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Fast turnaround - slow payment
Thread poster: Ildiko Santana

Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:29
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...

May 17, 2007

Dear Colleagues,

I have been wondering about this for some time now. I have a regular client who has always paid me, the projects are interesting, communication is good. However.... It has been the standard procedure for many months now that they need the translation within a few days, while sticking to their payment policy of payment on the 15th of the second month following delivery. While I do realize I always get paid, eventually, it still bothers me that I keep doing rush jobs and they take so long to pay. Am I overly sensitive when I feel their method is unfair and disrespectful toward the translator?

Just recently I had the opposite experience with a brand new client who, upon receipt of the (very urgent) translation, said "We needed your services on a tight deadline, it is only fair that you get your fee just as fast" and they did pay me within three days!

What do you all think? Is it worth trying to humbly persuade the slow-payer to change their payment practices when it comes to rush jobs?

Thanks so much for your input.


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 06:29
German to English
Project management vs. bookkeeping dept. May 17, 2007

Many agencies have a fixed cut-off date for receipt of invoices as well as a fixed payment date, which in many cases is the midddle/end of the month following the submission of the invoice. The green eyeshade people don't care what the deadline was and how hard you worked. In many, if not most cases, there's little communication between production and bookkeeping. Smaller agencies are frequently more flexible about this, but for the most part, you're stuck with the payment schedule.

One way I've compensated for this is taking on agencies that pay in 30 days, others who pay in 45 days, and other clients who pay more or less immediately, and adjusting my billing cycle so that I have money coming in every 2 weeks.

That said, you're better off with clients who pay on a schedule, even if it's disadvantageous to you, than to have to chase after clients for payment.

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