Poll: Would you rather get more clients, or make more money from existing clients?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 18:32
Jul 7, 2017

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Would you rather get more clients, or make more money from existing clients?".

View the poll results »


Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:32
Member (2006)
German to English
Neither Jul 7, 2017

Maybe some of us are happy how things are?


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
Me neither Jul 7, 2017

I currently have enough clients, and they pay me enough - although some more promptly than others!

However, I would like to find some new clients for my Spanish colleague, who mainly translates into her own native tongue, but is perfectly capable of translating into English as well in collaboration with myself and her other half, who is a native EFL teacher.

PS: Good news! After a drought of a few weeks, she's suddenly got 2 translation jobs this weekend! Both into Spanish, one from a client of mine and one from an agency. The joys of freelancing, eh?

[Edited at 2017-07-08 07:59 GMT]


Teresa Borges
Local time: 02:32
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Jul 7, 2017

Picking jut one of the above seems pretty difficult. That’s kind of a “Sophie’s Choice” for me. Can’t we have it all? As Muriel said not long ago “You can never have too many clients!”

In an ideal world, I would like:

1. To retain my client base.
2. To add a few new regular clients
3. To get a more steady workflow
4. To start charging a higher rate


Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:32
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good question Jul 7, 2017

It's hard to answer because I'm basically pretty satisfied. My best and most faithful clients keep me busy and pay me well; the new ones would have to match them if I were to do a lot of work from them.

On the other hand, I think I'd feel more secure if I had a couple more strong regular clients because I've gone through the trauma of losing some due to retirements, job changes, policy and program changes, etc.


English to Russian
+ ...
workload/payment optimum Jul 7, 2017

However, if it's about more money from the same clients meaning from the same workload--count me in)


Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:32
Member (2008)
English to Italian
Neither, but Jul 7, 2017

I am happy with what I have, a reasonable number of clients who ensure a constant workflow.
If I had to choose I would keep the clients I have (quality and number are definitely good) with a higher rate.


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:32
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Neither = Both (missing option) Jul 7, 2017

I'd rather have more clients like my best clients. It's relatively easy to get rid of the bad ones.

Of course, I'd like to make more money from my existing clients, but the demand I get from them is limited to theirs. I can't make any of their end-clients need or feel an urge to have more things translated.

I've had, for a long time, a small number of clients where I am the first-choice translator for my language pair, AND they pay my stated rates within two weeks at most. They are extremely demanding on quality, get royal service from me, and consequently deliver royal service to their end-clients. Making myself available for them whenever they need, usually once a week, is my problem.

And no, my rates are not outrageously high. If stripped from financial costs (viz. PayPal fees, hefty Brazilian interest rates on extended payment terms), they match the Proz Community Rates, as well as the rates adopted by local colleagues I know, and whose work I would (and sometimes do) recommend.

Yet these clients seem unable to significantly grow their client base, as not so many end-clients seem to be interested in the high quality service they consistently deliver.

Now and then a client in that class has an assignment for me, however their demand for my language pair and specialty areas is merely occasional, like once every couple of years or so.

I've been scouting the web for years, searching for clients like these, as the concept is not farfetched, but they are extremely hard to find. Most translation agencies actively offer a similar level of service (some just offer low rates, nothing else), but I'd bet few of them actually deliver on their promise.

Anyway, I'll keep looking for them! If my preferred clients were the only ones doing this, they'd be much more famous for it than they actually are. There must be others like this hidden somewhere.


Eckhard Boehle  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:32
English to German
+ ...
Neither Jul 7, 2017

Just like Gianluca, I am happy with what I have, a reasonable number of clients who ensure a constant workflow. Others I have sorted out and they get always rejections from me when they ask again.
And, of course, I picked the ones who pay reasonable rates and who pay regularly and soon.


Denise DeVries  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
Why not both? Jul 7, 2017

If my current clients are prospering enough to pay me more, that is good for both of us. However, it's also nice to have new clients.


Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:32
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Other Jul 7, 2017

I am quite happy with the current situation.

Maybe I could wish that regular clients would raise the rates just one cent per word. icon_smile.gif

And I am well aware that unforeseen things can happen, such as last year when my best client was sold, and the rules of new owners are quite disagreeable.

So, I am still open to new clients.


Catherine De Crignis  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:32
English to French
+ ...
Nothing wrong with both in theory but Jul 7, 2017

this option was of course missing (why does it seem like any odd poll get posted without any form of monitoring?).

So I put neither. More clients for me would mean turning down more work, but this is not necessarily an issue. More money from existing clients is something I make sure I obtain as regularly as possible...


Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:32
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No option for a balance of both things Jul 7, 2017

Experience tells that making more money with a client is a good sign; it's a sign that your work has been approved and appreciated, among other things. It's a sign that the client may be growing and getting more jobs, as well as considering you as a preferential translator.
However, this is not enough for a professional translator. We all know clients disappear every now and then. I've worked for 80 clients in the past five years, and only four of them remained regular clients during this period with a decent volume of work per month. Several very good clients disappeared all of a sudden.
Adding more clients to our portfolio regularly is essential, and just as important as increasing the volume per client.
So the best answer for this poll, IMO, was not there: a well balanced blend of both things.

[Edited at 2017-07-07 20:43 GMT]


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Poll: Would you rather get more clients, or make more money from existing clients?

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