https://hun.proz.com/forum/covid_19_outbreak/347771-agencies_asking_to_lower_agreed_rates_during_the_pandemic-page2.html

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Agencies asking to lower agreed rates during the pandemic
Téma indítója: Renvi Ulrich

Mair A-W (PhD)
Németország
Local time: 08:13
Tag (2016 óta)
német - angol
+ ...
Counter Nov 14, 2020

Renvi Ulrich wrote:

Dear all,

I have received messages from two of my regular clients informing me that because of the financial challenges they have been facing, they will temporarily reduce our agreed rates by 15% until they withstand the crisis.

[Edited at 2020-11-14 07:23 GMT]


I have not received any such messages so far, but I might be inclined to counter that because of the financial challenges *I* have been facing due to the pandemic, I will be temporarily increasing my agreed rate by 15% in order to withstand the crisis...


Thomas T. Frost
expressisverbis
Zibow Retailleau
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hongkong
Local time: 15:13
ProZ.com-tag
kínai - angol
+ ...
Not true Nov 14, 2020

Jean Dimitriadis wrote:

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:

Toilet paper costs about 3x as much as usual.



is on a roll, that's why.

And… if people knew about bum guns, they'd just go paperless and that 3x raise would soon go down the drain.

[Edited at 2020-11-14 06:11 GMT]

Japan had a toilet paper shortage earlier in the year as well.


Jean Dimitriadis
Becca Resnik
 

Bruno Pavesi  Identity Verified
Brazília
Local time: 04:13
Tag (2020 óta)
portugál - angol
+ ...
I'd say it depends Nov 14, 2020

It's kind of tricky, this happened to a fellow translator I know here in Brazil and the result has been him having to double his workload just to get the same results as before. Of course, perhaps his decrease was higher - not to mention some of the agencies he works with have been less than honest with him.

Personally, if this were an agency I was used to working with, and if the decrease didn't impact me critically, I would be open to a discussion. Maybe have them consider shorte
... See more
It's kind of tricky, this happened to a fellow translator I know here in Brazil and the result has been him having to double his workload just to get the same results as before. Of course, perhaps his decrease was higher - not to mention some of the agencies he works with have been less than honest with him.

Personally, if this were an agency I was used to working with, and if the decrease didn't impact me critically, I would be open to a discussion. Maybe have them consider shorter payment windows for you? I guess in the end it's up to you, if you consider these agencies as honest and reliable, then they deserve a chance.
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Renvi Ulrich
 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
ProZ.com-tag
angol - francia
+ ...
@Lincoln Nov 14, 2020

Lincoln Hui wrote:

Jean Dimitriadis wrote:

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:

Toilet paper costs about 3x as much as usual.



is on a roll, that's why.

And… if people knew about bum guns, they'd just go paperless and that 3x raise would soon go down the drain.


Japan had a toilet paper shortage earlier in the year as well.


Thanks for the insight, Lincoln. I imagined others would react like I did. Flawed judgment at (its) best.

After a while, I guess people tend to forget they have the best thing since sliced bread and just give in to the delicate comfort only toilet paper can (?) bring.

Well, we all should think twice before printing this email, but in that WC, anything goes, really. Clog, clog, clog! We're at war, after all…

PS: Apologies for the OT…


Chris S
Mervyn Henderson
 

Renvi Ulrich
Kamerun
Local time: 08:13
Tag (2018 óta)
angol - francia
TÉMAINDÍTÓ
SITE LOCALIZER
Funny Nov 14, 2020

Mair A-W (PhD) wrote:

Renvi Ulrich wrote:

Dear all,

I have received messages from two of my regular clients informing me that because of the financial challenges they have been facing, they will temporarily reduce our agreed rates by 15% until they withstand the crisis.

[Edited at 2020-11-14 07:23 GMT]


I have not received any such messages so far, but I might be inclined to counter that because of the financial challenges *I* have been facing due to the pandemic, I will be temporarily increasing my agreed rate by 15% in order to withstand the crisis...


The best defense is attack, as they say...


 

Arjan van den Berg  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:13
Tag (2010 óta)
angol - holland
+ ...
2020 is the new 2008 Nov 15, 2020

Companies sent similar requests during the economic crises that started in 2008. However, I never received an email in say 2014 stating that 'as the economy is booming again, we want to ask our translators to raise their prices'.

But of course, we are all really very brave behind our keyboards. Things change when you really start to see that they give you less and less work and you still have to pay your bills. If you're really worried I think Sheila's advise is very sound.


Chris S
expressisverbis
Marina Taffetani
Zibow Retailleau
Peter Shortall
Maria Pia Giuseppina Nuzzolese
Mervyn Henderson
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Hollandia
Local time: 08:13
Tag (2006 óta)
angol - afrikaans
+ ...
@Chris Nov 15, 2020

Chris S wrote:
1. Global GDP has only fallen 4-5% this year and is expected to bounce back next year.


Firstly, GDP relates to an average across all sectors, and may not be representative of any particular industry.

Secondly, sources differ on the actual numbers, and it also depends on what you compare with what. For example, this site (which mentions its sources) shows that the EU as a whole suffered a 14% drop in GDP in Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019. The figure for NAFTA is 10.5% and the figure for the UK is 21%. I'm not sure where your "4-5% this year" figure comes from.

Thirdly, I think few people expected the second wave, or expected it to be so big, so while businesses may have survived the first wave by eating into their savings and may have bounced back a bit during the lull between the waves, the second wave is going to put immense pressure on businesses due to them having exhausted their reserves.

Also, many businesses invested money in anti-corona measures on the assumption that they'd be able to recoup that investment during the post-wave period, on the assumption that there would not be a second wave (or not such a big one).

2. There are generous government grants and loans if they really have lost that much business; and if they’re still struggling after that, you really want to steer clear.


These grants are stop-gap measures to help prevent businesses from going under completely, and are not intended to supplement businesses' loss of income entirely. Even with these grants, businesses lost money, and are expected to trim down expenses in order to survive.

And for this reason it is not really logical to suggest that there is any greater risk in working for a business that is unable to maintain its previous level of spending, regardless of whether they qualified for a grant or not. In fact, one could equally surmise that businesses that take active steps to reduce costs are businesses that must have contemplated their own long-term survival, and are thus less of a risk than businesses that simply eat up their grants in the hope that there would be further grants.

3. I’d be willing to bet that the agencies asking for discounts are the ones that treat translators badly normally.


I suspect you would lose that bet. Indeed, the original poster waxes lyrical about the two agencies that prompted his post here.

And why should I suffer so they can continue to prosper?


Odd way of using "prosper" there, to mean "not going bankrupt". And you do not suffer. If you accept an assignment at 0.09 per word instead of 0.12 per word, it means that you believe that the offered rate is fair, and so... no, you do not suffer unless these clients are your only clients. You have a mix of clients that pay a mix of rates, and now your mix gets adjusted downwards a bit, but you do not suffer.

[Edited at 2020-11-15 11:45 GMT]


Edward Potter
123Translations
 

Sadek_A  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:13
angol - arab
+ ...
..... Nov 15, 2020

One thing the freelancer, any freelancer, must remember:
If (a) company's owner(s) fall(s) sick, they can still count on freelancers for income; if a freelancer falls sick, goodbye income.
So, a time like the one we are in, it's the company's owner(s) responsibility to do with less profit than it's the freelancer's with less fee.


Marina Taffetani
Chris S
Mervyn Henderson
Renvi Ulrich
Becca Resnik
 

Marina Taffetani  Identity Verified
Olaszország
Local time: 08:13
Tag (2013 óta)
német - olasz
+ ...
Keyboards & bills Nov 15, 2020

Arjan van den Berg wrote:

But of course, we are all really very brave behind our keyboards. Things change when you really start to see that they give you less and less work and you still have to pay your bills.


Absolutely. In a perfect world, I wouldn't lower my rates just because an agency I work for tells me they're struggling. Unless, maybe, they're a very good client and I trust them implicitly. BUT, this is by no means a perfect world and I do have to pay bills.

So when one of the agencies I work for "asked" (or rather, demanded) for a 10% discount, I couldn't say no. My workload has plummeted and there was no way I could lose one of my main clients. Needless to say, I'm furious, because it's a big agency and it's hard for me to believe they're really struggling, AND they're one of those that treated translators badly normally, as Chris suggests. Their rates were already low, now they border on insulting, so yes I do suffer, despite what some may think. But I see no alternatives at the moment.


Chris S
 

Sadek_A  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:13
angol - arab
+ ...
..... Nov 15, 2020

Marina Taffetani wrote:
Their rates were already low, now they border on insulting, so yes I do suffer, despite what some may think. But I see no alternatives at the moment.


The alternative is that we ALL 1) stop giving in to abuse by clients (companies or individuals), 2) remember we are already not covered by any benefits at all, 3) always remain mindful of our life emergencies and mishaps.

I look around and see nothing whose price went down. Everything is priced up, and continues as such. I was going to buy a new cellphone, nothing fancy - a low-profile Chinese brand, now I see the phone's price went up by 600 pounds in just a little over 3 months. I'd lower my rates when my life expenses are lowered too, but not before!


Peter Shortall
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
Egyesült Királyság
svéd - angol
+ ...
@Samuel Nov 16, 2020

I suspect we're not going to reach any common ground, Samuel, but I don't think it unreasonable to take a long hard look at the motives and integrity of any agency making such a "request".

Despite the current unprecedented unparalleled beyond-extreme catastrophic economic crisis, global economic activity this year has only shrunk by 4-5% (IMF). While we can argue the small print until the cows come home, that's the best proxy we have for demand for translation services.

... See more
I suspect we're not going to reach any common ground, Samuel, but I don't think it unreasonable to take a long hard look at the motives and integrity of any agency making such a "request".

Despite the current unprecedented unparalleled beyond-extreme catastrophic economic crisis, global economic activity this year has only shrunk by 4-5% (IMF). While we can argue the small print until the cows come home, that's the best proxy we have for demand for translation services.

The very nature of the agency model means that an agency can take a much larger hit to its revenue than an ordinary company: it only has to pay freelancers when it has work for them.

So all the agency needs to do is cover its minuscule overheads.

It shouldn't be squeezing freelancers for the running costs for the owner's yacht.
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Thomas T. Frost
Sadek_A
Peter Shortall
Dan Lucas
Jan Truper
Mervyn Henderson
Arjan van den Berg
 

mona elshazly  Identity Verified
Egyiptom
Local time: 09:13
Tag (2016 óta)
olasz - arab
+ ...
Think out of the box Nov 16, 2020

I have read the majority of the answers; why don't you think out of the box a little bit; I propose that you accept and in the meantime try to market for yourself and search for new agencies that pay higher. You can work for your old clients whenever you are free.

[Edited at 2020-11-16 09:46 GMT]


Chris S
Renvi Ulrich
Anna Massera
 

Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spanyolország
Local time: 08:13
Tag (2003 óta)
spanyol - angol
+ ...
The price is the price Nov 16, 2020

When you do work, the price you accept is the price they accept. Obviously if you don't like them demanding a reduction in your fees, you tell them it is unacceptable. You either continue collaborating or you don't. Both sides have to agree for there to be a deal.

I find this to be pretty simple.


Diana Obermeyer
 

Sadek_A  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:13
angol - arab
+ ...
From a strictly business standpoint! Nov 16, 2020

mona elshazly wrote:
You can work for your old clients whenever you are free.


1- It's never a free-time if dedicated for anything other than relaxation and leisure. Even household chores kicks it out of the category. So, perhaps we are talking here about (down-time), as in the time the new, well/high-paying client couldn't cover. Which leads us to the next point.

2- Why would the freelancer be making the effort to retain (by accepting bad/low rate) the old, bad/low-paying client when that same client didn't make the effort to retain the freelancer (by offering good/high rate)? In retaining that client, would there be a positive or a negative side? Which takes us to the last point.

3- When, for the same performance, the freelancer charges 2 different rates with a large gap, they run the risk of getting exposed in a somewhat interconnected industry where a number of negative scenarios can come into play:
- The well/high-paying client stops sending work because they feel they're being cheated rate-wise, don't want to be linked with the bad/low-paying client by the same freelancer, and/or decide to sub-contract via the bad/low-paying client to the same freelancer.
- The bad/low-paying client stops sending work anyway because they realize 1) they can no longer be the freelancer's priority, 2) the freelancer is (apparently) still desperate for their work, bad/low-paying as it is, so they try more leverage.

The advice is: find a WELL/HIGH-PAYING, LOYAL client that can cover your average working hours, then forget about all the rest.


 

Tom in London
Egyesült Királyság
Local time: 07:13
Tag (2008 óta)
olasz - angol
ASk Nov 16, 2020

Renvi Ulrich wrote:

Dear all,

I have received messages from two of my regular clients informing me that because of the financial challenges they have been facing, they will temporarily reduce our agreed rates by 15% until they withstand the crisis. They were very candid on their difficulties and appealed to my understanding. These are two serious clients with a very good ethic. However, I also have to keep my own business afloat during this period. Tricky...

Have you been asked to lower your rates lately? How do you handle that type of requests to the best interest of your business?

Thanks

[Edited at 2020-11-14 07:23 GMT]


Before you agree to anything, express sympathy and concern, and express your own feelings about what is happening to YOUR business. Then remind them politely that because the rates were agreed they cannot be changed unless you agree to the change. Express more concern about this. Then tell them, still politely, that in the circumstances you feel you are entitled to ask them for a full, detailed explanation of why they think they have to reduce their rates. Finish by saying you will consider their proposal after you have received their reply.


Thomas T. Frost
expressisverbis
Mervyn Henderson
Renvi Ulrich
 
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