Poll: When business is slow, would you accept a job that pays less than what you normally charge?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 12:23
SITE STAFF
May 13, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When business is slow, would you accept a job that pays less than what you normally charge?".

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A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 14:23
English to Russian
+ ...
At least not any more May 13, 2006

If you have an established clientelle, you can bet your last nickel that five minutes after you crack up one of your regular clients would suddenly come out of a lethargic sleep and present you with a handsome offer at your regular rate and with a tight deadline:-) Instead of pulling my hair out or breaching a cheaper agreement (bad, very bad...) I'd rather use a break.

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Dan Marasescu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 21:23
Member (2003)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Time is a gift May 13, 2006

I would consider it as a gift and I would use the time to learn something new, to market my services or simply to go on a vacation.

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Daniel Martin  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:23
English to Spanish
Agree with IreneN May 13, 2006



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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 16:23
English to Spanish
+ ...
Positive thinking May 13, 2006

Dan Marasescu wrote:

I would consider it as a gift and I would use the time to learn something new, to market my services or simply to go on a vacation.




My answer: No, I keep my rates.

Au


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
No but May 13, 2006

Certainly not. I also don't accept jobs I can't do, even if I have no work. Like accepting lower rates, it's self-defeating.
But: if a trusted, long-standing client (ie agency) explains that they had to lower THEIR rates to nail the job and asks me to do the same, then I may consider lowering slightly (not 10%), if times are really tough. Otherwise, no way.


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Ali Beikian  Identity Verified
Iran
Local time: 22:53
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
I keep my rates ... May 13, 2006

I keep my rates unless I am offered a long-term project.

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Christopher Burin  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:23
French to English
+ ...
Agreed May 13, 2006

I agree with Irene and writeaway. I would be prepared to lower my rates as a one-off for an established client, but there's simply no point taking on a badly-paid job; I'm speaking from experience (unfortunately!) because I did it once in the past and then 3 regular clients got in touch the next day and I had to turn down the jobs, so never again!

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Heidi C  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:23
English to Spanish
+ ...
What happens when you do lower your rates... May 13, 2006

I have done it: lower my rates.

But I do the work resentfully, don't enjoy it, it takes me longer, it makes me angry to think that I am earning less, I am constantly adding up how much I would be paid and compare it to what I will be paid, and I think that (subconsciously) I really don't do my best ...

And, of course, two hours after I accepted the stupid job, I get an offer at my usual (or even a higher) rate!!!

Murphy's law...

Heidi


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xxxdf49f
France
Local time: 21:23
absolutely never! May 13, 2006

Never! for all the good reasons given by others.
And more specifically because slow times (if ever I'm lucky to have any!) give me time to do everything else I never have time to do otherwise! including doing nothing for a change!
Plus it's an extremely self-defeating business strategy, not just for each one of us personally but also for the entire profession (basic assumption is of course that we're talking about "good and competent" translators).
df


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Ashar  Identity Verified
Pakistan
Local time: 00:23
English to Urdu
+ ...
Depends on client May 13, 2006

I have had to work on low rates occasionally. But it depends on the clients whom I am working with. Sometimes, some regular clients ask to work on low rates because they are dealing with a project of some charity and non-governmental organisations that traditionally pay less. I don't mind working on less rates for these type of projects as I have also been providing a free of charge service to many NGOs.

But apart from that rates have to be reduced when the project is large and the client is regular. However, it depends how much a discount can be offered. For example, some days back I was offered a large project i.e. 50,000 words and ongoing, and I was supposed to work on a 50% less rate than my usual charges are. In that case, I simply refused because it was unthinkable for me to work on such a low rate.

But I understand sometime people make compromises in case of slow business.

Cheers,
Ashar


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 21:23
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
would you accept +10%, +20% .... May 13, 2006

I know the answer - any time!. Even if it means losing the established clientele. So the question is more like new vs old and under what conditions?

As it says in Beggar's Opera:

"Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral"

I mean, we all started with zilch clients, have we not...

smo


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 21:23
English to German
+ ...
Vito said it right...:-) May 13, 2006

Vito Smolej wrote:

I know the answer - any time!. Even if it means losing the established clientele. So the question is more like new vs old and under what conditions?

As it says in Beggar's Opera:

"Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral"

I mean, we all started with zilch clients, have we not...

smo
if there is nothing to take, why would you ( any of or all of you would) go, with a lower rate. This is my season and being a professional, I have an obligation towards meself. Fishcer´s stuff...yo oy yoi Brandis


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 12:23
English to French
+ ...
Time as a commodity May 13, 2006

If I spend less time on translation per se, that means more time to do something else: upgrade my computer, catch up on paperwork, try to find new clients, or take a breather.

Lowering my rates? No way! Clients have a knack for remembering how low you're willing to go. Actually, I tend to raise my rates after such breaks because I use them to find better clients, improve the way I work, so forth. We're not Walmart, people, no sales!


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 15:23
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Speaking for the rest of us.... May 14, 2006

A lot of us answered that we *would* accept jobs at lower rates, so I'll brave the scorn of my colleagues and put a face (well, a name anyway) to one of those votes.

Right now I have just accepted a job that is 20% lower than my usual rates. However: it is for "a friend of a friend," and my friend has unselfishly helped me many times. It is an easy text, not super-rush, and I am interested in the topic. And the (new) client apologized for the fixed budget and promised to urge the powers that be to offer better rates in the future. He is in a position to send more work my way. So, since I had just finished my last pending job, I made what seems to me to be a good business decision. Since the text is easy, I will still be well recompensed for the time invested.

Also, in a previous poll, many of us said that we do pro bono translating/interpreting and/or volunteer community service. In this particular case, the text is meritorious; health info that needs to be published and contributes to research on a public health issue. So doing it at a lower rate is also a personal contribution to making this a better world.

Of course, the conditions I'm listing don't usually apply. But having just accepted this job, I had to mark "Yes, up to 20%."


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