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Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
Poll: How long do you usually wait before sending a payment reminder?
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 16:33
SITE STAFF
Nov 20, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How long do you usually wait before sending a payment reminder?".

This poll was originally submitted by Lenah Susianty. View the poll results »



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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:33
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
< 10 days Nov 20, 2011

It can be up to one week, but I tend to reduce this. Because I have noticed that in most cases, if clients have not paid right in time (+/- 1-2 days) , that's because they forgot about it for some reason (lost my invoice, etc.) and they will do the payment as soon as I remind them. So it makes no sense to wait and wait: the sooner you tell them, the sooner you get paid.

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:33
Member (2006)
German to English
It depends on the Nov 20, 2011

project, but more, on the customer

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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:33
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
More than 30 days?? Nov 20, 2011

As of now, some 12% of respondents have indicated that they wait more than 30 days after payment is due before sending a reminder [!]. Another 6 percent indicate that they send no reminders at all [!!].

I am sure their clients are very appreciative of such leniency....

I myself don't wait more than 3-5 days, which I think is lenient indeed. After all, I am sure that none of my clients would wait more than a few hours after an agreed delivery deadline before e-mailing me with a "reminder."

[Edited at 2011-11-20 09:09 GMT]


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Paul Stevens  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:33
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Astonished Nov 20, 2011


Robert Forstag wrote:

As of now, some 12% of respondents have indicated that they wait more than 30 days after payment is due before sending a reminder [!]. Another 6 percent indicate that they send no reminders at all [!!].

I am sure their clients are very appreciative of such leniency....

I myself don't wait more than 3-5 days, which I think is lenient indeed. After all, I am sure that none of my clients would wait more than a few hours after an agreed delivery deadline before e-mailing me with a "reminder."

[Edited at 2011-11-20 09:09 GMT]


I couldn't agree more, Robert. I am amazed that less than 32% of answerers (as the poll results currently stand) send a payment reminder within 10 days of payment due date. This may go some way to explaining why some clients tend to pay late - perhaps they have come to EXPECT that they can pay late because translators are so poor at chasing for their money.

At the end of the day, this is a business that we are all running and perhaps some translators need to take a good long look at their business practices if they are waiting as long as 10 days after the due date to chase their clients for their money!

[Edited at 2011-11-20 09:27 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-11-20 09:28 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-11-20 09:30 GMT]


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neilmac
Spain
Local time: 01:33
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
A matter of opinion Nov 20, 2011

[quote]Paul Stevens wrote:


Robert Forstag wrote:
I am amazed that less than 32% of answerers (as the poll results currently stand) send a payment reminder within 10 days of payment due date. This may go some way to explaining why some clients tend to pay late - perhaps they have come to EXPECT that they can pay late because translators are so poor at chasing for their money.

At the end of the day, this is a business that we are all running and perhaps some translators need to take a good long look at their business practices if they are waiting as long as 10 days after the due date to chase their clients for their money!


It is nobody's business except mine how long I decide to wait for payment, or go about extracting it if problems arise.

Sending reminders after ten days to me represents a, grasping, unseemly hurry, the equivalent of telling your clients "I am desperate for cash, and don't really trust you to eventually pay me"... which is not the way I like to go about my "business".
Official bodies, fo example (government departments, NGOs...) have protracted, labyrinthine disbursement procedures and on occasion I have even waited over a year to be paid for larger projects.

Then there are some direct clients who are market researchers, and I know that they often have to wait until longer studies are completed before they receive payment from the end client. I am also prepared to wait several months for these clients, since I like to be as flexible as possible. "Do unto others"...
What I am trying to say here is that not every client is a big corporation that can pump out cash will-nilly at the drop of a hat, so I think a bit of give and take is called for.


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:33
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
I don't have to ! Nov 20, 2011

Basically I don't send payment reminders because I don't have to.

I have different terms depending on clients (direct or agency, big company or colleague, in France or not...) and clients keep to these.
The only rare times I had to send a reminder was with new agencies, and this was the end of our collaboration too.

Of course I control and follow the process with TO3000.


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 01:33
English to French
+ ...
Agree Nov 20, 2011

[quote]neilmac wrote:


Paul Stevens wrote:


Robert Forstag wrote:
I am amazed that less than 32% of answerers (as the poll results currently stand) send a payment reminder within 10 days of payment due date. This may go some way to explaining why some clients tend to pay late - perhaps they have come to EXPECT that they can pay late because translators are so poor at chasing for their money.

At the end of the day, this is a business that we are all running and perhaps some translators need to take a good long look at their business practices if they are waiting as long as 10 days after the due date to chase their clients for their money!


It is nobody's business except mine how long I decide to wait for payment, or go about extracting it if problems arise.

(...)

What I am trying to say here is that not every client is a big corporation that can pump out cash will-nilly at the drop of a hat, so I think a bit of give and take is called for.


Other places, other ways...
Those who are in such a hurry must have plenty of time to check day after day (hour after hour) what payments have been made.
I check at the end of the year and/or when I have no work. Had time earlier this year to remind a customer there was still an outstanding amount on an invoice of April 2005


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:33
Flemish to English
+ ...
A simple rule. Nov 20, 2011

Delivery on time, payment on time.

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:33
Member
English to German
+ ...
It depends on the client Nov 20, 2011

I am absolutely merciless with new clients, and a reminder will be sent after 24 hours. New clients must realize that they are "on probation".
Regulars who have tried to kill me with work for more than half a decade will receive a friendly and humorous reminder after 7-10 days.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:33
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Agreed! Nov 20, 2011


Sophie Dzhygir wrote:

It can be up to one week, but I tend to reduce this. Because I have noticed that in most cases, if clients have not paid right in time (+/- 1-2 days) , that's because they forgot about it for some reason (lost my invoice, etc.) and they will do the payment as soon as I remind them. So it makes no sense to wait and wait: the sooner you tell them, the sooner you get paid.


I have also noticed that some clients, especially agencies (perhaps due to the number of invoices they receive), simply forget the payment. A friendly reminder usually solves the problem (whether it comes after 2 days or after 365.25 days).

In those rare cases where late payments seem to be "common practice", I simply stop working for these clients, because I do have more important things on my agenda than to chase after each and every payment.


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Marc Cordes  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:33
Member
English to German
+ ...
In the eye of the beholder Nov 20, 2011


neilmac wrote:

Sending reminders after ten days to me represents a, grasping, unseemly hurry, the equivalent of telling your clients "I am desperate for cash, and don't really trust you to eventually pay me"... which is not the way I like to go about my "business".


I can only partly agree to this as it is a subjective point of view either. The tone makes the music in general and this is what I usually stick to. In the end you are right that it is your personal choice how you deal with your customers but I would check the assumption you make how your customers might or might not perceive your reminder after ten days "already". Fact is that you are running a business and have agreed on certain terms (for you that might be a deadline and them the same is valid for them by paying you on time).

To be honest I would take a long and good look at customers who are paying after one year only or any other who have not taken the effort to CLEARLY define their payment terms. It does not really matter when they pay as long as the communication is a two-way road in such a case and if you agreed on something you can live with.

For me personally it would be virtually impossible to run a business like you describe without having a substantial cash pillow to bridge such droughts when they appear also considering that I have to pre-pay my invoiced income every quarter.

But again as said above and mentioned by you: It's one's own business and one will suffer the consequences of one's actions or slackness.

My 2 cents


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Paul Stevens  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:33
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Various Nov 20, 2011

@ neilmac:

I’m sorry that you seem to have taken exception to my post. You are, of course, right that it “is nobody's business except mine how long I decide to wait for payment, or go about extracting it if problems arise”. However, I stand by my comment that the fact that less than 32% (this has in fact now gone down to less than 28%!) of poll respondents send a payment reminder within 10 days of a payment due date might reflect some clients' impression that they are almost EXPECTED to pay late because, apparently, many translators either do not have effective methods in place for chasing up late payments or do not seem to be particularly concerned by missed payment dates.

As Nicole has pointed out, there are different ways of phrasing payment reminders, depending on how long you have been working with the relevant clients and what your working relationship with them is like. I work with different types of clients, Neil, and certainly not just the “big corporation that can pump out cash”, and ALL of my clients receive reminders from me promptly after a payment date has been missed, regardless of who they are. The bottom line is that, once payment terms are agreed between a translator and a client, those terms are binding in the same way that the deadline for the translator to submit the translation/proof-reading, etc. is binding and if translators do not deal with late payments effectively, I’m sure that some clients will be more than happy to take advantage of this.

I totally disagree with your comment that “sending reminders after ten days to me represents a, grasping, unseemly hurry, the equivalent of telling your clients "I am desperate for cash, and don't really trust you to eventually pay me”". The way that I view the prompt sending of payment reminders is that it shows that you are running a professional business and that, as a business professional, you expect payment terms to be complied with – no more and no less! Otherwise, what is the point of agreeing payment terms in the first place?

@ Interlangue:
Regarding your comment that “Those who are in such a hurry must have plenty of time to check day after day (hour after hour) what payments have been made.”, I would simply say that I do NOT have plenty of time to check for due payment dates “hour after hour”, but I do check them on a regular basis as I believe that I have an effective system in place which allows me to do so in literally a matter of seconds. It really isn’t a difficult or time-consuming process to set up or apply.

Finally I would say that I agree wholeheartedly with Thayenga about clients who regularly pay late – IMO they certainly are not worth the hassle or the time spent on sending the numerous reminders.


[Edited at 2011-11-20 13:24 GMT]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:33
French to English
Unless I am mistaken... Nov 20, 2011


Robert Forstag wrote:

As of now, some 12% of respondents have indicated that they wait more than 30 days after payment is due before sending a reminder [!].

... the bit in bold is your interpretation of what the question means. The question asks only "how long do you usually wait" and in fact, I came in the thread to comment that, yet again, the poll is monumentally poorly worded. It is by no means impossible, I contend, that some of the 12% wait more than 30 days after the invoice date. I don't wish to be disagreeable, but it's really hard to draw any conclusions about other freelancers' behaviour and attitudes when the question is as rotten as this one


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 02:33
Turkish to English
+ ...
My philosophy Nov 20, 2011


Robert Forstag wrote:

As of now, some 12% of respondents have indicated that they wait more than 30 days after payment is due before sending a reminder [!]. Another 6 percent indicate that they send no reminders at all [!!].

I am sure their clients are very appreciative of such leniency....

I myself don't wait more than 3-5 days, which I think is lenient indeed. After all, I am sure that none of my clients would wait more than a few hours after an agreed delivery deadline before e-mailing me with a "reminder."

[Edited at 2011-11-20 09:09 GMT]


I tend to wait a long time, in part because I do not even see why I should have to send a reminder at all. I once ran a small agency and prided myself in almost always paying a little earlier than the stipulated payment date and absolutely never late. I am at a loss as to why some people find this difficult to do - it is a simple matter of record keeping. I may wait a month or two, indignant at the idea that I should have to send a reminder at all, but will most probably never work for these people again.


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