Non-payment of invoices with small amounts
Thread poster: Susanna Garcia

Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:24
Italian to English
+ ...
Sep 26, 2009

We often see here payment problems for large amounts but what about the opposite? Every so often I accept small assignments just to dip a toe in with a new agency and, invariably, they have to be chased for derisory amounts, the latest being £15.00 for a Welsh translation. The companies concerned do have poor BB records but as they're UK-based and I'm a Pollyanna at heart, I took a punt. There you go.
Obviously finally, lesson learnt and no more like this but I was wondering, is this a common occurrence?

Suzi


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:24
Member (2008)
Italian to English
BB Sep 26, 2009

Susanna Garcia wrote:

We often see here payment problems for large amounts but what about the opposite? Every so often I accept small assignments just to dip a toe in with a new agency and, invariably, they have to be chased for derisory amounts, the latest being £15.00 for a Welsh translation. The companies concerned do have poor BB records but as they're UK-based and I'm a Pollyanna at heart, I took a punt. There you go.
Obviously finally, lesson learnt and no more like this but I was wondering, is this a common occurrence?

Suzi



The best thing you could do would be to add your own negative comments to the others on BB. That would be very helpful to everyone else. I would also suggest that you apply a minimum charge for small jobs. Otherwise the administrative work associated with it (invoicing, book-keeping, paying the tax on it, etc. to say nothing of chasing down payment) is just not worth the effort.

[Edited at 2009-09-26 15:10 GMT]


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 16:24
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree with Tom Sep 26, 2009

The idea of a minimum charge is indeed very wise. The amount of time spent chasing up small amounts is proportionally very high, although at the same time, if not successful, not so distressing.

I understand the idea of trying out new customers with small projects, and these are also the projects which suit many free-lance translators who have to juggle other commitments.

I've had difficulties with several clients recently, and having chewed lengthily on the subject while they did not respond to more formal appeals for payment, I've tried the more personal touch, knowing that they are reasonably small businesses themselves. Having pointed out that I feel badly done by in more personal terms, and enquired if they were experiencing hard times themselves, in two cases the response has been immediate and quite heartwarming - apologies (which go a long way to make up for late payment) have been forthcoming, but so also have been payments, and I am inclined to carry on working with these clients, with our footing now better established.

This may not sound particularly professional in the modern business world, but I do feel that I have established a comfortable working relationship.

Have you tried this tack Susanna?


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Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:24
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Minimum charge Sep 27, 2009

I do normally apply one.

Tom, if I get no response from my second reminder, then I will of course BB the company.
As I said, I don't normally undertake work like this and, frankly, won't bother again.

Enjoy your Sunday
Suzi


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:24
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Minimum charge Sep 27, 2009

Now and then I invoice one of my best agencies for amounts as low as USD 4 (the lowest so far). They demand invoices for everything, and pay them in a bundle.

The issue is when a new agency asks me about my minimum charge. I usually say that it's USD 50 per month. I know that now and then a big client will need just one phrase translated right now, so why should I deny them service? Of course, if they feed me constantly with good jobs, I might do it for free, as a courtesy (unless the agency has a Virgo doing the accounting). However if it's a once-in-a-lifetime gig under $ 10, either I do it for free as a promo, or I just step aside.


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