Payment wait time
Thread poster: Scott de Lesseps
| | Scott de Lesseps
Local time: 22:21
Partial member (2007)
French to English
I'm still getting my own freelance sercvice (French-to-English) off the ground, and finally landed my first job from a translation agency (I've had other jobs from other sources). My question is what is considered a reasonable wait time to receive payment from a client? I suppose it probably varies from agency to agency, but I just wanted to get a general idea of the average waiting period. Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
| Different countries, different waiting periods? || Feb 24, 2004 |
I read the thread that Peter referred to, and was dismayed to learn about the long delays that colleagues -mostly from Europe- face to collect payment.
However, I believe the situation in the US and Canada is slightly different. Most of my US clients pay upon reception of the invoice; they generally send their cheques by mail, which takes anywhere between five to 15 days, and appears completely reasonable to me. Some of my Canadian clients have a 30 days payment delay.
I have organized my invoicing system in such a way that, if an invoice is outstanding for more than seven weeks, I start sending reminders to the client.
My past experience has taught me that the longer I wait for an invoice to be paid, the more difficult it will be to collect payment... all those stories of bills gone astray, please resubmit, we have to check with the person who requested the translation, etc, are a nightmare so, in my experience, the sooner you get behind an outstanding invoice, the better!
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Yes, you have to keep on top of the business aspects.
I generally aim to (1) have the submitted work accepted within 7 days, at which time I send the invoice, and (2) collect payment within 14 days subsequently. This leaves the client three weeks for payment, which is ample time. If it\'s a small agency (of which there are a lot in Hungary), they would typically have to get paid before they can pay me, so it can get tricky for them, too. With regular clients, I only send a monthly invoice, typically around the 5th of each month. If a payment is late, I call them immediately (i.e. the next business day). Most of the time I can arrange for a full or partial payment the same day.
And by the way, we have completely bypassed cheques on the road of financial evolution here, so payment is typically by bank transfer. Saves waiting for the mail!
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