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Poll: What payment terms do you normally accept?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 14:02
SITE STAFF
Apr 4, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What payment terms do you normally accept?".

This poll was originally submitted by ryancolm

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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xxxfinntranslat  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 00:02
English to Finnish
+ ...
This is what i do with my clients. Apr 4, 2007

Nr. 1: I will send my Invoicing Terms to the client.
Nr. 2: The customer agrees to them.
Nr. 3: The customer sends PO of the job.
Nr. 4: I will do the job.
Nr. 5: I will send the finished job, and invoice.
Nr. 6: Customer pays as agreed.

The terms i use with new clients is that for their first job they have to pay within 7 days. After the first payment, im willing to adapt to the clients wishes (if they have any).


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Thierry Jamez  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 23:02
English to French
+ ...
Respect of payment terms Apr 4, 2007

Hi,

In the past it was sometimes difficult to convince my clients to respect my payment terms.

That's why I printed "Payment Terms" on the back of my invoice, a whole page of conditions had copied on the net.

Recently one of my clients had not paid for 8 months.
I first sent him a "first reminder". A few weeks later, when it was confirmed that I would not receive any answer to that one, I sent him a new invoice where I added 50 EUR for "administrative costs" and 10 % per month of delay, with reference to the "Payment Terms".

This client - a lawyer - did pay me the whole sum within 10 days. That was a surprise!



Thierry


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:02
English to Arabic
+ ...
up to 60 days is fine Apr 4, 2007

finntranslat wrote:

for their first job they have to pay within 7 days.


I'm really curious to know how many clients accept these terms.

Usually, I accept the client's terms, and thankfully I've never come across a client who pays within more than 60 days.
Up to 30 days is ideal of course, but I also have several trusted and regular clients who pay "at the end of the month following the month in which the invoice was submitted", i.e. up to 60 days, and I believe that's fine as well.

[Edited at 2007-04-04 13:48]


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:02
English to Arabic
+ ...
>posting deleted, problem resolved< Apr 4, 2007



[Edited at 2007-04-04 17:57]


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Frances Bryce  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:02
Member (2006)
German to English
+ ...
30 days Apr 4, 2007

I stipulate 7 days for an initial invoice and then 30 days after that. I am generally happy to accept other terms if they are expressly agreed in advance.

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Erik Hansson  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2002)
Swedish
+ ...
14 days Apr 4, 2007

Thierry Jamez wrote:

Recently one of my clients had not paid for 8 months.
I first sent him a "first reminder". A few weeks later, when it was confirmed that I would not receive any answer to that one, I sent him a new invoice where I added 50 EUR for "administrative costs" and 10 % per month of delay, with reference to the "Payment Terms".

This client - a lawyer - did pay me the whole sum within 10 days. That was a surprise!



Thierry


What on earth was the reason for you to wait for 8 months before taking actions?

We normally stipulate 14 days, well aware of the fact that most clients will pay later, however often between day 15 and 30. If nothing has happened after day 45 we start asking, i.e. sending a friendly reminder or simply give the client a call. All communication after that (if necessary) is only in written and with registered letter.

Erik


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:02
Dutch to English
+ ...
Strictly 30 days from date of invoice Apr 4, 2007

Not-negotiable.

Regardless of the country.

I am fortunate to have a well-established legal translation/editing practice and so don't need - at this stage of my career - to provide longer interest-free loans to undercapitalised outsourcers.

Took a while - and some deep heel-digging at times - to get to this point, but well worth it.








[Edited at 2007-04-04 16:38]


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:02
Spanish to English
+ ...
Macho men (and women) Apr 4, 2007

Wow! I feel like I just walked into the macho man (or macho ladies) translator’s club!
I have to admit, I’m also one of those freelancers who got tough, laid down the law and told the company I work for as an in-house translator that I wouldn’t (more truthfully) couldn’t accept their 90-day payment policy. I even had the nerve to say that I wanted a direct deposit to my bank account on the first of every month and that’s what I got!

That being said, however, the poll question states, “What payment terms do you normally accept?” I think the keyword is “accept”. How many translators, interpreters or for that matter any self-employed person can tell the client when exactly they want to get paid? How many freelancers have had to swallow our pride and “accept” the clients’ conditions without a peep?

I just read a post on another translation Web site today of a translator who had to stage an impromptu sit-in at the company that was overdue in paying her! Is that an extreme?


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Reed James
Chile
Local time: 17:02
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
Business is all about trust Apr 4, 2007

Thierry Jamez wrote:

That's why I printed "Payment Terms" on the back of my invoice, a whole page of conditions had copied on the net.

Recently one of my clients had not paid for 8 months.
I first sent him a "first reminder". A few weeks later, when it was confirmed that I would not receive any answer to that one, I sent him a new invoice where I added 50 EUR for "administrative costs" and 10 % per month of delay, with reference to the "Payment Terms".

Thierry


I find that taking an action such as stating payment terms to the client is a bit excessive. I am fully aware that there are clients out there who need to be prodded in order for the translator to get paid. Nevertheless, there are definitely ways of finding out how good or how bad a potential client is before ever working for them. The Blueboard that is certainly one of these ways.

In a business relationship, both parties have to trust each other in order for the relationship to last.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:02
Dutch to English
+ ...
Stating payment terms is "excessive"/"macho"? Apr 4, 2007

Since when? It's standard business practice! Well, in the real business world at any rate.

Believe me, I'd rather have my paperwork in order then have to rock up in court with a feeble "Your Honour, I'm afraid I don't have much to go on today, except an incomplete invoice with no due date - but hey, I trusted the guy - surely that counts, right?"

And sorry to burst your bubble but business isn't all about "trust" - that's a very hollow word if you haven't got agreed, unambiguous terms to back you up.

Yes, in an ideal world, it's nice to trust your clients and know they can likewise rely on you (I'm happy to report I have that relationship with my clients), but at the end of the day you have to cover yourself - after making a proper risk assessment at the outset - by having proper terms in place.

And if stating and sticking to your own terms - just like your plumber, vet or dentist do by the way (except they normally don't give you 30-60-90 days free credit or ask you when would suit you best) - is "macho", then hell, move over Rambo, here I come

This seeming reluctance of some translators to accept they are business people, like any other professionals, and act accordingly is something I find really baffling.

Maybe because it's I entered the profession after legal practice, but how are we ever going to be taken seriously as a profession as a whole, if we can't even set our own terms or think that doing so is excessive, macho or pushy?


[Edited at 2007-04-04 21:22]


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:02
Dutch to English
+ ...
Question of Maths? Apr 4, 2007

Erik Hansson wrote:

Thierry Jamez wrote:

Recently one of my clients had not paid for 8 months.
I first sent him a "first reminder". A few weeks later, when it was confirmed that I would not receive any answer to that one, I sent him a new invoice where I added 50 EUR for "administrative costs" and 10 % per month of delay, with reference to the "Payment Terms".

This client - a lawyer - did pay me the whole sum within 10 days. That was a surprise!



Thierry


What on earth was the reason for you to wait for 8 months before taking actions?

Erik


Well at 10% per month over 8 months, he'd be doing better than any bank could offer had he banked the capital sum 8 months earlier

It's not entirely clear what you mean by the "whole sum" Thierry - did your client pay up the whole amount of your amended invoice or just your original invoice?

If not, then back to Erik's question, why wait 8 months?

Your business of course, just curious ...


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megane_wang  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:02
English to Spanish
+ ...
In Spain 90 days is not uncommon Apr 4, 2007

Unfortunately there exists an UE directive which urges all UE governments to modify their laws to forbid any payment beyond 30 days after invoice date...

... but in Spain no one seems to have noticed that. Well: it's rather new, though, I think it was written only some 15 years ago, HAHAHAHAHA !!!! (in spanish we say "es mejor reír que llorar" - Laughing is better than crying)

So...
Let's suffer from 90-day payments on 20th day...
Let's suffer from 120-day payments from big advertising companies that pay within 30 days in any other place in the world... (*)
Let's suffer from 180-day payments from public offices...
Let's get 30-day payments from time to time...

... and look for right-paying agencies anywhere else in the world.

(*) Yes: I worked for the Paris and Madrid branches of the same company (or at least they say so), and got paid within 2-weeks (from Paris), and within 120 days (from Madrid).

Definitely, it depends :-&

Ruth @ MW

--------------------------------------
PS: By the way, I always stick my "General conditions" to my offers. This may have just a psychological effect on the reader, but it has helped me to spot some problem customers before going too far !! If they complain because you are "unreasonable" or "too serious", just run away fast !!!!

[Edited at 2007-04-04 21:36]

[Edited at 2007-04-04 21:47]


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:02
Member (2004)
Italian to English
Country realities Apr 4, 2007

I work for Italian agencies. They all stipulate that will only accept invoices at the end of the month. Most then pay after 60 days - or rather start making payments - it may take tham up to 10 days to complete the payment process.
One agency pays within 5 to 10 days so naturally I give them priority and my most impeccable work.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:02
Dutch to English
+ ...
Southern Europe Apr 4, 2007

Nobody is denying the common country practices exist, many in Portugal try the 60-day stunt too. I simply prefer not to deal with them and act as their interest-free bankers.

I fortunately don't have to as I also translate from Dutch and in the Netherlands/Belgium have no problem getting 30 day terms, so I'm not wholly dependent on one market. If I only translated from Portuguese, I'd have to show a bit more flexibility.

But these things are also certainly not cast in stone. I have clients both sides of the Guardiana River (Portugal and a few in Spain) paying 30 days.

Sure, some have refused point blank, some have protested and then agreed, others have agreed straight away. But those that refuse are, more often than not, wholly undercapitalised and living from hand to mouth, so it's no loss, probably a blessing in disguise.

Perhaps the ability to arrange this also has to a little to do with offering a specialised service, where demand (far) outstrips supply. It tends to place you in a better bargaining position.







[Edited at 2007-04-04 22:43]


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