Poll: Currently, my top client represents:
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
SITE STAFF
Jul 2, 2020

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Currently, my top client represents:".

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Luiz Barucke  Identity Verified
브라질
Local time: 14:09
Member (2013)
Spanish to Portuguese
+ ...
Trying to lower this share Jul 2, 2020

My current biggest client represents today about 60-65% of my income. It's an enormous translation company and this share was about 80% two years ago. I'm still trying to lower this share by finding new clients. I believe the biggest challenge in this work is finding - and keeping - good long-term clients. But I keep trying.

Mirjana Svicevic
Philippe Etienne
Gethin Sugar
Rebecca Cockburn
 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
브라질
Local time: 14:09
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
40% this year Jul 2, 2020

This number has been as high as 70% in the past years. I was able to diversify and lower it to 40%, which is OK. Anything above this number will make me worry.
Unfortunately this reduction from 70 to 40% was not due only to new clients. My top client has also reduced the volume of work it sends to me this year. So this reduction is 50% positive and 50% negative.


Mirjana Svicevic
 

Teresa Borges
포르투갈
Local time: 16:09
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Jul 2, 2020

I don’t have a single top customer; most of my regular work comes from my 3 top clients, though their demand fluctuates erratically. Last year, these 3 clients accounted for circa 60% of my income.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
스페인
Local time: 16:09
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
OMG! So many relying on so few! Jul 2, 2020

I admit to having nearly 40% of my income coming from my top client, who's been a good client since before I moved to Spain in 2012.

It's a dangerous situation to be in, I know. But I'm 65 very soon and winding down. Also, I've invoiced a total of 10 clients in 10 different countries this year, so it isn't exactly a case of putting all my eggs in one basket.

What worries me more is the number of others in a similar -- or worse -- situation.


Mario Freitas
 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
브라질
Local time: 14:09
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Indeed Jul 2, 2020

Sheila Wilson wrote:

...What worries me more is the number of others in a similar -- or worse -- situation.


Indeed Sheila. I have several colleagues in the same situation. And the most curious thing about it is that they simply won't agree with me. They think having a good client representing 70% of their income is a positive thing. I've even heard I was jealous because I don't have one like that, can you believe it?
I hope these people pray a lot not to lose those major clients, because faithful clients that disappear all of a sudden is not a rare thing at all in our market.


Rebecca Cockburn
Josephine Cassar
Luiz Barucke
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
영국
Swedish to English
+ ...
70% Jul 2, 2020

Sheila Wilson wrote:
What worries me more is the number of others in a similar -- or worse -- situation.


Having most of your eggs in one basket isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It may be a very lucrative, reliable and enjoyable basket. Mine is.

It doesn’t make sense for me to turn down their work to take jobs I don’t like elsewhere, for less money.

And why would they look elsewhere anyway?


Arjan van den Berg
 

Barbara Cochran, MFA  Identity Verified
미국
Local time: 11:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
95% Jul 3, 2020

Since I am a literary translator, I almost always work for one client at a time.

One time when I didn't, I succumbed to all the stress and ended up with shingles.

So I try to avoid that scenario, if possible.

I worked for one author (and no one else) for about four years, and for my current client (and just one other this year for about four months), who has been very generous when it comes to deadlines, for over five at this point.


 

Liviu-Lee Roth
미국
Local time: 11:09
Romanian to English
+ ...
98% of my income as a freelancer Jul 3, 2020

comes from working for the US. Government, including translation, court interpreting, conference or delegation interpreting. Although it looks like a single client, actually I work for a variety of governmental agencies.

lee


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
홍콩
Local time: 00:09
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
It's not about the percentage Jul 3, 2020

If Jeff Bezos lost 99% of his fortune, he's still richer than most people.

Liviu-Lee Roth
 

Luiz Barucke  Identity Verified
브라질
Local time: 14:09
Member (2013)
Spanish to Portuguese
+ ...
Do you really believe this is the same? Jul 3, 2020

Lincoln Hui wrote:

If Jeff Bezos lost 99% of his fortune, he's still richer than most people.


I mean... If I (and I believe we all) lose 99% (50%?) of our income, we can't pay our bills for more than a couple of months.

And I'm not sure if Bezos translates a 'good morning' into more than 1.5 languages. He uses these 99% to hire translators and more.

[Editada em 2020-07-03 05:02 GMT]

[Editada em 2020-07-03 05:04 GMT]


Mario Freitas
 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
스페인
Local time: 17:09
Member
English to French
50-75% Jul 3, 2020

And even more sometimes. I can't do much about it in practice, and it's clients that shape my time shares, not me.

Chris S wrote:
...It doesn’t make sense for me to turn down their work to take jobs I don’t like elsewhere, for less money...

Of course not. Even to take jobs I like elsewhere for the same money, because future jobs are nothing until they're actually booked.
Schedule allowing, I take everything that's thrown at me from my first-tier clients: only agencies, same rate, similar conditions, payment terms shorter than "31day EOM", therefore first-come, firs-served basis. I don't bet on other opportunities turning down work from a customer because they're taking over too much of my working time.

"One bird in the hand is better than two birds in the bush", would I reply to "all eggs in the same basket".

The more organised the client:
the more lead time they can afford,
the more often they warn you ahead of time,
the more shuffling I can do to accommodate assignments optimally,
and ultimately, the more chances they have to book times slots in my schedule.

And organised people are usually straightforward and pleasant to work with.

If a major client disappears, there's more time left for others (my product it my time). The main thing is to maintain a constant flow of work, and for me, agencies are perfect for that, whatever their time share in my schedule.

Having 5 clients at about 20% time share each would of course be ideal, but seriously, I NEVER worry if most of my earnings in a given month come from a specific client. I worry more when I'm idle for two consecutive days.

Philippe


 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
브라질
Local time: 14:09
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Pareto Jul 4, 2020

This is why it's so important for every professional to study a bit of economy/finance and business admin, and not only specific areas of interest to their own professional activities. As I mentioned above, many of us do think it's a positive thing to have 70% of more than your income coming from a single client. If any of these colleagues were enterpreneurs wuth a large corporation, they'd have some serious trouble finding shareholders to invest in their business.

 

Edwin den Boer  Identity Verified
네델란드
Local time: 17:09
Member (2009)
English to Dutch
50%-75% but that's not the whole story Jul 5, 2020

Over the years, I've had around 10 clients which supplied the majority of my income in a given year. In most cases, I was the one who decided to stop working for my main client, either because we disagreed about rates or because they kept giving me more work than we'd agreed on.

Focusing on one particular client for practical reasons doesn't necessarily make you dependent on them - as long as you keep in touch with other translators and clients. That includes doing a small job from
... See more
Over the years, I've had around 10 clients which supplied the majority of my income in a given year. In most cases, I was the one who decided to stop working for my main client, either because we disagreed about rates or because they kept giving me more work than we'd agreed on.

Focusing on one particular client for practical reasons doesn't necessarily make you dependent on them - as long as you keep in touch with other translators and clients. That includes doing a small job from time to time, even when the pay doesn't compensate for the distraction. In my experience, it's easier to scale up than to scale down.
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