Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Sticker shock: does it happen to agencies?
Thread poster: Richard Bartholomew

Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:53
Member (2007)
German to English
Aug 29, 2008

Sticker shock: astonishment and dismay experienced on being informed of a product's unexpectedly high price. (Merriam-Webster's 11 Collegiate Dictionary)

Last month I received an open work order from an agency to edit a series of documents. I mean "open" in the sense of having no deadline. The agency sent a batch of documents. I edited and returned them. The agency sent another batch. I edited these and returned them.

Just as I thought the end had come, the agency would send more documents. I didn't want to complicate the situation by submitting periodic invoices. Instead, I thought it would be simpler to wait until everything was done, then submit the final invoice.

The amount due is adding up to a considerable sum. I'm beginning to think that sending weekly invoices, say on Fridays, might be a better strategy.

Questions: Do agencies suffer sticker shock when a big bill shows up? I mean, has anyone ever experienced delayed payment, disputed charges, or other adverse reactions because of the magnitude of the final invoice (although justified)? Is it better to submit intermediate invoices?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:53
French to English
+ ...
Agreed rate Aug 29, 2008

Presumably you agreed a rate at which you would take this project? Assuming you did: the agency knows the rate, and the number of words, and can presumably do simple multiplication, so if they are not expecting a large bill they are too dim to be in business for long.

In such a situation (an ongoing job with large volumes coming in regularly) I'd try to invoice weekly, or at natural intervals--after each long document, for instance.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:53
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
At least send something monthly Aug 29, 2008

Richard Bartholomew wrote:
Do agencies suffer sticker shock when a big bill shows up? I mean, has anyone ever experienced delayed payment, disputed charges, or other adverse reactions because of the magnitude of the final invoice (although justified)?


I don't know, but it would be good manners in my book to send a monthly statement, at least.

Samuel


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:53
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Agree Aug 29, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:
I don't know, but it would be good manners in my book to send a monthly statement, at least.

Samuel


I agree with this. I have one agency that I've had to start sending invoices on the 15th and 30th each month as the invoiced amount was getting a little high. There's always the risk of a delay or problem, so gathering up too many PO's in one large invoice is too risky in my opinion.

You might also find that an agency with a normal 45 days payment term is willing to pay within 30 days if you send a monthly invoice as this saves them a lot of time (and bank fees).


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:53
French to English
Monthly invoice Aug 29, 2008

I think in your shoes I would do what you have done thus far, but draw up an invoice this w/e, as the 31st of August is here.

As you say, it will stop them getting hit by a big bill at the end, even if they do know the rate * volume for this job.
Some companies have separate procedures for bills over a certain amount, which could delay payment later, even if the client is absolutely happy with what you did.

And, of course, it will help your own cash flow. And put you in a slightly better position if the company goes bust unexpectedly.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:53
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Even if you don't send an actual invoice ... Aug 29, 2008

I think that in your situation, even if I didn't send an actual invoice, I'd at least point out to them (by email or phone) that the total is mounting up and now comes to £ XXX, and ask if they're happy with that, before proceeding.
Best wishes,
Jenny.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:53
Member (2007)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Hourly, not per word, rate Aug 29, 2008

Angela Dickson wrote:

Presumably you agreed a rate at which you would take this project?


Indeed, but it's an hourly, rather than a per word, rate. So their's room for judgement calls. It's a bother to keep track of when I start and stop work on a document. I much prefer the per word method if only because it allows much easier quantification.

In such a situation (an ongoing job with large volumes coming in regularly) I'd try to invoice weekly, or at natural intervals--after each long document, for instance.


I'm leaning toward the weekly submission solution. I guess I could differentiate invoices within a project by their respective dates.


[Edited at 2008-08-29 11:01]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:53
Member (2007)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Re: At least send something monthly Aug 29, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:
I don't know, but it would be good manners in my book to send a monthly statement, at least.


Well, that's what's going to happen this month anyway.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:53
German to English
+ ...
By far the most sensible option IMO Aug 29, 2008

Jenny Forbes wrote:

I think that in your situation, even if I didn't send an actual invoice, I'd at least point out to them (by email or phone) that the total is mounting up and now comes to £ XXX, and ask if they're happy with that, before proceeding.
Best wishes,
Jenny.


I usually advocate the phone - but here E-mail is probably the safer option.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:53
Member
English to French
Time-tracking software Aug 29, 2008

Richard Bartholomew wrote:
...Indeed, but it's an hourly, rather than a per word, rate. So their's room for judgement calls. It's a bother to keep track of when I start and stop work on a document...


This is another story. it looks like they have no clue about about much time you're actually spending on the loom, and therefore the actual amount you will be charging.

If the agency didn't state a rough estimate on how much time they expect you to spend on a given pile of documents, they may be surprised if you're far above their own standard (for instance 1000 words/hour for editing).

In such a situation, provided that you work near full time on it, I would send a daily time log from time tracking software (see fora for product names, I use ExactSpent 2006) to make sure I am on par with their expectations (ie not overdoing it by rereading the piece 4 times). As the case may be, I also tell them if I spent more time than usual because the text is crap.
This policy ensures that, should I be far above their anticipated editing budget (eg 800 w/hour instead of an estimated 1200), there will be room to renegociate their budget on their side or terminate the work without further damage.

Have a good weekend,
Philippe


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:53
Dutch to English
+ ...
How I'd deal with it ... Aug 29, 2008

Issue an invoice today, being the last working day of the month.

Every time you send back a new job, from now on, update the total at the end of your email:

Total time spent (September 2008): 16 hours ... and so on.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:53
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Monthly invoice Aug 29, 2008

Hi Richard,

With one of my clients I have the agreement that I send an invoice on the last day - or close to it - of each month. I like this because that keeps me from forgetting to bill them. As I do quite a bit of work for them, this monthly invoice gets to be quite high at times. This is not a problem, payment has always been as agreed and, chuckle, I have not heard of anyone's blood pressure being abnormally high over there. They have been a valued client for over 6 years.

Then I have another one who prefers a bill every two weeks. Also a long-standing client.

For another one who has a bunch of smaller jobs through the month, I keep a runnning invoice and bill them as soon as the amount has reached or goes over USD 200.

I would suggest to agree on a billing procedure between the two of you.

I would caution you though not to make the billing period too long; then it becomes hard to oversee everything and then perhaps the amounts become so very high.

Good luck!
Greetings from sunny Suriname.
Lucinda


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Kathryn Litherland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:53
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
time tracking tool Aug 30, 2008

Indeed, but it's an hourly, rather than a per word, rate. So their's room for judgement calls. It's a bother to keep track of when I start and stop work on a document. I much prefer the per word method if only because it allows much easier quantification.


There are a lot of time tracking tools out there that may help take at least some of the bother out of keeping track, as well as provide some sort of documentation in the case that you're worried your client might quibble (obviously, it's completely possible to falsify such a record, but I suppose it might be of some use of the client is raising eyebrows).

One that I have used regularly in the past, especially when juggling a lot of on-off hourly projects, is online flash version of the Emergent Task Tracker, over at The Printable CEO. The name is kind of strange, but what it basically is is a bubble sheet looking grid where you can type in the name of the project(s) in the stub column, and then bubbles representing 15-minute blocks of time that you can toggle for the time you spend working on a project. It's easier to just look at than for me to explain it!

http://davidseah.com/tools/ett/alpha/

The thing I really like about this one is (a) totally free; and (b) if you toggle "chime" down in the bottom left corner, it will chime ever fifteen minutes to remind you to mark down your time. The feature can be turned off for people who would be driven insane by it.

The program is has been in alpha development for the past two years (with essentially no updates during that time), but it's quite simple, does what it says it does, and works, so I don't consider that a problem.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 16:23
German to English
+ ...
Monthly invoices to be paid every three months collectively Aug 31, 2008

I have a client who sends small jobs periodically (say EUR 25 to 45 each). For these individually small amounts, the bank fees themselves are not worth paying, whether it's the client who's paying or the vendor. Over a period of three months though, it does add up to an amount that's worth remitting by bank transfer.

I've found it useful to send monthly 'preliminary' invoices with the provision "NOT TO BE PAID YET". Then, at the end of the three months, I send in a final invoice that refers to the earlier preliminary invoices. Of course, one has to make sure that final invoices are sent at predictable time intervals, such as every three months, regardless of whether the actual accumulated amount is big or small, so that the client is not taken by surprise by impromptu and unexpected final invoices.

The client appreciates the flexibility, the amounts are small enough for me to bear the pain of non-payment for a couple of months, we all save on bank transfers, and it's a win-win situation as far as I can tell.

I know this was somewhat off-topic, since I'm talking about small periodic jobs where there's no question of sticker shock!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:53
Member (2007)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Re: time tracking tool Aug 31, 2008

Kathryn Litherland wrote:

It's easier to just look at than for me to explain it!


Thanks Kathryn, I took a look at it. It's a little primitive, but it's designer has his heart in the right place.

I have another document coming in on Monday for this order. I'll give the tool a try while I'm working on that.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Sticker shock: does it happen to agencies?

Advanced search







PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »
SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs