Business Tip: Indicating Validity of Quote

Happy Friday, dear readers! Before we head off into our holiday weekend here in the US, we wanted to share a quick and easy business tip that can have major impact on your workflow.

It's about something relatively simple: including a specific date on your price quote that indicates how long the quote is valid. This is especially crucial for time-sensitive projects for which you might have to reallocate time from other work. Please note that this applies to direct clients, as most agency clients traditionally ask linguists to sign the agency's purchase order (to which you can, of course, also make changes and/or additions).

Consider the following scenario: your client calls on June 28 and says she needs the translation of a contract by July 5. This is a bit tight with the holiday weekend, but you are willing to make it happen (with surcharges, of course), as she is a great client. In your quote, it's essential to include that you need the client to confirm the project by a specific time and day. Otherwise, it could happen that you never hear from the client, you take on other projects, and then on July 4 (Independence Day!), she calls you to tell you she wants the project by the original deadline, July 5. That's obviously not a good scenario, so you should do everything you can to prevent it.

Here are a few ways to do that.

In your price quote, include something to the effect of (please note that we are not lawyers, so if you want specific legal advice on the language to use, please contact an attorney):

The present price quote is valid until ____________ at ____ am/pm. This quote shall be null and void unless the client has confirmed it in writing by signing at the bottom of this document by _____________. 

In order to meet the client's deadline, this project must be confirmed in writing by ________ at _____ am/pm. The translator can only guarantee the agreed-upon delivery time and date of ______ at ____ am/pm if the client sends back the signed price quote by ______ at am/pm. If no confirmation is received by that point, this quote shall be null and void. 

What do you think, dear colleagues? Do you have any other and better ways of handling this? We have found that putting all these things in writing make for much smoother business transactions and for happier providers and clients.


Andrew on July 1, 2017 at 2:07 PM said...

This post was incredibly helpful and serendipitously timed! I have only just this past year begun freelancing, and so there are still a lot of firsts for me. The most recent first is that this week I was contacted by a private individual requesting a translation of a lengthier medical document, FR>EN. The communication was a bit unusual and made me question whether it was a legitimate request, as I wasn't sure how the individual even found my contact information. After reading this post, I made sure to include a section in our correspondence regarding validity of the quote.

Thanks for the great tip! These kinds of things are very useful for freelancers who are just getting theirs businesses underway.

EP on July 9, 2017 at 9:09 AM said...

Looks like a great solution to me. I've never had to actually deal with quotes like that but putting it in writing like that is definitely the way to go. Charge on!

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on July 10, 2017 at 1:29 PM said...

@Andrew: We are delighted to hear about this happy coincidence! You are doing the right thing by trusting your gut: if it doesn't sound right, it usually isn't. These scams against translators have unfortunately been going around for years, but since you are relatively new to freelancing, you may not have heard about them yet. One of our colleagues put together an amazing website with all kinds of very important information. Here's the link: Be sure to have a look! Our rule of thumb is that we always charge individuals (non-corporate clients) up front before translation commences. That may be a good strategy for you as well.

Thanks for reading and for commenting! We also have many other blog posts that were written speficially for newcomers, so we hope you enjoy them!

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on July 10, 2017 at 1:30 PM said...

@EP: Thanks so much! We think this makes a lot of sense and it sure does eliminate a lot of possible headaches.

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