A client asked me to send partial work before sending me the PO...
Thread poster: Kamonchanok Kulpanyalert

Kamonchanok Kulpanyalert  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 15:02
Member (2014)
English to Thai
+ ...
Nov 24, 2014

Hi all,

The client asked me to do a small test, and I did it. It turned out to be acceptable. We agreed on the rate, deadline, and other related matters. We also agreed that, although the deadline is on Thursday (29/11), he would want the partial file on Tuesday. He said on Friday night that he would send me the PO on the next Monday (which is today) asap.

Today I ask him to send the PO to me so that I can start working.
However, he says that he wants me to send partial file to him first and he will prepare the PO.
I send him 2-3 emails and ask him to send the PO first.
Now he still does not respond my emails.

What should I do?
Should I start working now?

Thank you


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Assess the Client's Trustworthiness Nov 24, 2014

Most of our work relations are based on trust.
If this was for a large multinational from USA with a top Blueboard rating, I'd say don't worry about it, they haven't replied because it's still Sunday in America!

If it is for a small agency from a neighbouring country (อย่างอินเดีย) you should wait until they confirm with you.

As a rule you're correct, don't start until they've confirmed with you!

Good luck!

DJH


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Kamonchanok Kulpanyalert  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 15:02
Member (2014)
English to Thai
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes.. Nov 24, 2014

He is from India.

A moment ago he replied me and said that he would send the PO within 3 hours...

I'm still waiting.

Thank you


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:02
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
This is why I hate POs Nov 24, 2014

You're putting all your trust in a piece of virtual paper, it seems to me. Until you have it, you don't trust your client enough to start work even though you have agreed terms. Presumably, that also means that once you have this PO, you'll start work in total confidence of being paid.

I'm sorry to say that it doesn't work like that. Your emails agreeing those T&C already constitute a binding contract within US and EU law (and I believe Indian law has its roots in UK law so I don't imagine it's too different). A PO serves exactly the same purpose. You really don't need both.

What you do need is confidence that the client will, in all probability, pay for your work in a timely manner. There's never a 100% guarantee, but from your research and communication with the client you should be able to get a reasonably clear impression of their trustworthiness.

Your own flair for sniffing out untrustworthy clients is worth much, much more than any number of POs. Try to develop it in all your dealings with clients. You always need a written audit trail, with clear authorisation from the client to do the work. Needs in the form of particular forms are less important than confidence that your client is trustworthy. Learn from this experience, which I hope will have a happy outcome.


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 10:02
German to English
+ ...
POs? Nov 24, 2014

To be honest, I have never had a PO in 35 years of working in the profession, nor have I ever had any problems with non-paying clients. As Shiela says, it's a question of whether you trust the client or not. Insisting on a PO could lose you a good customer.

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Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:02
Finnish to English
Not replying Nov 24, 2014

I would not work with an agency that does not reply to emails in good time

be careful I would

Spencer


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:02
English to German
+ ...
You can't just trust clients, you need a certain degree of security Nov 24, 2014

Kamonchanok Kulpanyalert wrote:

He is from India.

A moment ago he replied me and said that he would send the PO within 3 hours...

I'm still waiting.

Thank you


When it comes to any client, don't do anything before you either have a PO that shows the terms and conditions YOU agreed to or write your own contract and have it signed by the client BEFORE you begin. Trust must be established, it doesn't just come about by itself. And even though trust plays a big role in all business, especially repeat business, business means "security" first and that means professional business principles and best practices.

Don't work on this until they have agreed to YOUR terms in black and white, in a separate document attached to your email. You might be very surprised and disappointed when you see the actual PO that they sent you. Don't agree to do anything or actually start working on it or even send them something before you have established the terms with your client in writing. They are already breaking their promise to send you a PO when you expected it.

It is quite possible that the client has agreed in an email to your terms, but the actual PO might contain conditions such as 60-90 day payment terms, the right to decide NOT to pay you at all if the client decides your translation isn't good enough and more. When dealing with new companies/clients - it's much better and professional to have a) a contract/PO and b) payment in advance or at least a down payment. Don't forget that YOU are the service provider, and the terms under which you work must be YOURS.

You can't just trust that you are dealing with an honest client. Especially if the client is new. You need to weigh all factors before you decide to work with that client. And a contract and PO will be one important factor to begin a professional business relationship.

I don't take email correspondence by itself as a "contract" or an acceptance of terms. If some translators have worked with clients for a long time and never worked with a PO or contract (a separate document in Word or PDF), that's their prerogative, that's their decision. In today's business with many agencies that can't be trusted, I will always use a separate contract and/or PO with a client's signature (especially with agencies). A PO will only work for me if it reflects my terms, not the client's.


Also, the lower the amount of money is that a client "wants" or "agrees" to pay, the less trustworthy he/she/it usually is. So, you should decide right away what your charge or rate is. And it should be an adequate price - if you're starting out - check the "standard" rates here, don't use minimums from that list (my recommendation): http://search.proz.com/employers/rates
The rates on this list are low, they have been established by translators and agencies - and the title of the page is very misleading because we are not employed by our clients.
You are much better off taking the standard rates there as absolute minimums and really look a t every project and decide how much you should get paid.

A PO or contract is not just a piece of virtual paper. It is what it is, a contract or purchase order. If a client is not willing to send it with YOUR terms and doesn't send it at the time it is expected (BEFORE you start your work), it is a sure sign of trouble and it is very likely that you are going to run into problems such as cancellation of your order, rejection of your work and non-payment.

If the client later violates the terms of your contract/PO, you have proof of what they agreed to. That becomes very important should you ever have to attempt to get that money.

Based on what you told us so far here, I suggest you don't send any work and you should ask for payment up front. This doesn't sound good at all.

B

[Edited at 2014-11-24 14:52 GMT]


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Kamonchanok Kulpanyalert  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 15:02
Member (2014)
English to Thai
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you.. Nov 24, 2014

..for all of your replies!

The client now answer my email, provide me with his PO (though a bit late), and ask for earlier deadline (weird again, he changes his mind so often). I insist that I cannot change the schedule for him, as now I have other works on hand as well.

Now it seems to be more ok, I guess, and the agreement has been signed already.

I don't always ask my regular clients to send me a PO. However, I do believe that sending a PO is not a hard job. So I don't think I bother any new client by asking them to do so. It's weird for me if they can't provide me with the PO, as it seems they don't want to provide me with the 'formal written evidence'. I know that trust is something more than a piece of paper, but I think their intention to do this little thing can give me a hint of such feeling.

Kamonchanok


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:02
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Always ask for confirmation Nov 24, 2014

I always ask for a PO or confirmation email. With private clients this is to follow up on my quote and with regular clients to follow up on my saying that I'm available to accept the job. Even with long-term trusted clients it is wise to have something in writing in case of a misunderstanding.

As an added bonus I print the POs or emails and keep them on my desk in the order of the deadlines, so I don't forget anything.


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