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Is it normal to wait 60 days for payment to be processed?
Thread poster: Jennifer Norman

Jennifer Norman
Canada
Local time: 09:23
Member (2016)
French to English
+ ...
Nov 15, 2016

I bid for a job on ProZ and received a positive response which seems legitimate.

However, their terms and conditions state that payment will be processed between 45 and 60 days after job completion.

My question is: is this normal? I have never had to wait two months for payment. Then again, I am relatively new to freelancing.



[Edited at 2016-11-16 00:11 GMT]


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:23
Member
French to English
+ ...
Normal, but to be deprecated Nov 15, 2016

Yes, I'm afraid it is normal — and I wish it wasn't!

It is particularly common with US agencies, as it seems to be accepted business practice over there. Here in Europe, there is greater pressure to respect the more traditional 30-day settlement terms.

Personally, I refuse to accept 60 days — or the sneaky ones that say 30 days, but from a fixed date like "end of month following date of invoice"; so if you are unlucky enough to invoice a job on 2nd of the month, you are still going to end up waiting nearly 60 days to get paid!

The argument often mooted is that they as intermediaries have to wait 30 days before their customer pays them, and so they then keep YOU waiting another 30 days before you get paid! That seems to me spurious, inasmuch as there's no reason they couldn't pay you shortly after they have received the funds themselves; in any case, any self-respecting business ought to have sufficient cashflow to enable hem to cover outstandings without having to wait for the cash to come in; with the possible excpetion of fellow translator who just happen to be subcontracting out a job on an occasional basis.

There are quite a number of major agencies for whom I simply refuse to work since they changed their payment policies; others can be persuaded to pay up sooner by offering a settlement discount. Still others have been keen enough for me to work for them (or desperate enough!) to make an exception and pay me at 30 days. Still, I don't like doing a favour to help a PM out on a tight schedule, only to be talked down to like a schoolboy by some snooty person in Bought Ledger who wishes to make it clear that this is a "just-this-once special exception".


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Jennifer Norman
Canada
Local time: 09:23
Member (2016)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I politely declined Nov 15, 2016

Tony M wrote:

Yes, I'm afraid it is normal — and I wish it wasn't!

It is particularly common with US agencies, as it seems to be accepted business practice over there. Here in Europe, there is greater pressure to respect the more traditional 30-day settlement terms.



I turned down their offer. The deadline is in two hours, seems a bit rich. I've also been scammed before so I've lost a lot of goodwill.

Thank you for your reply, it was most informative


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 15:23
English to Croatian
+ ...
Is your client in Europe? Nov 15, 2016

Yes, it's common in Europe. You may have not seen it yet if you only worked with US and Canadian agencies. As long as they pay on time, and you can accept those terms, it's legitimate.

Update: Just seen Tony's reply. His experience seems to be quite the opposite to mine. Can't remember ever being paid after more than 30 days by a US client, while it's common in Europe.

Your deadline is in two hours? No, you don't wait for 60 days to be paid for a tiny rush job. In case I am offered a tiny rush job, I either ask for pre-payment, or only do in case they are paying within 30 days. If none of these options are available, I turn it down.

[Edited at 2016-11-15 19:01 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:23
Member (2008)
Italian to English
90+ Nov 15, 2016

I work with an Italian agency in Milan that pays after 100 (one hundred) days without being reminded and another in Rome that pays after 90 days and usually needs a reminder. But they do pay. I'm not happy about this but so long as I have an income stream from a range of different clients, I don't lose any sleep about these two, although I dream of the day when I will be so well supplied with other clients that I can tell them both to get lost.

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Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:23
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It is possible Nov 15, 2016

I have clients with payment practices ranging from 15 to 60 days.



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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Whatever you think of waiting that long, Nov 15, 2016

this is not a "scam".

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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 18:23
Member (2013)
English to Russian
- Nov 15, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

I work with an Italian agency in Milan that pays after 100 (one hundred) days without being reminded and another in Rome that pays after 90 days and usually needs a reminder. But they do pay. I'm not happy about this but so long as I have an income stream from a range of different clients, I don't lose any sleep about these two, although I dream of the day when I will be so well supplied with other clients that I can tell them both to get lost.


Well, I'll have you know that both of these break the EU law, unless they pay you the corresponding interest (8.05% yearly for Italy). As mandated by the Late Payments Directive 2011/7/EU, the payment period for businesses must not exceed 60 days from the date of safe invoice receipt.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:23
English to Spanish
+ ...
Normal? Nope, but it might be customary in some countries Nov 15, 2016

Regarding payment practices, I'd prefer to call them habitual, customary, common practice, etc. but never “normal,” unless late payments are “abnormal.”



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Loreta Saddi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:23
Member
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Turn it down Nov 15, 2016

They want you to wait 60 days and deliver in 2 hours?!!

That's crazy!


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odaschwab
United States
Local time: 09:23
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not normal in the USA! But in Spain Nov 15, 2016

I think 60 days is abusive, I can only understand that payment term for an invoice of more than 2,000 USD.

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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:23
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No, it is not Nov 15, 2016

I have clients (agencies) that pay same day, some that pay in 7 days, and one that has been paying every two weeks for 16 years!

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Mike Roebuck  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:23
German to English
+ ...
It's sometimes normal Nov 16, 2016

I occasionally do work for an agency in France whose terms of payment are: 10 days after the end of the month following that in which your invoice is "issued" (not "received"), so technically up to 70 days. Having said that, they've always paid my invoices on time and they pay reasonably well. They've also helped me out in other ways, not least with a patient introduction to CAT tools.

I won't necessarily turn down work with such payment terms, but to so so, you have to be sure your own cash flow will enable you to accept them.


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Laura Kingdon  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:23
Member (2015)
French to English
+ ...
Not necessarily correlated with intention to pay Nov 16, 2016

Mike Roebuck wrote:

I occasionally do work for an agency in France whose terms of payment are: 10 days after the end of the month following that in which your invoice is "issued" (not "received"), so technically up to 70 days. Having said that, they've always paid my invoices on time and they pay reasonably well. They've also helped me out in other ways, not least with a patient introduction to CAT tools.

I won't necessarily turn down work with such payment terms, but to so so, you have to be sure your own cash flow will enable you to accept them.


This is somewhat similar to my experience. I haven't found that payment delays have any relationship with willingness/ability to pay, in the end, so I don't worry about them too much. I always try to negotiate with companies that have lengthy payment terms, but ultimately I wouldn't consider anything up to 60 days to be unusual enough to be worried about. I have one that pays in 45 days and another new one that pays in 60 (which is apparently common in Japan), while the rest pay anywhere from immediately after receiving the invoice to 30 days later.


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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:23
Romanian to English
+ ...
60 days tops, but not the only rule Nov 16, 2016

Max Deryagin wrote:

Tom in London wrote:

I work with an Italian agency in Milan that pays after 100 (one hundred) days without being reminded and another in Rome that pays after 90 days and usually needs a reminder. But they do pay. I'm not happy about this but so long as I have an income stream from a range of different clients, I don't lose any sleep about these two, although I dream of the day when I will be so well supplied with other clients that I can tell them both to get lost.


Well, I'll have you know that both of these break the EU law, unless they pay you the corresponding interest (8.05% yearly for Italy). As mandated by the Late Payments Directive 2011/7/EU, the payment period for businesses must not exceed 60 days from the date of safe invoice receipt.


Max, this is a bit inaccurate. 60 days is the general rule, but not the only one:

"It should therefore remain possible for the parties to expressly agree on payment periods longer than 60 calendar days, provided, however, that such extension is not grossly unfair to the creditor." (Article 13 of the Preamble of the Late Payments Directive)
Member States shall ensure that the period for payment fixed in the contract does not exceed 60 calendar days, unless otherwise expressly agreed in the contract and provided it is not grossly unfair to the creditor within the meaning of Article 7. (Art. 3(5))

That said, I think we can say a freelancer actually depends on any particular invoice for subsistence (unlike businesses, in most cases), so an extension beyond 60 days may be deemed "grossly unfair" to the creditor.


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