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How long to wait before reminding agencies it's time to pay? :)
Thread poster: Konstantin Kisin

Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:23
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
Nov 12, 2004

Hi there,

Well, congratulations are in order, for the first time in 5 years I've come across an agency that doesn't pay on time.

I invoiced them in the first week of october and I always put the date of expected payment at the end of my invoices, usually 25-30 days, in this case it was 5th November, which makes payment 1 week overdue...is it too early to e-mail them? Thankfully it was a really a tiny job so it's no big deal.


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Elvira Stoianov  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Local time: 01:23
German to Romanian
+ ...
I think you can still give them some time Nov 12, 2004

Well, one week is not that bad.
If you take 30 days, then maybe 3-4 days of delay, then maybe 5-6 days for bank transfer (or more, if paid by check), I think you can inquire as if you were not sure what happened after 10-14 days.


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Laure Trads  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:23
Member (2004)
English to French
There is a good "how to" on the subject Nov 12, 2004

http://www.proz.com/howto/30

with a section on the question you are asking.


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baroni  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:23
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
No, I wouldn't wait Nov 12, 2004

Konstantin Kisin wrote:

Hi there,

Well, congratulations are in order, for the first time in 5 years I've come across an agency that doesn't pay on time.

I invoiced them in the first week of october and I always put the date of expected payment at the end of my invoices, usually 25-30 days, in this case it was 5th November, which makes payment 1 week overdue...is it too early to e-mail them? Thankfully it was a really a tiny job so it's no big deal.




I would call them, and ask KINDLY if they received your invoice.
It is a kind way to say "don't forget my invoice!".

Best regards
Francesca


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
The longer you wait, the more they will feel guilty Nov 12, 2004

You don't want you clients to get a bad conscience, so help them to behave correctly, and act immediately.

If they won't feel obliged to pay correctly, you won't feel obliged to translate correctly, and this mechanism will tear down both of you.

[Edited at 2004-11-12 19:35]


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Sarah Downing  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:23
German to English
+ ...
Do it by Phone Nov 12, 2004

If I want to remind customers to pay me, I do it by phone or email right away and it works very well. I really can't be bothered to send a written reminder (unless absolutely necessary) and I also think that phone or email reminders are more effective (as well as quicker and more convenient) because it is easier to ignore a written reminder.

Personally, I would usually wait about 2 weeks until I remind the customer.

All the best,

Sarah


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Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:23
English to Russian
+ ...
it is not your invoices Nov 12, 2004

It's actually neither your invoice nor the amount that matter, but 'their' PO with terms of payment. From my pers. experience - it can be 60 days(not 30), it can also be "on the 15th day of the month following the month after the date of the invoice))

However, if they have not sent you a PO and you assume that the payment is due - why not email them asking to let you know when you are to expect their payment (as X-mas is coming, vacation time, bla-bla). There is nothing wrong with it.


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:23
German to English
+ ...
Do it right away... Nov 12, 2004

THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND WAS NOT MEANT TO REPLACE THE ADVICE OF AN ATTORNEY YOU TRUST!

If you take care of it right away and politely remind them to pay (it is a WEEK overdue!), you'll be better off in the end. I would also remind them in writing - you never do know: if it comes down to it (and let's hope that it doesn't), you might end up having to go to court to collect.

It is almost always better to arrange a particular date than a period of time. Later the big question becomes "three weeks from when?" - one is rarely able to pin it down exactly. I think the 'normal' period of time in the UK is 30 days (see the links below).

The laws are different everywhere, but in some countries it is not enough to have arranged a due date for the payment. In addition to that, some countries require that the customer receives an additional notice (reminder), before the customer is considered to have defaulted, which plays a role with regard to late payment interest (cf. http://www.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts1998/19980020.htm AND http://www.payontime.co.uk/legislation/legislation_main.html ).

That may sound hard, but if you end up going to court, there is no reason why you shouldn't claim interest from the time the payment was due. But don't take my word for it, contact an attorney and discuss your options - an attorney will probably be able to tell you what you need to do in cases like these.

[Edited at 2004-11-12 19:32]


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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:23
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

MODERATOR
Wait a minute... Nov 12, 2004

Kostya, but don't you have a PO from them? What are THEIR terms? It could be end of month + 30 days, for example. Did you discuss the payment with them BEFORE accepting the job? If not, then just KINDLY ask them what are their payment terms (this message would serve a gentle reminder).

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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:23
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks All! Nov 12, 2004

What I forgot to mention was that, naturally, I don't choose the date on my invoice by throwing dice - it's normally the agreed date from the PO. In this case, there is no PO but it's a posted Proz job, and they mentioned the date by which they'll pay in that post.

I don't think there are any grounds to say that they are not going to pay (yet), I just wanted to know whether it would be rude of me to remind them this (?) early.

Thanks for all your responses


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stonejohn  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 08:23
English to Chinese
+ ...
BONAFIDE is the GOD Nov 14, 2004

I invoiced my client in early September, but there is still no money coming......70 days past.....
But I believe I can get my payment from them, on the internet, BONAFIDE is the GOD, I think.

Best Regards,

Stonejohn


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xxxHirschmann  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:23
English to German
+ ...
I leave my favorite clients time to pay Nov 26, 2004

Often, even the best translation agencies or final customers have difficulty cashing in the money owed them by their clients.

If I see that one of my clients delays payments, I'm patient and wait until they pay.

There is one rule that applies in most cases of delayed payments:

If a customer doesn't pay an invoice in time, it's mostly because he ISN'T ABLE TO PAY and not because he DOESN'T WANT TO PAY. (However, in a few cases you may be hit by bad luck because the customer has gone bankrupt.)

Currently, the oldest one of my invoices still unpaid is dated 31 August 2004. This lack of cash flow is easily compensated by other clients who pay fast as lightning.

Please don't feel offended but your case with an invoice aged by just 1 week after due date seems chicken feed to me.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:23
English to German
+ ...
Willingness vs. ability to pay Nov 27, 2004

Hi,
If I see that one of my clients delays payments, I'm patient and wait until they pay.

Agreed in the case of a good customer - but only if they keep you updated on what's going on.

If a customer doesn't pay an invoice in time, it's mostly because he ISN'T ABLE TO PAY and not because he DOESN'T WANT TO PAY.

Again, if they're upfront about it, and seek a joint solution, I can see the point. But on the other hand, an agency outsourcing a job must have the financial resources in place to honour their contractual obligations, regarding of external cash flow.

Regards,
Ralf


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:23
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
can't do Nov 27, 2004

Well I have to say that I find it difficult to agree with the "unable to pay" argument.

After all, when I am doing the job, I have to forget about "unable" because my reputation is on the line. So far, I have not missed a deadline once and I doubt an agency would be very willing to "be patient" if I were to tell them, "Sure sure, it's coming, give me a couple of weeks and it'll be ready" after the deadline expired.


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xxxHirschmann  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:23
English to German
+ ...
Obviously, you didn't quite understand ... Nov 27, 2004

Konstantin Kisin wrote:

Well I have to say that I find it difficult to agree with the "unable to pay" argument.

After all, when I am doing the job, I have to forget about "unable" because my reputation is on the line. So far, I have not missed a deadline once and I doubt an agency would be very willing to "be patient" if I were to tell them, "Sure sure, it's coming, give me a couple of weeks and it'll be ready" after the deadline expired.


... because in today's era of excessive greed, many companies and especially government organizations delay payments as long as they can to earn interests, in many cases even for many months.

However, there are also cases where a translation agency has overdue receivables amounting to the hundreds of thousands of Euros/dollars while they have to pay the invoices of dozens of translators who have done the work.

You may be assured that I know the translation business very well. I have begun to work as a free-lance translator on 1 January 1974, and I have translated vast amounts of texts (at least 30 million words to date).

During all these years, I had to deal with hundreds of direct clients and translation agencies, many of which have been acquired by their competition or gone bankrupt.

> I invoiced them in the first week of october and I always put the date of expected
> payment at the end of my invoices, usually 25-30 days, in this case it was 5th
> November, which makes payment 1 week overdue...is it too early to e-mail them?
> Thankfully it was a really a tiny job so it's no big deal.

Coming back to your case: Sending a reminder to a client who owes me a few bucks and whose payment is overdue by one week only, would seem ridiculous to me.


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