Thread poster: Nina Spencer

Nina Spencer  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:32
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Aug 30, 2007

Hi all,

one thing I found quite daunting when I first started freelancing was how to (best) invoice clients. I have had very few problems but would love to hear how others do it - and it might just help those just starting out too:

1. I state 30 days payment terms. Any variations?

2. I do not add a statement in my invoices about late payment and late payment charges. Should I/do you?

3. The only real problem I have had is getting cheques sent to me in foreign currencies (my bank doesn't like it!) and I now try to always get paid by bank transfer or paypal etc.

4. Any other tips, things that have worked/not worked?



Boris Sigalov
Local time: 09:32
English to Russian
Payment terms & late payment statement Aug 30, 2007

Nina Spencer wrote:

1. I state 30 days payment terms. Any variations?

I state the same terms. It's an EU norm.

Nina Spencer wrote:

2. I do not add a statement in my invoices about late payment and late payment charges. Should I/do you?

I always add a late payment statement: 10% per month.


vicksy nurhayati  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:32
English to Indonesian
+ ...
my opinion about invoicing Aug 30, 2007

dear Nina,

In my opinion, late payment & late payment charge are some things you must include in your invoice. This can avoid your client from late paymenticon_smile.gif I think 30 days payment term is okay.


- vicksy -


Margreet Logmans (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:32
English to Dutch
+ ...
Include a lot of information Aug 30, 2007

Hi Nina,

I remember sending my first invoice - I was terribly excited, even more so when it was actually paid....

What I've learned is that it's best to include as much useful information as possible.

My invoices have a standard text at the bottom, where I've put my account number, name of the bank, SWIFT, IBAN, the lot. Some financial departments seem to need all that and payments have been delayed because I had to give them additional information before I had it printed on my invoice.

Also - no idea what you already know, so perhaps I'm telling you things you don't need - always include a clear description of the job(s) you've done, preferably using a reference code or name the costumer has given. When working for big agencies I always include the name of the PM as well.

Then there are requirements from the tax office and government - here in NL one is required to send invoices with a date, a sequential invoicing number and name of the customer, of course. One also needs to specify VAT, if applicable.

I have had no serious problems so far. I also state 30 days payment terms with the addition: unless otherwise agreed upon. Some agencies have a 60 days policy, which I accept. Some even have 90 days, I try to avoid these. I don't have anything about late payment either, but I intend to include this in the Terms & Conditions I am trying to write.

So far, I had payments directly into my bankaccount and Paypal/Moneybookers. Only once, I had a small problem. The finance department had made me pay transfer fees; I called the PM about it and got a refund.

I send all my invoices as a PDF attachment to a friendly email and always ask for confirmation of receipt of said attachment.

So this is how I do it, like you, I'm interested to know how others do it.



Vito Smolej
Local time: 08:32
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
no need to fix what's not broken Aug 30, 2007

if the payments flow, there's nothing you need to do. A few points Id add:

i) If there's recurring cases of late payments with a client, maybe a discussion on the most appropriate conditions would make it flow.

ii) add a discount for early payments - well, if not, why not?

iii) check with their accounting, what else they would like to see on the invoice. Like making the invoice number bigger, adding their VAT # etc, may make somebody your friend for life.

iv) check also if consolidating single payments in one invoice would be welcome. Don't forget to ask for a return favor, like shorter payment terms, or paying via Paypal (or better for all involved Money Booker).



PS: I suggest you have a look at the Translation office 3000 - A lof of what I am mentioning above, comes from TO3K that I have been using for the last 18 months or so.

[Edited at 2007-08-30 10:13]


Natalia Eklund  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:32
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
Sending out invoices Aug 30, 2007

When sending invoices by mail, and I know it's not just going directly to the accountant, I usually attach a small note to keep up the human aspect. After all, we need to maintain a feeling of good will for a healthy business relationship.

When sending them by email, I usually bcc my own email address to make sure there was no error in sending. This avoids any excuses like, 'we never received it'.


Local time: 09:32
Swedish to Estonian
+ ...
Late payment charges Aug 30, 2007

Actually there is no need to add late payment charge. Because according to the law you have right for that anyway, it is not import if you have written it or not!! It can be different in different countries, but in Estonia are the right and rate for late payment charge written very clearly in businesslaw!!



Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:32
French to English
Yes for late charges Aug 30, 2007

Nina Spencer wrote:

2. I do not add a statement in my invoices about late payment and late payment charges. Should I/do you?


In France, it is now required to have a mention about late payment and late payment charges on an invoice. You are also required to include your company registration number. Putting the VAT number of both parties is also a good idea, but not required.


Yoanna  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:32
English to Polish
+ ...
My 2 cents - flexibility :) Sep 8, 2007

As mentioned above, I also put my client's PO/WO/job number [each big agency has their own standards] and number of units of work performed [words translated, hours of proofreading] plus rate per unit.

BTW some clients have their own standards when it comes to invoice forms. Like the name has to be on the right or one invoice per month and so on. I try to comply with their standards in order to make their job easier. However I always include my company's name, data, address; and a "thank you for your business" note at the very bottom.

It is also important to find out about client's booking and payment practices. Some will book a December payment already for January [which reflects on your tax form you get from them - I mean US translators, no idea about other countries!], some have a 45 day payment period, and some won't even need your invoices, but you get to login on their website and click "accept payment" ever 2 weeks or so. Very entertaining, the whole invoicing business. Flexibility countsicon_smile.gif

PS. This check [cheque, for you] thing sucks. My bank here will take foreign checks but with SUCH a fuss [stamping the check, recounting the currency, calling supervisors from the back of the office because they've never seen a date written 'backwards', charging a conversion fee and so on] that I am happily able to avoid, after several years of experience, getting checks from my UK clients [PayPay] and from my Italian clients too [wire transfer, cost $5]. The bank seems to love American checks, though. Hahaha.

[Edited at 2007-09-08 03:25]


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