For those who work as freelance translators, lowering your rates may seem like an illogical step that will lead to less income, but it is a valid business tactic that is worth considering from time to time.
Bear in mind that a greater volume of work at a lower rate can actually generate more income than a smaller volume of work at a higher rate.
Gaining new business
One of the key reasons for lowering your rates is to attract new business. This can work in several ways:
1. Introduce a time-limited lower rate offer for all new clients, which gives them a pre-determined number of hours or translated words (however you prefer to charge) at the lower rate before switching over the higher rate.
2. Undercut your competitors by bidding for work at a lower rate, undertake the first job or two at the lower rate and then raise your prices back to your usual level once the client sees how fantastic your service is.
3. Tempt old clients who you haven’t heard from in a while to use your services once more with a time-limited lower rate.
Assessing your workload
As a professional translator you are likely to undertake certain jobs that you enjoy more than others. Consider lowering your rate for those jobs in order to attract more of that type of work and to reduce the amount of time you have to spend doing the translation jobs that you don’t enjoy as much.
Another way to approach this is to lower your rate for specific jobs. For example, if you undertake complex and time-consuming legal translation on a regular basis but also have a side-line in easier work such as personal correspondence translation, consider lowering the rate for the latter while sticking with your higher rate for the harder work.
Before introducing any kind of lowered rates, ensure that you do your sums.
There is little point in lowering your rates and spending hours undertaking translation work for a reduced price if you find at the end of the month that you haven’t earned enough to cover your bills.
Make sure you calculate the likely impact of your lowered rates before advertising them to be sure that you will still be able to live in the manner to which you are accustomed!
Have you successfully lowered your rates at any point? How did it work out? Share your experiences with other freelance translators via the comment box.