On-time payment problem
Thread poster: Muhitdin

Muhitdin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:24
Uzbek to English
+ ...
Apr 7, 2010

Hi,

What is the proper thing to do if I am not being paid on-time for the translation work? I hope I am the only one who is facing this issue. Please share your experience and give me some advice.

Thank you,

Muhitdin


 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 11:24
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
It depends Apr 7, 2010

It really depends on what you mean by 'on time' and how strict you want to be. Some large agencies take 60 days, or even 90 days, to pay - it should be stated in the PO. Even after that, you could give them the benefit of the doubt for another week but then I would send a friendly reminder. To my direct clients I send a reminder if they haven't paid by 2 months after the invoice date. To me it doesn't matter too much WHEN I get paid, as long as I get it sooner or later. But if you are depending on that money for your daily living expenses, you may need to be stricter about it.

Comment added: I think allowing agencies a week's leeway beyond what is stated in the PO is not overly lenient. As Sheila said, payments can be held up in the bank or in the mail and it's not necessarily the fault of the client. With my direct clients I really do like to be lenient - these are often new immigrants who may just have started a new job or are still looking for one. Sometimes they have not even opened a bank account and ordered cheques yet - that alone takes a week or two or three.

[Edited at 2010-04-07 22:59 GMT]


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:24
English to German
+ ...
A deadline is a deadline Apr 7, 2010

Tina Vonhof wrote:

It really depends on what you mean by 'on time' and how strict you want to be. Some large agencies take 60 days, or even 90 days, to pay - it should be stated in the PO. Even after that, you could give them the benefit of the doubt for another week but then I would send a friendly reminder. To my direct clients I send a reminder if they haven't paid by 2 months after the invoice date. To me it doesn't matter too much WHEN I get paid, as long as I get it sooner or later. But if you are depending on that money for your daily living expenses, you may need to be stricter about it.





We are supposed to deliver our finished product on time. Why should we be flexible with payment due dates? Try doing this with your mortgage, car payments or credit card payments and see what they will tell you. Late payments have become a major problem lately. I wouldn't mind waiting a bit longer for smallish payments, waiting for several thousand dollars however can mess up a small business or a household significantly.


 

Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:24
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
same here Apr 7, 2010

during the "crisis" (in the past year) everything was still OK, now I see people paying late since January, somewhere between 10-15 days, sometimes 20 days ( on top of 30 or even 60 days normally allowed)...

I guess a friendly reminder is in order if it's regular clients.
If they ignore your emails and give you no reason for late payment, you could add a note on the Blue Board.

Stay on top - mind you a week to 10 days late is nearly "normal" (unfortunately), international bank transfers could be delayed by Easter and bank holidays....

Also make sure you gave them the right bank account name and number (your name matching the account number)...

New clients should be treated a little differently perhaps, always make sure you read their payment practices history before accepting jobs.

Greetings
Ed


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:24
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Many possibilities Apr 7, 2010

Muhitdin wrote:
What is the proper thing to do if I am not being paid on-time for the translation work?


I think we all suffer from late payers, Muhitdin, but I don't think there's a "proper" way of dealing with it. Just send polite reminders as you see fit, then escalate if you have to. There are a LOT of threads about debt recovery in this forum.

The important thing is not to let your clients think they have no obligation to pay on the due date. I have to disagree with Tina here and say that even if you're not desperate for the money, you have an obligation as a professional to demand due payment.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:24
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Definitely! Apr 7, 2010

Tina Vonhof wrote:
Some large agencies take 60 days, or even 90 days, to pay...


Nicole Schnell wrote:
We are supposed to deliver our finished product on time. Why should we be flexible with payment due dates?


First, why should translators lend money - it doesn't matter if it is to translation agencies or their end-clients - at no interest rate?

As we are professional translators, it should be assumed that we are not in the moneylending business. As nobody is supposedly investing money with us (remember, they are entrusting us with their translation jobs), we should charge at least twice the interest rates banks would charge us... until the day banks start offering translation services.

Second, some agencies come hard on us, translators, regarding deadlines: You must deliver it tomorrow by noon GMT! Translators should be equally intolerant regarding late payments.

One of my pet peeves on Proz are some job ads that sound like this:
We have a 5,000 words urgent, slightly technical (they never mention the subject area) job, that must be transtated (language pair) within the next 24 hours. Late delivery will impose a 50% deduction on your fees, no tolerance whatsoever. Certification required, please attach scans of all your certificates to your quote. Payment by check mailed on the last day of the second month after the date of invoice.


So, why the one-sided rush?


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:24
French to English
+ ...
Be polite and try to ascertain *why* Apr 8, 2010

Muhitdin wrote:
What is the proper thing to do if I am not being paid on-time for the translation work? I hope I am the only one who is facing this issue. Please share your experience and give me some advice.


Would it were that rare. There are a variety of reasons why the payment may be late.

- Large companies have really inefficient accounting systems that mean it can take a couple of months to get paid -- paradoxically, a personal client may pay you immediately but a university or international company could be 2 months late as a matter of course just through inefficiency rather than through malice.
- Small/medium sized companies may have legitimate reasons for a week or so delay. Maybe the accounting guy only comes in on Thursdays and this Thursday the bank's international transfer web site wasn't working...
- In the worst case, the company could be in financial difficulties. But if it's just a temporary cash flow problem, maybe you can do a deal? (take 3 instalments? send them a Paypal link to pay by credit card?)

As I think others have mentioned, some companies *do* care about their BlueBoard rating, so it is worth posting. However, before doing so you should do you best to ascertain that they're actually happy with the work.

Good luck...!


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:24
French to German
+ ...
Happy with the work? Apr 8, 2010

Neil Coffey wrote:
As I think others have mentioned, some companies *do* care about their BlueBoard rating, so it is worth posting. However, before doing so you should do you best to ascertain that they're actually happy with the work.

Good luck...!


My 2 cents: happy clients/customers don't tell you they are happy, unsatisfied clients/customers will let you know in not uncertain terms how they feel.

Those who voice their dissatisfaction when payment is due or overdue are IMHO bad faith jokers. And as Nicole wrote it, a deadline is a deadline - no-one cares about the arrangements one has to make in order to meet it (also see the example mentioned by José).

[Edited at 2010-04-08 04:28 GMT]


 

Deborah do Carmo  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 18:24
Dutch to English
+ ...
A deadline is a deadline Apr 8, 2010

To echo Nicole's sentiments, it works both ways.

If I have not received a payment by due date, I follow it up immediately enquiring when the transfer was or will be made. If a client says on a Monday, for instance, that the transfer will be made that Wednesday, that's fine. Slightly irritating, but I can live with it. If a client is vague, I insist politely until I get a firm answer.

If translators wish to be treated as professionals, they should act as though they are in a business relationship at all times, otherwise not complain when somebody takes them for a ride.

[Edited at 2010-04-08 07:21 GMT]


 

Muhitdin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:24
Uzbek to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Apr 9, 2010

Thank you everyone for sharing with your thoughts.

Regards,

Muhtidin


 

Piotrnikitin  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 19:24
Russian to English
+ ...
List of notorious late- or non-payers? Apr 18, 2010

I am actually having this problem right now. The translation was ready on time and I got a lot of praise for it, but here I am a week after invoice date still being fed by promises. It doe not hurt me very much financially, but I do like to be strict on these matters.

I was wondering if anyone was aware of a simple and easy way of putting pressure on non-payers, e.g. naming and shaming them on Proz, so that people do not take jobs from them? If this kind of list exists, it would be nice if someone could direct me to it.

Thanks in advance.


 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 19:24
English to Czech
+ ...
Use the BlueBoard Apr 19, 2010

The translation was ready on time and I got a lot of praise for it...


Hi Piotr,
I'm afraid praise won't feed you or pay your bills. You can use the ProZ's BlueBoard to express your rating of that particular outsourcer.


 


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