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How to assure payment from bad payers?
Thread poster: Anabel Martínez

Anabel Martínez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:54
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 10, 2006

Hi everyone,

A few months ago I made a project for this company, based in my city, who told me they would pay me when the end client did. I was a newbie to the world of freelancing then and did not realize what those words implied. Well, to make a long story short, I received payment from them, a couple of months after I threatened them via email repeatedly and after many phone calls with the PM who was never in the office or was always in a meeting.

Well, this guy has contacted me again to offer me another project, stating that this long-term client of his pays much faster. I am aware that it is best to stay clear from such clients, but I wonder if any of you deal with such cases differently, e.g. by signing an agreement and/or asking for half or all the payment in advance. What do you do in such cases?

Thanks in advance for your advice!

Anabel


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Branka Stankovic McCarthy  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 20:54
English to Serbian
+ ...
YOUR terms Jun 10, 2006

Clearly state to your terms of payment - invoice payable in so many days - and get the confirmation in writing from them that they've agreed to your terms.
It shouldn't be your concern when the agency gets paid by the client.


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xxxdf49f
France
Local time: 20:54
you can't ! Jun 10, 2006

Anabel Martínez wrote:
How to assurance payment from bad payers?


You can't! whatever you do, contract clauses or not, they'll pay - or not pay - exactly when and if they decide to. And we never have any recourse against crooks like that
If they did it once, and they'll do it again, because that's their usual business practice.
Branca is right, it is not our concern when (or if) agencies get paid from their end-client. - and that practice is also unacceptable.


Anabel Martínez wrote:
What do you do in such cases?


I stay away from them!
The only other alternative is to get them to give you the payment at the same time as you hand in the job (if they're in your city, you can make the delivery personally), or to have them wire you the money to your bank account BEFORE you turn in your translation.


df

[Edited at 2006-06-10 11:00]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:54
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Find better clients Jun 10, 2006

It is as simple as that. Several agencies have not paid me, or have paid an instalment and not finished paying. I am too busy to chase them for it. The main point is that I did a decent translation for them, and proofread it very carefully. If they wanted to be able to benefit from my services again they would have paid me in full. Now they will never get another translation from me - not ever - by their own choice. Who is the loser? Certainly I am not, as I am busy working for clients who pay me the right amount, either on time or early.

To put it more crudely, don't return to your vomit. Keep on looking for new clients, all the time. That's what business is about. It's also about risk. With each new client you take a risk on whether they will pay you, or pay you in full, or when. If you are not prepared to take such risks, you won't make it as a freelancer. You can limit risk a little bit, e.g. by checking their reputation on the Blue Board before accepting a job. At the stage where they prove to be a bad payer, however, you simply don't work for them again and start marketing your services elsewhere.

Astrid


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:54
Member
English to Turkish
The answer is in your posting Jun 10, 2006

He says

that this long-term client of his pays much faster.



which means their attitude hasn't changed: they make it a condition that they will pay you if and when the client pays.


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Annabelle Vergne  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:54
English to French
+ ...
How to impose your terms of payment to agencies? Jun 10, 2006

"Clearly state to your terms of payment - invoice payable in so many days - and get the confirmation in writing from them that they've agreed to your terms. "

Branka, that's a good idea, but what do you do when their terms of payment on their PO's, are longer than you wish? So far agencies I've dealt with have different terms and apparently it is take it or leave it. Most of the time it is 30 to 60 or more days.
Can you realistically, as a freelancer, have an agency agree in writing on YOUR terms of payment?
All ideas and real experiences welcome!


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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 13:54
Spanish to English
Don't trust the blue board Jun 11, 2006

I had a client who didn't pay me for an enormous job that took two of us over a month of full time work and my grading of her was deleted from the blue board, so she continues to have an average of 5.

So use the blueboard as only a very rough guidance.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:54
English to German
+ ...
Blue Board rules Jun 11, 2006

Lesley,
Lesley Clarke wrote:

I had a client who didn't pay me for an enormous job that took two of us over a month of full time work and my grading of her was deleted from the blue board, so she continues to have an average of 5.

You should include the reason why your entry was removed. According to the BB rules, entries "are allowed only when (1) commissioned work has been completed in full and delivered on time, and (2) there have not been complaints related to quality shortly after delivery."

According to the correspondence you submitted, a complaint was raised and substantiated by the outsourcer; therefore, your entry was removed. As I explained to you at the time, Jobs/BB moderators cannot get involved in checking individual jobs.

It's perfectly ok for you to claim a different point of view (which I can fully understand from your perspective) - but I believe the reasons behind the removal of your entry should not be left unmentioned.

So use the blueboard as only a very rough guidance.

I agree that the BB should not be used as your only source of information, not should you take average LWA levels at face value. It's always a good idea to check the authors of entries posted: contacting them to ask for comments may indeed be useful.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 13:54
Spanish to English
Ralf Jun 11, 2006

Ralf, you know yourself I have never hidden the facts that the client complained within fifteen minutes of receiving 500 pages of work, but on this occasion I did not think it was necessary on this occasion to go into all the details.

I did deliver all the work and her complaint amounted to having found a "the" where there should have been a "this". In total there were about ten mistakes in 500 pages.

This client is a lawyer, not a translator and does not even know Spanish.

If she hadn't refused to pay, I would have received 3.5 cents a word for this. I was altogether foolish in accepting such a big job from a complete stranger and at such a low rate. But I would like people to know about this.

How can you expect me to trust the Blue Board when it is impossible for me to warn other people about this treatment?

You do not ask for proof from anyone who claims that she is an excellent outsourcer and gives her a 5. If my complaint had stayed it would have still been surrounded by those others who mysteriously give her a 5, but it would have at least given other translators a hint that they could have problems with her.


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Nizamettin Yigit  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:54
Dutch to Turkish
+ ...
From previous posts Jun 11, 2006

Anabel Martínez wrote:

Hi everyone,
...what those words implied. Well, to make a long story short, I received payment from them, a couple of months after I threatened them via email repeatedly and after many phone calls with the PM who was never in the office or was always in a meeting.

Well, this guy has contacted me again to offer me another project, stating that this long-term client of his pays much faster. ...

What do you do in such cases?


Anabel


Hi Anabel, In your text you are mentioning what he says.
"...stating that this long-term client of his pays much faster. ..."
Here he is letting you know that his response to the previous project "SLOW PAYER". Means that not only his client but also him as well.

A while ago in one of the threads they suggested to take the second project from a slow payer, complete it on time submit it as password protected file and when they asked ask payment in exchange with password.

I know this is not the best method, yet it is a way of asking or assuring money.

Good luck!


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Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2002)
Swedish
+ ...
Leave this client Jun 11, 2006

Hi Anabel,

There is no way to assure payment from a bad payer. Also, I don't see any reason at all that we should invest energy and try to a bad payer a good payer. Experience shows that a bad payer very seldom changes behaviour.

A far better method is to leave this client and start searching for better clients (not only faster payer, if possibly also better rates).

It has been said several times in different fora here on ProZ, but we still need to repeat this: You have an agreement with your client, concerning price, payment terms etc, and not with your client's client . Thus it's totaly irrelevant if/when your client's client, or whoever are the links of the long chain from the original source to the translator, will pay for the translation service.

We as translators are often the very last link in this chain, so any translator who accepts getting payment first when his/her client has been paid have to understand that this will take a very long time. In some cases you can wait forever for your money.

Whenever we work with freelance translators, most invoices are paid either immediately or at the very latest within 10 days. It doesn't matter if our client has paid us or not. After all, any agency who doesn't have enough financial resources to pay their freelance translators on time should consider changing their strategy (or maybe close business).

Erik

**********************************
Erik Hansson ( SFÖ )
Technical translator DE-SV
Hansson Übersetzungen GmbH
Am Birkenwäldchen 38
D-01900 Bretnig-Hauswalde, Germany
Phone +49 - 3 59 52 - 321 07
Fax +49 - 3 59 52 - 322 02
E-Mail info@hansson.de
Internet www.hansson.de
Internet www.technical-translators.net
Internet www.wintitus.de
ProZ profile http://www.proz.com/pro/21654
***********************************



[Bearbeitet am 2006-06-12 05:41]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:54
English to German
+ ...
Financial resources are essential Jun 11, 2006

Fully agree with Erik:

Whenever we work with freelance translators, most invoices are paid either immediately or at the very lastes within 10 days. It doesn't matter if our client has paid us or not. After all, any agency who doesn't have enough financial resources to pay their freelance translators on time should consider changing their strategy (or maybe close business).

The latter, actually.

Best, Ralf


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Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:54
English to Russian
+ ...
my opinion Jun 11, 2006

Anabel Martínez wrote:

Hi everyone,

A few months ago I made a project for this company, based in my city, who told me they would pay me when the end client did. I was a newbie to the world of freelancing then and did not realize what those words implied. Well, to make a long story short, I received payment from them, a couple of months after I threatened them via email repeatedly and after many phone calls with the PM who was never in the office or was always in a meeting.

Well, this guy has contacted me again to offer me another project, stating that this long-term client of his pays much faster. I am aware that it is best to stay clear from such clients, but I wonder if any of you deal with such cases differently, e.g. by signing an agreement and/or asking for half or all the payment in advance. What do you do in such cases?

Thanks in advance for your advice!

Anabel


I propose a very short and a very straightforward wording of a message to this very agency: "ADVANCE payment of ... usd. Take it or leave it"

Please specify the amount yourself.


[Edited at 2006-06-11 21:09]


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Jerónimo Fernández  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agree with Sergei Jun 11, 2006

Sergei Tumanov wrote:
I propose a very short and a very straightforward wording of a message to this very agency: "ADVANCE payment of ... usd. Take it or leave it"

Please specify the amount yourself.


[Edited at 2006-06-11 21:09]


I totally agree with Sergei if for whatever reasojn you don't want to stop collaborating with this agency.


Cheers,
Jerónimo


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:54
Member
English to Turkish
Delivering a password-protected file Jun 11, 2006

is not something I for one would ever consider. A business relationship should be based on mutual trust and respect, not on cunning strategies. Better to invest the energy and adrenaline on marketing efforts and establishing long-term relationships with decent and honest clients, instead of a 'war against the enemy' sort of plan.

Nizam wrote:
A while ago in one of the threads they suggested to take the second project from a slow payer, complete it on time submit it as password protected file and when they asked ask payment in exchange with password.


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