Risk with new French client registered as UK business
Thread poster: Sara Freitas

Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 09:02
French to English
Feb 14, 2006

Hi.

I am looking for a bit of advice concerning a new (potential) direct client.

This is actually a French operation registered as a business in the UK (I found them on the Companies House Web site, they have a company number and a London address at International House and registered their business in October of last year).

Their Web site is under construction and I have found just one reference to them on the Web as the designers of another Web site. Other than that, there's absolutely nothing about them on the Web.

The only phone number they have given me is a French cell phone number. They did not provide me with a VAT number.

They say they have a local office (and I will be going over in person to collect the signed purchase order and terms of sale if this goes through), so I can at least check that out in person.

I have seen the project I'd be working on and it is for a very large and well-known organization in France.

So here's my question. I have a bad feeling about potential non-payment here due to the fact that this operation was just recently registered in the UK and doesn't have a "real" address or phone number. Should I go so far as to demand up-front payment?

All opinions welcome. I tend to err on the side of caution, but I don't want to go overboard, either.

Thanks!

Sara

[Edited at 2006-02-14 12:25]


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Sylvain Leray  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:02
Member (2003)
German to French
Up-front payment Feb 14, 2006

Sara Freitas-Maltaverne wrote:

Should I go so far as to demand up-front payment?



I would, Sara. As it is a direct client, and given the lack of information, you will see at his/her reaction if it is a serious person or not. I think 1/3 of the total estimated amount is not too much asked for an up-front payment.


Je croise les doigts
Sylvain


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 09:02
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Sylvain. Feb 14, 2006

When I go over to their "office" (or whatever it is...not listed in Yellow Pages) tomorrow to pick up the PO and signed terms of sale, I will ask for a deposit check.

Thought I was just being paranoid, but better to be safe than sorry, I guess. I have never not been paid and I would like to keep it that way!

I will let you know what happens!

S


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 00:02
English to French
+ ...
How big is the contract? Feb 14, 2006

Hi Sara (lovely name btw)

How big is the contract? It can be a good idea to give new clients a trial run of sorts with a smaller contract so as to minimize the risk. If the contract is for a lot of money, how about you ask them to pay in full upfront? A number of service providers do it all the time...

Just my two cents.


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 09:02
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
It's about two days' work. Feb 15, 2006

I think I will ask for a deposit. Or, if I get a bad feeling when I visit their "offices" later today I'll just forget about it.

I'll let you know.

Sara


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 09:02
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Everything is fine... Feb 15, 2006

Got a deposit check in euros for the full amount and the signed PO. They were completely cool with that.

I will hold the check until I receive the wire transfer from the U.K. 30 days after the work is invoiced as per the PO.

Thanks for the advice!

Sara

[Edited at 2006-02-15 15:39]


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Sylvain Leray  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:02
Member (2003)
German to French
Well... Feb 15, 2006

Sounds good

Glad to read this !
Sylvain


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