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New client, should I wait for first payment before accepting more jobs?
Thread poster: Heike Reagan

Heike Reagan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:15
Member (2004)
German to English
May 20, 2005

Hello all,
I've a new client (not through proz and he's not in blueboard, I've put out a call but no postings yet)
I've done several small translations and now a bigger one, he's emailed me back that one of my translation was a very bad quality, not usable at all and they've lost the client because of this (part of the problem was that they reformatted my file and lost half of my translation. I re-sent it and pointed out that it was not my fault, I had sent it originally). Anyway, I am getting the feeling I might not get paid. However, the first payments aren't even due for another 2 weeks. Now he's coming back with another small job. Should I accept it or ask him to sent payment first? What do you all think, how have you handled a situation like this before?

After the complaint-emails he's sent me, I'm not even sure if I still do want to work for them...


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xxxsonja29
Spanish to English
+ ...
Get paid first and then consider... May 20, 2005

... whether you want to keep doing business with this client.

Something is wrong here: on the one hand they rush to complain about how your translation cost them a client and then they offer you a new assignment? Besides, even if you had cost them the client (which you didn't), you should still get paid regardless.

HTH a bit...

With all good wishes.

Sonja


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Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 17:15
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Personal opinion May 20, 2005

If your client is NOT a huge company with a well-established business and a solid past in the field, I would NOT accept any other projects before I got my check in the mail...

I've recently made the mistake (?) of accepting two small articles to be translated for an individual, who now I know has used other two colleagues through Proz.com at the same time to have the whole project complete. She hasn't paid any of us yet...

The thing is that you cannot know for sure, not even avoid, if someone has bad intentions. There are some pieces of advice you can take to save yourself some time and trouble, but just to be cautious I'll never work on two - big or small - projects in a row coming from the same NEW client without receiving a check between them.

Good luck!

[Edited at 2005-05-20 20:30]

[Edited at 2005-05-20 20:31]

[Edited at 2005-05-20 20:32]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:15
English to Spanish
+ ...
You Have Doubts May 20, 2005

Your gut feeling is they may not pay you and it's also based on past experience. How many times do you have to put your hand on the stove to know you will get burned?

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xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 02:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
wait May 20, 2005

I wouldn't accept the new work or any further jobs until you see that they pay as agreed and on time. (Actually, based on what you've described, I probably wouldn't take any more work from them at all.)

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xxxsarahl
Local time: 17:15
English to French
+ ...
if you have to ask... May 20, 2005

I would certainly insist on being paid... then cut my losses.

This client sounds like bad news, they blame you for the loss of a client, then they send you more work? Nice try indeed.

You're already standing to lose money here, as they owe you for the first jobs you did for them. Based on this kind of track record, would you trust them again?

You should probably ask them to pay you for those jobs, to "close those deals before you start another one" then be too busy to accept the bigger job.

FWIW

Sarah

[Edited at 2005-05-20 20:09]


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Judy Rojas  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 22:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
Wait May 20, 2005

Hi:
If they said they lost a client because of your poor quality. I would wait.

Just tell them you are just too busy right now, but to please consider you for future jobs.

Make sure you keep copies of all correspondence just in case you have to place them in the Blue Board if they do not pay you.

Regards,

Ricardo


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Anabel Martínez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:15
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
strange attitude May 20, 2005

They blamed you for the loss of a you they lost a client but then they give you more work? That's a very strange behaviour. I mean, if I had a translation company and someone really made me lose a client, I wouldn't give him another job.

In my own experience, it just happened to me once, and I can tell you that the agency who did that was not the best to deal with. They have always paid me, in fairness, but they were the kind who made you translate into a language which wasn't your mother tongue, paid very low rates and made me work through the weekend, giving me a job a Friday evening (for the same money, of course). So, if I were you, I would at least wonder why they give you more projects, if they blamed you.

[Edited at 2005-05-21 11:17]


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Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:15
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
They're contradicting themselves. May 20, 2005

The agency is contradicting themselves - first they complain about your work and claim they've lost a client because of it, and now they want you to do another project for them? It seems very odd indeed and a little suspicious.

I agree with what the others have suggested - your gut feeling is that something is not quite right here, so wait and see what happens without the payment before you go any further with this client.

Let us know how it all works out,

Rebecca.


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Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:15
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...

MODERATOR
Ask for partial payment before taking on a new job May 20, 2005

Heike Reagan wrote:

I've done several small translations and now a bigger one
....

the first payments aren't even due for another 2 weeks.
Now he's coming back with another small job. Should I accept it or ask him to sent payment first?


Hello Heike,

Even though I only had ONE client that never paid me for my work in my 13 years as a translator, I know exactly how you feel. I can never trust a *new* client a 100% until they pay me for the first job, even if they are large, well-established, have outstanding reviews on the Blue Board, etc. Especially when the first project is small, then they come back with a very large one before payment for the first one is due. What I recommend is asking for partial payment for the first job or partial payment *upfront* for the new one. If they refuse to pay, you refuse the job. Most likely you would have payment issues with them sooner or later, so it's best to say goodbye to them before you suffer considerable losses!

HTH,
Ildiko


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shfranke  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:15
English to Arabic
+ ...
Cut your losses with that firm and grow your business with other clients May 20, 2005

Greetings.

That entire situation with the firm seems very "shakey and flakey."

My suggestion would be to cut your losses with that firm and grow your business with other clients.

As other posters mentioned in this thread, that firm's business model is inconsistent by its such unreasonable (incredible in some aspects) business practices.

HTH.

Regards,

Stephen H. Franke
San Pedro, California


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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:15
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Follow your feelings and intuition May 20, 2005

If you do not feel right about this client (I would certainly NOT), then just do not work for them anymore.
They are contradicting themselves: once they tell you that your translation was bad, and then they want to hire you again. Hmmm, if I hired once a translator who did not deliver good quality translation, I would never go back to the same person.
Common sense I believe.


Have a great weekend,
Monika


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Heike Reagan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:15
Member (2004)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all May 21, 2005

for your help and opinions. I've done translation for ca. 6 months actively now and have had no bad experiences so far. But - I know it has to happen sooner or later.
- and this just goes to show me that it's important that we all make our blueboard entries on all our clients, good or not so good. I know I will be better about it from now on!

I appreciate all your messages.
Good luck and "good clients" to all of you

Heike


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:15
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
When there is doubt - there is no doubt. May 21, 2005

Rebecca has it. If you lost them a client, they'd be crazy to want to work with you again.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:15
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
If small, then risk it, I say. May 21, 2005

Heike Reagan wrote:
However, the first payments aren't even due for another 2 weeks. Now he's coming back with another small job. Should I accept it or ask him to sent payment first?


If it's a small job, I'd take the risk. The fact that he came back to you even though he said you did a bad job, might mean something. If it's a large job, fake busyness until he pays.


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