6 Tips on checking out that new client!

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After running Atlas Translations for 26 years, I’ve dealt with tricky clients, lovely clients,  and – crucially – some who haven’t paid! That can be make or break for any business, and it’s so important to find good clients who pay you – and pay you on time. So what have I learnt since 1991 in this area?

It’s not always easy to choose which clients you want to work for, and are they genuine and trustworthy? Now almost everything is done through email and it can seem like a scam is always lurking around the corner! It’s crucial to do your homework and find out as much as you can  before you start working with a new client.

Trustworthy Clients – Six Top Tips

Before you start working for a client there are a few things that you can do to make sure they’re the right client for you:

  • A quick Google search of the company name or individual should bring up some information. If UK based, check for any details on the Companies House website.
  • Visit the company website (if there is one) to find out whether the company actually exists. If there is no website, it’s not a great sign. If there is, make sure that contact details on the site are present, and that these match what you already have. Ideally there will be a landline telephone number and a postal address.
  • Browse their website and social media channels further to find out as much as possible about them. What do they do? How they do it? And who are the people? If they claim to be a member of a relevant association, such as the ITI (The Institute of Translation & Interpreting) for us translators, check the ITI website to make sure this is the case.
  • Find out what other people know about them and what relationship they have with their suppliers. If there’s something to worry about you’ll quickly find out by asking on forums or Facebook communities. There are many sites dedicated to keeping lists of dubious clients.
  • Ask the enquiring person how they got your contact details.
  • Make sure that prices are agreed upfront and confirmed in writing or via a Purchase Order before you start any work.

Still not sure?

It may take you some time to do all your checks beforehand, but it is worth the diligence.

If you’ve checked all of the above points but still have doubts, pick up the phone. Less trustworthy clients will be more reluctant to speak with you over the phone. That’s not to say they won’t do it, but by speaking with someone over the phone you will hopefully be able to tell whether this is someone you want to work with. Most importantly, trust your instincts. If you don’t have good feeling about a project don’t be afraid to walk away. The hassle and time you’ll have to spend chasing payments with bad clients isn’t worth it. Far better to spend your time working for a client you know you can trust.

Clare Suttie, Director, Atlas Translations Ltd March 2017 www.atlas-translations.co.uk