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Time of payment
Thread poster: Mari Noller
Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:53
English to Norwegian
+ ...
May 21, 2005

I have a lot of clients who refuses to pay me within the end of the month (30 day period). They claim their accountant has a lot of work to do and they need 60 days to complete their payment.
Other clients (mostly agencies) use up to 90 (!) days to complete the payment.

Do I really have to put up with this or what should I do when I have completed the job and they won't pay me for another three months!

Even translators have bills to pay


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Elvira Stoianov  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Local time: 11:53
German to Romanian
+ ...
most of my clients pay within 30 days, but... May 21, 2005

I've seen posts on ProZ that especially clients in France, Japan and I think Belgium pay later (60-90 days). Could it be that your clients are in those countries?

Usually I don't mind if a client pays later, as long as he pays at the agreed date, as I usually have some reserves that I can use for "emergencies".


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Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:53
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes May 21, 2005

Some of them are from Japan and Belgium. I've had some Scandinavian clients and they always pay within the end of the month. Which is what I prefer as I find it difficult to keep track of everyone when the payment terms are so different.

I have a hard time understanding exactly why 90 days is required to complete a payment, regardless of the country.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:53
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
If the money's good, keep on doing it. May 21, 2005

dinamin wrote:
I have a lot of clients who refuses to pay me within the end of the month (30 day period). ... Do I really have to put up with this or what should I do when I have completed the job and they won't pay me for another three months!


Unfortunately you'll find clients who only pay you on 90 days. That's the risk you take when doing private practice on your own. Best thing to do if you know you have several large clients who pay late, is to supplement your client portfolio with high paying early payers. Sounds nice in theory, but...

You can get snooty and say "I won't work for you again unless you abide by my payment terms", but how many clients will you lose? Alternatively you can consider charging interest on late payments, but I'm not sure how legally enforcable that is in your region.


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xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 11:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
what were the terms? May 21, 2005

You and the client should have agreed on the terms of payment before you accepted the job. If the terms were 30 days, then you shouldn't have to wait beyond that time.

As Elvira said, 60-90 days is not uncommon in certain countries. Agencies often use these terms with their translators because they're the same terms they have with their clients--they want to get paid before they pay you. Whether you accept those terms or not is up to you--you obviously don't have to go along with them, but it is very possible that the client will tell you to forget it if you ask for your own (30-day) terms. In any case, this is something that should be established before you agree to do the work.

With regard to keeping track of when payments are due, I enter my payment due dates on a month-at-a-glance calendar every time I send an invoice, so I always know which payments are due, coming due or past due.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:53
Flemish to English
+ ...
Euroguidlines with regard to late payments: dead letter. May 21, 2005

In the E.U. as a whole it should be 30 days.

In Le Moniteur belge : http://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/cgi/welcome.pl

you will find " The Belgian law with regard to late payments (Loi concernant la lutte contre le retard de paiement dans les transactions commerciales 2 AOUT 2002)is the implementation of

http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/regulation/late_payments/index.htm

follow up of this guideline:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/regulation/late_payments/implementation.htm

In my opinion, in our line of business this guideline changed nothing. Old habits die hard.

From the day the job is finished until the day you get payment, you give credit to the outsourcer. If the outsourcer/agency gets paid after 30 days and pays you after 60 to 90 days, it earns the difference between the rate paid to you and the rate their customer paid plus 30-60 days interest. Multiply this by a number of translators and you generate a handsome interest for the agency. Only if everybody starts turning down work from late payors or avoid them, payment habits will change.



[Edited at 2005-05-21 19:25]


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:53
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
with a steady flow of work payment terms don't matter May 21, 2005

If you have a steady flow of work you basically don't need to worry about payment terms as long as payment is made on time. Of course, at the start it's difficult but I think once you've established yourself your main priority should be ensuring the highest possible rates, timely payment and minimising risk. If you are paid well, on time, every time longer payment terms are totally irrelevant imho.

I normally suggest 30 days as my standard payment terms but this is not an issue I stand my ground on during negotiations -unlike rates. As it happens, I have 3 clients who paypal me within a few days of my finishing the project, a few who pay within 30-45 days and 1 (French) client who pays 60 days from the end of the month.


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Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:53
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
EU: 30 days only if not agreed otherwise May 21, 2005

Williamson wrote:
In the E.U. as a whole it should be 30 days.


Wishful thinking... Within the EU 30 days is set as a 'benchmark', it's not mandatory.

If another payment term is agreed upon (mostly 60 days) then that payment term counts. The Guideline (and its implementation in the various member states) then grants you interest on outstanding payments after that:
"SMEs will benefit from a statutory right to interest 30 days after the date of the invoice, unless another payment period has been negotiated in the contract. However, any agreement on the payment period is not enforceable if it is grossly unfair to the creditor. No reminder will be necessary in order to collect interest on arrears since late payment constitutes in itself a breach of contract that should be automatically sanctioned."
http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/regulation/late_payments/index.htm

I prefer to work for companies that pay in 30 days, but if a good customer pays in 60 days, after surviving the first 'gap' I do not mind that much - if the work is regular, the payments also become regular. It is often possible to negotiate a 'first job' payment in 30 days.

Anjo


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Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 02:53
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
30-day rule May 22, 2005

I use Quicken when creating invoices and it automatically enters the current date and calculates the 30-day period in order to have the deadline set to a business day.

I usually don't have problems with my clients, who sent me the checks in about two or three weeks after the project has been complete. Some prefer to use PayPal and usually pay me on the following day -- I even have an amazingly professional client who sometimes transfers the payment to PayPal while I'm still translating the documents.

Whenever a client does not send me a check according to the deadline shown on the invoice, I send a copy of the invoice again with a kind reminder. (Quicken is such a great program that it even lets you know when a payment is due!) This works pretty well with those who are so overwhelmed with multiple projects going on that some deadlines slip their minds.

What you could do is talk to them and try to stablish something that could work for everybody in the end. If it's a mid-sized project, let's say, a little more than a $1,000 USD, you could try to make them pay you in installments. You can write on your invoice that the company can pay you $500 in 30 days and $500 in 45-60 days.

I think deep down it's all about trusting and building this translator-agency relationship.

Good luck!)


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:53
Flemish to English
+ ...
Growth May 22, 2005

One of my acquaintances has been working as a freelance IT-er for the past ten years. Except for a few rare exceptions, all his invoices of €450 for a day's work are due after 30 days and except for a few exceptions he has always been paid like clockwork.
It allowed him to built his business from scratch and grow.

A multinational of packages has a credit policy of 14 days, i.e. 14 days after signing for receipt of your package the sender or recipient get an invoice. If you do not pay after 14 days, you get a reminder within a fortnight. If you do not pay then you get letter from their lawyer.

Payment terms do not depend upon country. I wonder what happens if in Belgium,France, Italy or Spain, you pay your electricity bills after 60 to 90 days? Utilities tend to have short term payment terms usually a fortnight.

It is only by having a stringent credit policy that you will stay alive in business. Of course, you can have a few exceptions to your rules, but if we all strive to get paid after 30 days that might become the norm. I think that this period is reasonable and applied in most sectors of business life.


[Edited at 2005-05-22 07:10]


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Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:53
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Exactly my point May 22, 2005

You cannot tell your bank to await the payment of your mortage because you haven't been paid for your translation work yet.
But, I've only just started translating full time so I assume it will all work out in the end.
However, I prefer to know *why* I have to wait 90 days for the payment to complete.


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