better clients to say enough is enough. Or they introduce their own online CAT tool...

One agency asked for Trados discounts on a job that was barely 100 words altogether... and they were fired instantly! Sad - they started as really nice people, and ended up as one of the big bad names that no self-respecting translator would go anywhere near. I was sorry I had stayed with them so long!

I have actually asked to be removed from the databases of a couple of agencies, and simply dropped others. I can think of six or seven at least.

It does not have to happen - I am still happily working for several clients who have made the transition to portals, but kept the personal contact, and streamlined, easy delivery of translations and invoices!

I prefer medium-sized agencies that do not attempt to cover the whole world and all subject areas. Specialists in my languages or subject areas, with efficient administration and low overheads, so they pay their translators well without overcharging clients.

Unfortunately some of these grow, or get bought up by giants, and lose the personal touch. The friendly, respectful PMs move on and are replaced by young people who think they know more than I do, question my native English and my non-Danish use of commas and the way I do NOT scatter colons all over the place... just because Trados questions the punctuation all the time.

I start by quoting my favourite gurus and grammar books, and when that is no longer fun and instructive for me, I hit them on the head with my exam certificates, and tales of revered linguists who have taught me this and that.

OK, I'm not perfect, but I try very hard. If agencies don't appreciate me, I go off in a huff and find someone who does!


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:23
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other actually = Several or any of these Aug 21, 2015

Although payment would be the reason most likely to separate clients and professionals, most of the reasons posted would be enough to give that client up. And I have actually "dumped" former clients for several of these reasons, so I couldn't choose a single one among them.

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