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Poll: How much of your business comes from your major client?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Mar 5, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How much of your business comes from your major client?".

This poll was originally submitted by Vladimir Pochinov

View the poll here

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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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:55
Italian to English
+ ...
31-50% Mar 5, 2008

I actually have two major clients, between them accounting for 60% of my income last year. Both of them consistently offer me more than I can accept, so even if I were to lose one of them (which I think is fairly unlikely) I should be able to recover fairly quickly. Of course, if I were to lose them both, things would be quite tricky for a while.

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Hilde Granlund  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 09:55
English to Norwegian
+ ...
varies Mar 5, 2008

I have several big clients - that is, clients who regularly send me big jobs. The biggest problem is, they usually send me huge jobs the day after I already took on a big job for one of the others...
No wonder my weekends are down the drain...


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:55
English to Arabic
+ ...
If it's 10% is it still your "major client"?? Mar 5, 2008

Unless you have dozens of other clients, all of whom only send you jobs occasionally...

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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other extreme from Nesrin Mar 5, 2008

Well, well, well, a question dear to my heart. I’d estimate that about 70 to 90% (depending on the month) of my income comes from my main client. In my case, my major client isn’t a translation agency but rather a private firm. I started working for them as a self-employed individual, 7 years ago, for what was supposed to be a 3-month part time project. One thing led to another, as they say, and the job has turned into a happy, long-term relationship for both me and the client.

I’m not sure if as a translator my situation is unique or not. I don’t consider myself an in-house translator because I’m legally self-employed (I consider myself a freelancer). That means I can have other clients if I want to, or I can go to the same company 5 days a week to work. I recently discovered that it’s really quite common in Spain for self-employed people to depend on one client for the majority of their income (75% of self-employed individuals here depend on one company for at least 75% of their income. It’s called autónomo dependiente.)

Someone might ask, “What will you do if the company no longer requires your services? You’ll lose most of your income!” That’s absolutely true, and a perfectly valid question. I’d only advise someone to allow themselves to get into a situation like mine if they have a Plan B/ace up their sleeve. What I mean is something to fall back on. Unfortunately, like most others, I don’t have a Swiss bank account
I’m talking about having something readily available to take up the slack in income (in my case it would be returning to teaching).


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:55
English to Arabic
+ ...
I was just questioning the poll option Mar 5, 2008

John Cutler wrote:
Other extreme from Nesrin


Hi John - I wasn't actually talking about myself - I was wondering how people can still call their client their "major client" if 10% or less of their jobs come from them. It seems almost impossible I think, unless you have 50 regular clients, only one of whom sends you 8% of the work.
I personally have 5-6 regular clients, none of them really major.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:55
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I've found... Mar 5, 2008

The clientele varies from one year to another, but there's always one or two in a position of around 25%. They may not always be the same guys, though.

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patyjs  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 02:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
I really don't have one major client... Mar 5, 2008

more like 4 or 5 who send me work regularly enough that I often have to turn someone down. There are others who appear out of the blue with great jobs (by great I mean interesting, not too technical, well paid, and with a short payment period), but aren't very frequent. Interestingly, great jobs hardly ever come from my "major" clients.

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Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 09:55
Member (2002)
English to Russian
Major client providing less than 10% of workload Mar 5, 2008

Nesrin wrote:

I was wondering how people can still call their client their "major client" if 10% or less of their jobs come from them. It seems almost impossible I think, unless you have 50 regular clients, only one of whom sends you 8% of the work.


Perhaps, I should have indicated "less than 20%" as the lower limit. On the other hand, I don't think that having a major client accounting for less than 10% of your business is an unlikely situation.

Personally, I have about 30 more or less regular clients. One of them is responsible for about 40% of my business. The second biggest client is responsible for another 20%. It means that the remaining clients account for 40% of my business between them. None of the clients in this group provides more than 10% of work. It means that in the absence of my two biggest clients I would be likely to choose the "less than 10%" option replying to this poll.

[Edited at 2008-03-05 15:25]


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:55
French to English
+ ...
Other Mar 5, 2008

I replied other - because without sitting and working it all out, there's no way I can answer this question according to specific percentages! That's not the way I've structured my account system....

Plus it varies from year to year anyway - depends who get in first with the big jobs....

[Edited at 2008-03-05 15:44]


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Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 02:55
German to English
Multiple regular clients - but hardly any "great" projects! Mar 5, 2008

patyjs wrote:

more like 4 or 5 who send me work regularly enough that I often have to turn someone down. There are others who appear out of the blue with great jobs (by great I mean interesting, not too technical, well paid, and with a short payment period), but aren't very frequent. Interestingly, great jobs hardly ever come from my "major" clients.



I'm in exactly the same situation most of the time! Now all we need to do is figure out how to get those "great jobs" to become "regular jobs"!


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Daniela Koleva  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:55
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
What is a client.... Mar 5, 2008

Well, I answered "other" because I work exclusively for one agency - if this is considered as the client... Otherwise I have four major clients - manufacturing companies (I do mostly technical translations), which give me about 80% of the translations I do. That's why I can't give a precise answer....

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Dilek Yigit  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 10:55
Member (2006)
Turkish to English
+ ...
two or three major clients Mar 5, 2008

I never thought I have three major clients until I found it out while analyzing previous year's workflow at the end of December '07.
Although I am aware that the number of my major clients might change anytime, it appears that 70% of the previous year's jobs were from these two/three clients sending regular and somewhat "great" jobs.
So I feel like I have to accept all the jobs they send, and this is why I consider all three as my major clients.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 08:55
Dutch to English
+ ...
Inner circle Mar 5, 2008

I have an "inner circle" of five major clients, which account in varying but similar proportions for around 85-90% of my total monthly income. I work hard at arranging things so that one doesn't take up too much of my capacity to the detriment of others.

I then have another five/six clients, which I work for quite regularly - although from these I turn down a lot more work - and keep active in case something happens. They make up the remainder and all pay 30 days or better, like the inner circle, which is non-negotiable as far as I'm concerned.

Once in a while, I'll try a new client if they approach me on attractive terms, but don't actively look for work myself these days.

I also keep a list of what look like promising leads to use if things change but, touch wood, I'm always booked in advance and haven't had a chance to use it so far.

It's a business model that has worked for me. I feel my risk is reasonably well-spread, my eggs aren't all in one basket, and if one of my clients should have a wobble, I have a backup system in place.

[Edited at 2008-03-05 17:44]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:55
English to French
+ ...
I don't have a major client Mar 5, 2008

I have not one but several major clients. Besides, the concept of major client is yet to be precisely defined.

I consider I have three major clients - together, they supply me with about half of my workload. The other 50% are regular clients who either only have very small assignments for me or send me only one medium or large project per year or so. All of my clients are regulars - if I have a new client, I make sure they become regulars as well (unless they turn out to be a bad experience) and they usually do. It's nice to know that one is at the top of a client's list and that whenever work becomes available, I am the first person they contact for it. That is what I consider a major client - one who considers me as an important component of what they do. You know who you are!

[Edited at 2008-03-05 20:12]


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