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How I Work With New Clients
This is how I handle inquiries from companies with whom I have not previously worked and who haven't been recommended by one of my existing or former clients:
- A potential new client sends me a general e-mail inquiry.
- Just as the sender of that e-mail presumably checked my credentials and references, I check his/her background (see my blog post on Checking Out Potential Clients for more details).
- I then request the following information (unless it was already supplied in the initial inquiry):
- Exact word count of the source text
- Field of specialization/type of text (e.g., software documentation for the general public)
- Format of the source text (MS Word document, Adobe PDF, MS Excel spreadsheet, ...)
- Deadline requested
- Text sample
- The potential client supplies the information requested.
- I evaluate the text sample, source format, total length and deadline requested in light of other pending projects. If I can handle this project, I confirm the word count and deadline and state my standard per word rate, as well as the total price and payment terms:
- A deposit of 50% of the total price prior to starting work on the project.
- If the project is expected to take less than 2 weeks, I'll invoice the remainder of the total price at project completion and expect payment within 15 days of invoice date.
- If the project is expected to take 2-6 weeks, 25% of the remaining total price is due after 2 weeks, with the final 25% again invoiced on project completion and due within 15 days of invoice date.
- For long-term projects (more than 6 weeks), I propose a schedule of partial deliveries, with due dates for partial payments.
- The client agrees to my price and terms, confirms the order and sends the entire source text.
- I send an invoice for the deposit, including information on where/how to pay it. Depending on the timeframe involved and the client's location, this may be my PayPal account or a bank account.
- The client pays the deposit and notifies me by e-mail or Skype, or I receive an e-mail from PayPal.
- I confirm receipt of the deposit and start work on the translation, backing my work up as I go along (see my post on Backup Procedures & Disaster Preparedness for details).
- At the latest the night before the deadline, I e-mail the completed translation to the client, asking for confirmation that the file was received.
- The client confirms receipt of the translation.
- During my next invoicing cycle (usually once a week), I generate an invoice for the remaining price of the project.
- I receive payment of that remaining amount and mark this project closed.