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Offer from known slow-paying client -- shall I accept?
Thread poster: sancha

sancha  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 02:25
English to Latvian
+ ...
Mar 16, 2005

I have been approached by an agency rated as extremely slow-paying on the Blue Board and I'm wondering whether I should accept the offer since everybody got paid eventually or reject it right away? Actually I rather feel like rejecting them but I'm not sure what to say to them. As I'm new here, I could sure use advice of more experienced people about the usual payment arrangements when working for foreign agencies and any tips on how to protect myself from bad clients.

[Edited at 2005-03-17 09:11]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:25
English to German
+ ...
Would you lend me money? Mar 16, 2005

Hi sancha,
Let me ask you a simple question: would you lend me 500 euros for three months? I'll pay them back at some point...

No? You won't lend money to someone you don't know?
Well, in that case, you just answered your own question. Working for an unknown customer is equivalent to granting credit, usually without any collateral.

If the proposed project is interesting in principle (in terms of content, but particularly regarding price levels), ask them for an advance amounting to 30 or 40 percent of the expected fee.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:25
German to English
+ ...
Tip Mar 16, 2005

Using the Blue Board is one of those ways of protecting yourself from hassle with deliquent payers.

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sancha  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 02:25
English to Latvian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
OK, what do I tell them? Mar 16, 2005

Thank you, guys, for confirming my reluctance to accept. Now, let's move to a more delicate point - how shall I phrase my refusal? I can hardly say - you have a number of bad references, I won't work for you. I also can't tell them I'm very busy right now because it's a call for tender with work not expected any time soon, if ever. Not to reply at all would seem extremely rude. Any suggestions?

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:25
English to German
+ ...
See above... Mar 16, 2005

If the proposed project is interesting in principle (in terms of content, but particularly regarding price levels), ask them for an advance amounting to 30 or 40 percent of the expected fee.

That should sort things out... and if they still stick around, well, at least you're covered to a certain extent.

Cheers, Ralf


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Stefanie Sendelbach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:25
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Ask for advance payment Mar 16, 2005

Hi Sancha,

Why not tell them that you know they are slow in paying, and that you are trying to avoid the hassle? You can ask them for payment in advance (maybe 50% of the total sum, maybe everything). If they really need your service, they will be willing to discuss about this.

Good luck,
Stefanie


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Kimmy
Local time: 10:25
Italian to English
+ ...
I wouldn't tell them that you know they are slow payers... Mar 16, 2005

They'll run a mile and it won't look good (even if it's the truth).

Just tell them that your terms and conditions dictate that all new clients that are private or not referenced (and I am not referring to ttestimonials on THEIR site) are required to make a downpayment with balance on delivery.

We seem to forget that as translators we are the supplier, not the client and thus WE should outline terms and conditions. It's them that wants us! Our expertise and knowledge not vice versa!

Kim


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:25
I would not refuse them, but... Mar 16, 2005

... since they are first time customers, I would ask for 50% advance payment, and the remaining 50% upon completion of the job, as an exchange: file against cheque. See what they say. This way, you might not even have to go through the refusal. Good luck!

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Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:25
English to Russian
+ ...
why do you afraid? Mar 16, 2005

I wonder why do you afraid to send a short message to a client simply stating that according to reliable source (blue board at proz) he/she is in the list of slowpayers and you cannot accept his/her manner of payment.

It will be:

a/ to the benefit of all translators' community
b/ who knows, may be the client for the first time will learn something about his/her reputation

but if you are super polite person and hate to offend somebody mistreating you (by prospective non-payment to you and actual delays in paying others) just send the polite refusal with wording:

"sorry I cannot accept your offer at the moment.
regards"

without any explanation from you.

damn simple way to solve the problem.

+++
I think that asking for advance payment is not a brilliant idea. I can give a 100% sure forecast that you will get reply that this is against normal usual commercial practice of paying after a job is done and that this is against company's rules. They have a list of translators (you saw it in blue board), who accepted their rules, proving that their payment policy is acceptable for some of translators. Why should they change?

[Edited at 2005-03-16 22:06]

[Edited at 2005-03-16 22:07]


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Agua  Identity Verified
Spain
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ask for advance payment. Mar 17, 2005

Hello,

Well, as far as I am concerned, I would clearly state that their reputation precedes them and I am therefore not ready to lose money, so if they want my services, translation will be delivered immediately after payment has been received.

It did work for me. It saves you the hassle: if they do not have intention to pay, they will not give you the job and you get rid of a waste of time, if they are going to pay, they would do so without reminders...

They will say that it is against standard business practices, but hey, since when is not paying a "standard business practice"?

Best of luck,

Mar


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:25
English to Spanish
+ ...
No pay, no work Mar 17, 2005

I agree with Mar, if they have a bad reputation, then just say that such is the case and you require full payment in advance. They will surely refuse, and that is the end of that.

And you will not lose, they will, and they should.


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 19:25
German to English
Just don't take the job Mar 17, 2005

You don't need another headache. Send a polite reply that you're not interested. No need to give an explanation. The client is aware of his payment practices. There are plenty of good clients out there.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:25
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Slow payer or never payer? Mar 17, 2005

sancha wrote:
I have been approached by an agency rated as extremely slow-paying on Blue Board...


If it's a small job, and if you can afford to "lose" the money (in return for the possibility of future jobs), then I'd say, consider it. They are known as late payers, not as never payers.


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Syeda Tanbira Zaman
Local time: 05:55
English to Assamese
+ ...
No, one must not. Mar 17, 2005

[/quote]

If it's a small job, and if you can afford to "lose" the money (in return for the possibility of future jobs), then I'd say, consider it. They are known as late payers, not as never payers.
[/quote]

I am sorry Samuel, but it will only give out the wrong signal. They will be convinced that there will always be someone who would not object to their bussiness practice. This will only harm thecollective cause of the translators, as more and more clients will be emboldened to try it.


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