Protecting yourself when a client goes bust
Thread poster: Nikki Scott-Despaigne

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:57
French to English
Jul 4, 2001

This can happen to anyone, as I just heard on the national news 30 minutes ago. A I had done a bit of work for in the past came back last week with a voluminous rush job. I stayed up late to get the thing finished, selling myself short of sleep as my client was working hard to get the project together to \"sell\" it to their client. Looks like I will have to write this one off as a bad debt...

Once the has paid Transpac (who \"switched off\" the access to cyberspace of their client sites as they had not paid the bill), its employees, honoured its dues to the taxman and other state organisms, just peanuts will remain, and even then pro rata will mean it comes down to peanut crumbs.

So what can you do to best protect yourself for that fateful day?

- get XX % upfront from unknown, and/or potentially dodgy clients

- get XX % upfront for ANY job over a certain amount (that you are willing or able to loose)

- try to avoid being too dependent on one or several big clients

All of this is easier said than done, particularly when you are starting out. It can hit you hard if it\'s a major contract for you and you have banked nothing at all. And with the wonderful worldy web, the work whizzes in and out with clients going through the turnstiles without ever putting their hand in their cyber pocket until the work has been received, chewed up and spat out in some wonderfully modified format. It\'s not always easy to obtain an advance, but when you can, it\'s great. At worst they can refuse, at best, they say yes, and they often do! Further problems may come into play if your domestic tax laws require you to pay tax on work billed out, rather than receipts. Thankfully for the liberal professions here in France, it\'s on receipts so no risk there. Just wasted time and effort, not to mention the work I turned down to do this one. Never mind, it was bound to happen one day! Any other hints on protection?

[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-07-06 01:56 ]


eurotransl (X)
German to English
+ ...
Jul 5, 2001

There is no sure-fire way to protect yourself. Things like that happen - hey, at least, you got a tax write-off out of it.

Asking for an advance is always a problem: no one can effect a wire-transfer or mail a cheque just like that - but most of these projects are rush projects; so payment will never reach you by the time you have to deliver your translation.

The only option is credit-card payment or PayPal. I have found, however, that many clients are still reluctant to make use of the PayPal system, and establishing a merchant account in order to accept credit-card payments is not really a viable option for an independent freelance: you stand to lose a lot more in terms of monthly charges and deductions.


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Protecting yourself when a client goes bust

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