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Poll: Have you ever lost a client because they retired or went out of business?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 23:40
SITE STAFF
May 9, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever lost a client because they retired or went out of business?".

This poll was originally submitted by Muriel Vasconcellos. View the poll results »



 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:40
Member (2006)
German to English
Other May 9, 2016

Yes and no.
I have lost a customer because the PM left the company or went on maternity leave and I did not get along with the replacement.
And those that have changed companies contacted me from their new positions and I continued working for them there.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:40
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other May 9, 2016

I used to get quite a bit of work from the regional government, and when they started up a private university, they hired an English person to handle the language side of things. Everything was going fine until they wanted me to do a large translation for some Congress or other, but the bigwig who was behind it wanted it in Access format, which would have been an enormously time-consuming and painstakingly tricky job, so I refused it. I think the language manager must have taken the hump and gon... See more
I used to get quite a bit of work from the regional government, and when they started up a private university, they hired an English person to handle the language side of things. Everything was going fine until they wanted me to do a large translation for some Congress or other, but the bigwig who was behind it wanted it in Access format, which would have been an enormously time-consuming and painstakingly tricky job, so I refused it. I think the language manager must have taken the hump and gone elsewhere after that because they've only contacted me a couple of times since then, from other departments, and even that was several years ago. The institution has undergone several purges in the past decade and suffered from a plethora of corruption cases and years of dodgy dealings, which may also have something to do with it. In fact, some of my former 'clients' are currently in prison. However I'm not worried, as far as I'm concerned it's their loss. And at least I got paid eventually, unlike many other regional govt. providers.

[Edited at 2016-05-09 08:37 GMT]
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Ian Keith Jones Williams  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:40
Member
German to English
+ ...
Other May 9, 2016

I have stopped working for a client because they started to go downhill fast and even got banned from Proz.com in the end due to payment issues. I did receive all payments from them, though. I have also experienced receiving less work from a client, because the PM left, but I also gain work when a PM or other employee joins another company, taking contacts with them.

[Bearbeitet am 2016-05-09 08:55 GMT]


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 07:40
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, twice... May 9, 2016

I received last week a letter from a lawyer announcing that one of my long-standing clients went out of business. I will miss them, PMs were polite and friendly, projects interesting and though occasionally payments were late, they always paid. They only owe me a small invoice (+/- 80 €) from last month.

I have just remembered that the owner of a Belgian agency I had been working for a good while died suddenly some 20 years ago. Business was divided between two heirs, who decided
... See more
I received last week a letter from a lawyer announcing that one of my long-standing clients went out of business. I will miss them, PMs were polite and friendly, projects interesting and though occasionally payments were late, they always paid. They only owe me a small invoice (+/- 80 €) from last month.

I have just remembered that the owner of a Belgian agency I had been working for a good while died suddenly some 20 years ago. Business was divided between two heirs, who decided to run two different agencies. One is still running to date, the other one went bust…

[Edited at 2016-05-09 11:12 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-05-09 13:42 GMT]
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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:40
French to English
Direct clients May 9, 2016

I only work very occasionally with two agencies. My clients are almost all direct clients.
Yes, one or two have gone under over the past 20 years, but there are usually early signs which put you on your guard. They start to pay late, they niggle. For clients who already paid late and who already niggled, either they were already in difficulty or they just have a chief who is a late payer and a niggler by habit.

Some clients run businesses and/or business practices which mean
... See more
I only work very occasionally with two agencies. My clients are almost all direct clients.
Yes, one or two have gone under over the past 20 years, but there are usually early signs which put you on your guard. They start to pay late, they niggle. For clients who already paid late and who already niggled, either they were already in difficulty or they just have a chief who is a late payer and a niggler by habit.

Some clients run businesses and/or business practices which mean they have built-in obsolescence : they can only last a certain time. Others goes through tough patches and may survive. Your decision is then whether or not to follow that, and how best to adapt your own practices if you do. Openess is the best policy. Limit the value of the work you do for them, ask for immediate payment, accept payment in stages, for example. Beyond that you tend to start playing at providing banking services, not generally a good idea, unless you're rich. You have to learn to put affect aside and take measures to ptoect yourself which may simply mean saying "no, I'm not available".
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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:40
French to English
Retirement May 9, 2016

I forgot to mention that one client did retire. It was a yacht surveyor who had a healthy business and he sold the goodwill to another surveyor in the same area who became a new client.

 

John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:40
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not sure May 9, 2016

I'm not sure if they went out of business or not but a few of my former "small fry" clients seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth during the recent economic recession. I wish them all the best and hope they can reinvent themselves or resurface in the future.

 

Alexandra Speirs  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:40
Italian to English
+ ...
Customer died May 9, 2016

One of my best customers was a small tourist magazine.
It was all run by one man, with some assistance from family members.
When he died they closed down the publication.

A couple of others disappeared after they merged with other firms.


 

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Member (2005)
English to Japanese
+ ...
Yes, many times May 9, 2016

I have experienced all the situations mentioned above except for a dead client. PMs leaving companies, clients going downhill -> cashflow problems -> banned from Proz. There was only one client who told me that she is retiring from the translation business and start something else. I guess one could categorize my experience as 'Yes, many times'.

 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:40
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Yes, a few May 9, 2016

A couple of my favourite agencies were taken over by larger and less sympathique agencies. Another couple went bankrupt or into voluntary liquidation. Happily, other clients have appeared to take their place.

 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
I said other, but in fact... May 9, 2016

...I lost one client because they changed business models: the owner decided to close down (or sell, I can't recall) in order to devote her time to pottery.

10-20% of my business at the time (1994-1997) came from them. Oh, well. c'est la vie !


 

Hege Jakobsen Lepri  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:40
Member (2002)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
yes May 9, 2016

2009 was a terrible year - two clients went bankrupt - and if there hadn't been another income in my household, the consequences would have been drastic.

 

Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:40
English to Italian
other May 9, 2016

one of my clients died and the agency closed as she was the owner.. really missed

 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
In case of death, break glass May 10, 2016

I know of a translation agency whose owner is in her mid 80s, a widow. She had a chance to sell her company in 2008 but declined because “it's my baby.” Or words to that effect.

I think agency owners should make some serious planning for sale or sucession in case of the principal's death. To die and force the agency to close its doors is extremely irresponsible and unfair to the agency's employees, clients and vendors.

For those translation agency owners who insist
... See more
I know of a translation agency whose owner is in her mid 80s, a widow. She had a chance to sell her company in 2008 but declined because “it's my baby.” Or words to that effect.

I think agency owners should make some serious planning for sale or sucession in case of the principal's death. To die and force the agency to close its doors is extremely irresponsible and unfair to the agency's employees, clients and vendors.

For those translation agency owners who insist on carrying on with the business themselves without such planning, well, they're not heading a business but entertaining a full-time hobby. A very selfish one at that.

Death is no excuse for poor planning.
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