Best practice for dealing with regular agents who have started to always request rush projects?
Thread poster: Tola Sann

Tola Sann  Identity Verified
Cambodia
Local time: 11:05
English to Khmer (Central)
Sep 19

One or two of my regular agents become so demanding that it comes to a point where 80-90% of their projects are rush projects! Is this experienced by other translators too? How do you deal with them? The work-life balance went down so badly during my time trying to keep up with these demands. Unless I do nothing else during the day except for sitting there waiting to translate 24/7, it seems like a bad business! Any advice or shared experience?

Elena Feriani
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:05
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
How dependent are you? Sep 19

Sannla wrote:
Unless I do nothing else during the day except for sitting there waiting to translate 24/7, it seems like a bad business!

Effectively this agency is trying to acquire all the benefits of using a full-time employee (you), while avoiding the associated costs. This is (for want of a better term) predatory behaviour, but it happens only because you are allowing it to happen.

If this agency is your only source of income then you don't have much choice. If it is one of several clients, tell them firmly and politely that you will be rejecting such jobs in future, or levying a fee for rush jobs. Or raise your base rate. They might stop offering you projects, of course, which is why you need multiple clients (or another job).

Regards,
Dan


Teresa Borges
Kevin Fulton
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
Novian Cahyadi
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:05
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You have some choices Sep 19

1. You can introduce a rush fee. The risk is they'll drop you, but maybe not.
2. You can raise your rate across the board. The risk is they'll drop you altogether.
3. You can start being unavailable for some rush jobs. After all, you're a successful translator with other clients. Offering a later deadline may also be accepted.
4. You can fire clients who abuse your goodwill. The short term risk to your income may well be offset by using the time to find far better clients.
... See more
1. You can introduce a rush fee. The risk is they'll drop you, but maybe not.
2. You can raise your rate across the board. The risk is they'll drop you altogether.
3. You can start being unavailable for some rush jobs. After all, you're a successful translator with other clients. Offering a later deadline may also be accepted.
4. You can fire clients who abuse your goodwill. The short term risk to your income may well be offset by using the time to find far better clients.
5. You can accept everything they send, at today's rate. The very real risk is to your mental and physical health and to your family/social life.

Personally, I'd recommend a mix of (1) and (3). I have various surcharges. I'm often generous in my use of them, e.g. charging a good client an extra 25% when it qualifies for 50%, or waiving the surcharge. But it's there for when rush becomes normal.

Keep (2) and (4) in the background as real possibilities -- you absolutely need to avoid (5).
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Teresa Borges
Anton Konashenok
Christel Zipfel
Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Niina Lahokoski
Tina Vonhof
Jean Dimitriadis
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 05:05
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Sannla Sep 19

I never accept rush jobs from new clients and even from my regulars rush jobs are not frequent at all, but I do work on very regular (two or three times each week) small assignments (less than 100 words) for two of my long-standing customers (food and drink labels) and we have agreed from the start on a special fixed-charge for these (whatever the length).

 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 06:05
Russian to English
+ ...
Talk to them Sep 19

A tactical addition to Sheila's excellent answer: be diplomatic about it and explain to the project managers that you have other work engagements and personal life, and if they need you to drop everything and do the project right away, they ought to compensate you for the inconvenience. Personally, I do not say "It will cost you X% extra" anymore, but rather "This kind of urgency commands a premium - please make me a reasonable offer". It produces a clearly better outcome - in most cases, the PM... See more
A tactical addition to Sheila's excellent answer: be diplomatic about it and explain to the project managers that you have other work engagements and personal life, and if they need you to drop everything and do the project right away, they ought to compensate you for the inconvenience. Personally, I do not say "It will cost you X% extra" anymore, but rather "This kind of urgency commands a premium - please make me a reasonable offer". It produces a clearly better outcome - in most cases, the PM answers something like "Oh, we actually don't need it in 3 hours, I can extend it until tomorrow noon if you guarantee not to be late".Collapse


Stephanie Busch
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
Tola Sann
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 12:05
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Don't do it? Sep 19

I'll take a rush project if I happen to be in front of my computer, there's nothing else that I really need to do right now, the temperature and humidity are just right, and the moon and the planets are aligned correctly. If I can't do it, I can't do it and you can either find someone else or let me deliver next Monday.

There is never a need to explain why you can't do something. If you don't want to do the job because the wind is not blowing in the right direction today, that's per
... See more
I'll take a rush project if I happen to be in front of my computer, there's nothing else that I really need to do right now, the temperature and humidity are just right, and the moon and the planets are aligned correctly. If I can't do it, I can't do it and you can either find someone else or let me deliver next Monday.

There is never a need to explain why you can't do something. If you don't want to do the job because the wind is not blowing in the right direction today, that's perfectly fine and it's none of their business. I don't ever flat-out refuse someone unless I'm not qualified for the job or they have a poor reputation, but they do have to meet me at my price and my availability.
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Tina Vonhof
Sheila Wilson
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
Aliseo Japan
Tola Sann
Philip Lees
Vera Schoen
 

Tola Sann  Identity Verified
Cambodia
Local time: 11:05
English to Khmer (Central)
TOPIC STARTER
Lots of Helpful Advice Here Sep 20

A lot of wonderful advice here. Thanks everyone for sharing!

 


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