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Fast money?
Thread poster: eva75

eva75
English
+ ...
Dec 31, 2006

I'm getting a little fed up (already) with having to wait for government-type initiatives or translation agencies to pay me.

My new year's resolution is to get some direct clients, as I've heard that they pay you once the job is done. Is this true?


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xxxJon O  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:04
Dutch to English
+ ...
it varies Jan 1, 2007

Some direct clients can be fantastic and pay immediately, I find they often pay higher than agencies too. However, as with everything, there are bad ones too. I'm currently chasing an overdue payment and am continually being fobbed off and assured that payment will be 'in the next couple of days'. But if you can get regular direct clients then you're doing well.

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Carole Paquis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:04
Member (2007)
English to French
Depends - as usual Jan 1, 2007

Hello,

I have a mix of agencies/direct clients...and I can say it depends.
One client (and a good one) just paid me 6 weeks late for one invoice and the other invoice 2 weeks late...because the lady was on holiday....I always knew I would get my money eventually...it was just a matter of when !
With direct clients I think the initial risk is higher : with agencies, there's the Blue Board for example...with direct outsourcer, one doesn't really know before one jumps !
However, after that initial risk, I think the relationship and the money are usually more interesting.
It would be nice to see what the others think, though.


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David Earl  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:04
Member (2007)
German to English
Agree that it varies Jan 1, 2007

I think whether the customer is an agency or a direct customer, the game is the same: how's their cash flow? If it's good, they pay promptly. If they've got problems...ya wait & hope.

I've had 'em pay the next day.

I've got one now, a school (to them, it was a favor for a preferred customer, I teach ESL freelance, too)...3 jobs in Oct & Nov, 1000 pages. They paid the Oct stuff, but they're waffling on the Nov. bill. (It suddenly occurred to them to ask if an "eingetragener Kaufmann" is a real German business form, and if it's subject to VAT. #) I've been e.K. since 2003 with a tax ID.)


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Carole Paquis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:04
Member (2007)
English to French
another thought Jan 1, 2007

Just another thought : ultimately, us translators tend to be very small businesses and lots of people think that they can get away with not paying us on time....I am not sure it's got anything to do with agency vs direct clients.

I keep a very close eye on invoice dates/payment dates and I follow it up very carefully. Knowing you are 'on the ball' is usually the best deterrent in case clients had some ideas....
Plus, if a client never pays on time, I am far less inclined to work at short notice or do 'just that little job'...It always works both ways.

If you have been having problems, you are right to change your strategy and look for better/faster paying clients.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 06:04
Dutch to English
+ ...
No golden rule - case of trial by error Jan 1, 2007

There is no golden rule - everything depends on your agreed terms of payment and how vigorously you enforce them.

Whilst you may find some (smaller) direct clients pay on delivery and better rates, you also have to consider how regularly they are going to send you work.

Larger corporate clients are also less likely to pay on delivery (as they have their set creditor payment runs each month and are in a position to negotiate better terms from an agency) or even give their work to a single freelancer (why should they put all their eggs in one basket?)

The ideal solution, in my view, would be to slowly weed out your late-paying clients (of any type) and replace them one-by-one over time, striking a healthy balance between finding agencies that pay decent (if not top-notch) rates and some (better paying) direct client work.

It has taken time but all my clients (with the exception of one very old and trusted client who is never late on our agreed 45 days), pay within 30 days now. I simply don't accept new work on other terms.

Unfortunately, there is no overnight solution.

Good luck
Deborah





[Edited at 2007-01-01 14:47]


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 08:04
Turkish to English
+ ...
Private individuals good payers Jan 1, 2007

In my experience private individuals who want things like love letters translated never default.
With companies, I would agree with the above comments that practices vary - some pay promptly as a matter of practice, some only pay once pressure is applied. The strongest weapon in our armoury is that we can refuse to do any further work until previous invoices are settled. This is why reputable agencies can be relied on to pay up (eventually). With companies, I think a lot depends on whether they want to build up a regular relationship with a translator or if the job is just a 'one off'. In the latter case there is unfortunately not a lot of incentive for them to pay promptly.


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Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 13:04
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Quite True Jan 1, 2007

In my experience with direct clients, they agree with my requirement for up-front payment or payment before delivery. There is no problem so far.

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Daniela Warman
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:04
English to French
+ ...
Small businesses - Pay on time Jan 1, 2007

Carole Paquis wrote:

Just another thought : ultimately, us translators tend to be very small businesses and lots of people think that they can get away with not paying us on time....I am not sure it's got anything to do with agency vs direct clients.

I keep a very close eye on invoice dates/payment dates and I follow it up very carefully. Knowing you are 'on the ball' is usually the best deterrent in case clients had some ideas....
Plus, if a client never pays on time, I am far less inclined to work at short notice or do 'just that little job'...It always works both ways.

If you have been having problems, you are right to change your strategy and look for better/faster paying clients.





I agree. In the UK, you can agree to be part of the Better Payment Practice who strive to improve the situation and have handy templates like reminders, etc. as well as a tool used to calculate late interest (which you may or may not want to charge depending on the client).

If you want to check it out, it is www.payontime.co.uk (you can even put their logo on your letterhead/invoice, if you decide to join).


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