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Let’s talk discounts (or better not?)

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Vova    1151

I have recently participated in an illustrative discussion in @Simon Akhrameev’s great Facebook group.

Simon has shared Neil Patel’s article about common marketing mistakes. One of the mistakes quoted was not offering discounts/promotions.

And one commenter, Igor Juricek, made a remark that I hear surprisingly often in the translators community. I’m quoting:

Quote

The point about giving discounts reminds me of a Czech agency I came across when doing research on websites. These guys offered discount on anyone´s first translation order, every fifth, tenth translation, on high-volume translation as well as SEASONAL discounts. I still don´t get it, is translation cheaper over summer or winter?

I wonder why we translators often feel this way? Do we consider our work to be a kind of gold standard, whose price is set in, well, gold? To me it seems natural that as market participants we must take into account its nuances.

So I was going to ask, what do you guys think? Do you offer volume/seasonal discounts? Or maybe discounts for super-friendly clients? :)

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Thanks Vova for quoting my reply from FB.

To put this into context, the Czech translation market is heavily underpaid, prices and rates being the decisive factor for most clients and the average rate being 0,03 - 0,04 eur per word (basically no valuation since 2005). Therefore, an excessive discount scheme will only result in pressure on lower rates for the translators. And we all need to make a living.

To me, a "seasonal" discount is a nonsense. In case of a "low season", I´d rather spend the time looking for new, better paying (foreign) clients, rather than working on an underpaid job from an (domestic Czech) agency who claims to provide "a higher class of translation" or similar marketing fairy-tale (true story).

I am not against discounts in general. If a client returns regularly with mid to high-volume projects and has a solid payment morale, a discount plan is perfectly alright. But offering a discount for a 200-word job, just because it is a client´s first order or because it is summer holiday time just doesn´t make sense to me and sounds straightforward suicidal.

 

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Simon Akhrameev    11

I think that a good discounts policy relies upon many factors, including the niche, the most common client types you work with and the size of your business, etc. If you have a stable inflow of translation projects from one client, it might be wise to offer a small but pleasant discount (you may call it volume discount) to "reinforce" relations. While offering random discounts just to grab another gig or two won't bring you any feasible results in a long run. Discounts may also work to "hook" a new client, but you should know for sure that this type of client would actually take the bait. It depends on cultural specifics, e.g., for Asian people asking for discounts (or getting discounts) is a common thing, while the same tactics may have a negative effect on others, meaning that your services are not so good and you are trying to attract customers' attention by lowering the rates. Currently, I offer one type of discounts for new clients who order Standard and Premium package - 10% off for the first order (I also have a Basic package without any discounts). As for CAT related discounts, I deduct Repetitions and apply special rate for 95-100% matches for recurring clients only. Everything below 95% shall be paid in full.

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52 minutes ago, Igor JurĂ­ÄŤek said:

 

I am not against discounts in general. If a client returns regularly with mid to high-volume projects and has a solid payment morale, a discount plan is perfectly alright. But offering a discount for a 200-word job, just because it is a client´s first order or because it is summer holiday time just doesn´t make sense to me and sounds straightforward suicidal.

 

Here is almost exactly how I feel about discounts.

Actually, as translators & interpreters, we are all language "providers", which means we bargain our rates and try to get clients permanently and unconditionnally engaged with our services. Thus, to achieve keeping an average or good client, one may decide (or, of course, not) to offer a discount.

So far as I am concerned, I usually do so with direct clients who have proven themselves very honest and friendly. Behaving as such often results in a very strong relationship that can only be assessed when hard times are there. For example, I have such a direct client that recently had more than 10,000 words to translate (initially) within three (03) days. He reached out to me with the job, but I said I could not take on the job because of the tight schedule and tiredness imposed on me by my first ever child, which I had to take to-and-fro hospital very often for visits. Unexpectedly, the client showed a very deep concern: first, he decided to make 50% payment upfront, and, second, he asked me to tell him when I could deliver the job. When I said "Two weeks", I was greatly surprised by his words, "OK, great. You're always very responsive and kind. I'll do same this time. Go ahead and greet your baby for me". No existing words were enough to thank him!

That very experience can only encourage me to keep on proving myself considerate and kind with clients, so that they can love partnering with me! And, from my own little experience, one amongst the best ways to get them stuck is actually... offering timely discounts!

Have a blessed day, all! :12_slight_smile:

 

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