Poll: What percentage of work from your regular clients do you have to turn down?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 13:15
SITE STAFF
Mar 24, 2017

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What percentage of work from your regular clients do you have to turn down?".

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Mar 24, 2017

Usually it's zero. However, in the real world occasional blips do happen, and on rare occasions I may have to regretfully advise a regular client that I am unable to take on a job due to prior commitments, or the client's unreasonably demanding deadline, or some format incompatibility or other anomaly. So, to be realistic, I'd have to choose the slot just above zero, but it's not even 10% of the time.

 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:15
French to English
As little as possible Mar 24, 2017

I cherish regular clients. They pay the rent, fill the fridge and put clothes on my back.
Regular clients are regular as we appreciate working together as a team. They take priority. If they have a big job to be done, they know in advance and so I work round that. When a small urgent job comes up, I will do it straight away. If I am already working on an urgent job for another client and doing even a small job for the regular client, the job in hand has to be done to the agreed deadline. In such cases, the regular client can often wait anyway, or will have to go elsewhere. When that happens, I refer my regular client to a trusted colleague.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 21:15
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Mar 24, 2017

Like Niel, my rejection rate of work coming from my regular clients is close to zero, we almost always manage to find a compromise. For example, I have been quite busy lately and when two weeks ago I said to a very regular client that I wouldn’t be available, her answer was: we only need the translation by the 28th March. Usually the story will be quite different if I’m contacted by a potential or a new client…

 

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:15
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
No idea Mar 24, 2017

How do you define a "regular client"? I try not to turn down the really regular ones, but there are some that may consider themselves regular, and I do turn down their projects. If I define "regular" as direct clients plus a few very best agencies, close to zero, except when they want me to work in an online system - I hate that and will turn down even work for my preferred agency for that. I don't keep track of refused work, but I already considered the idea as interesting, except that I don't have time for that, and it's difficult to know the value of work you didn't do - estimating it would require additional time.

 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:15
Member (2006)
German to English
Other Mar 24, 2017

Why on earth would you "turn down" work from your regular customers? So that you can take work from irregular customers? And I have no idea who would turn down 99% of the work from regular customers, as they probably not regulat customers in the first place...

 

ventnai  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:15
Member
German to English
+ ...
Priority Mar 24, 2017

I obviously give regular clients priority. There are times when they want things tomorrow, but I am usually booked for at least three days in advance. Whenever I would be unable to meet deadline, I offer another time and/or date. Very often clients will accept but the job may go to another supplier if I can't. It would be irresponsible to take on too much work

 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Less than before Mar 24, 2017

Michael Harris wrote:

Why on earth would you "turn down" work from your regular customers? So that you can take work from irregular customers?


Because they offer you more work than you have time to do.

Which makes it time to put your prices up.

15 years ago we found ourselves turning down a lot more work than we accepted. We had become the go-to English translators for a number of large Scandi agencies, and even with three of us here and a handful of freelancers helping us out, we could only handle a fraction of what we were offered. So I kept putting our prices up until things balanced out again.

These days I work alone, mainly for a select few direct customers or end-customers, much of my work is regular and scheduled in advance, my prices are high, and I turn down very little.

I suspect those answering 99% are referring to the endless stream of automated requests with which they are bombarded by some of the less discerning agencies out there.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 22:15
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
No idea in per cent, but it varies a lot Mar 24, 2017

I do turn down work from regular clients, most often because I simply do not have time within the deadlines.

One Norwegian client especially sends jobs that I may or may not be able to manage, and I turn them down if they are too technical or I don't know enough about the background. Norwegian is not the same as Danish, but she lets me decide whether I can do the job anyway. She is always back with another offer after a week or two!

Most of my clients are medium to small agencies, and they don't expect me to take on everything they enquire about. They know I will say 'beyond my scope' to some jobs, but they let me be the judge of which.

I define regular clients generally as clients I work for several times a year. One very good client has a big job once a year, which I reserve time for, and practically nothing in between, but I count her among the regulars.


 

Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:15
Member (2008)
English to Italian
0% Mar 24, 2017

Because if I need I just ask to extend the deadline of the job offered or the deadlines of those already assigned and we usually find and agreement

 

Catherine De Crignis  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:15
Member (2012)
English to French
+ ...
11-25% Mar 24, 2017

I'd say probably about 15%.
Of course on the one hand I try to turn down as little work as poss. from my main clients, but on the other hand I make a point of keeping smaller (but good) clients happy by being mostly available + I also try and make room for interesting new clients whenever I can. Just in case.
Heard the story about the translator who had two clients and lost them both? No thanks!


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:15
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
1-10% Mar 24, 2017

Why? Because I have more than one treasured regular client. Just yesterday I turned down a job from my oldest and most faithful client because I was already overbooked with work for two other old and faithful clients. I was already stressed and burned out, and they couldn't wait for me to finish

 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:15
English to Portuguese
+ ...
My regular clients ASK about my availability first Mar 24, 2017

They know that I never deliver late, so they don't "pad" deadlines with a safety factor. They ask me - as soon as they know - if I am/will be available, show/describe the job as accurately as possible, and I'll be ready for it. Of course, they'll keep me advised on any changes in plans.

Now and then they ASK me if I can fit a tight deadline. If I can't, I won't be turning down anything; they'll merely assign the job to someone else.


 

Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:15
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
very little Mar 25, 2017

There are some regulars that I prioritize regardless. One is a client who only has one regular english proofer, ME. There are a couple of others who send me regular jobs and I occasionally will decline if I'm already booked or if the deadline is impossible due to time zone differences.

 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:15
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A few, regularly Mar 25, 2017

Never thought of a percentage, though, nor shall I extend myself in the reply as I think this type of question allows show-off or egocentric answers, and should thus be avoided here.

[Edited at 2017-03-25 21:05 GMT]


 


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