Does it become harder to get paid?
Thread poster: Oksana Weiss

Oksana Weiss  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:52
Member (2011)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
Aug 16, 2012

I would like to vary slightly the constant moan of falling rates. In view of forthcoming September, which is usually the busiest month of the year, I tried to sort out outstanding invoices and found out that some of them are dating back as far as April and May. Not only "one-off" customers are unwilling to pay, despite monthly reminders which make me feel uneasy like begging to be paid, but also long-term "loyal" customers providing constant flow of work seem reluctant to pay, withholding payments for yet another month and promising to absolutely pay "next week".
Do you experience the same? Do you think it is just summer slackness in business or a new business environment which we have to adjust ourselves to? What about all these "60 days after invoicing" deadlines, which the customers are trying to impose on us?


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 18:52
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Not here Aug 16, 2012

Instead I got paid already for some invoices I had sent End of July. More and more customers seem to realise, that when interest rates are almost Zero there is no advantage for delaying payment.

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Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 01:52
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
The same here Aug 16, 2012

Oksana Zoria wrote:

...also long-term "loyal" customers providing constant flow of work seem reluctant to pay, withholding payments for yet another month and promising to absolutely pay "next week".
Do you experience the same?


Yes, the same here. Several outstanding invoices, and we are talking about significant amounts. I can't explain it, tprobably, we all face consequences of the EU crisis. We already lose money because our dollar is extremely strong at the moment and it doesn't help when our long-term customers from Europe come with the strange excuses and postpone payments.


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Sigrid Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:52
Member (2011)
Danish to German
+ ...
Payment policy Aug 16, 2012

I have made a payment policy for non-paying customers. 2 weeks overdue, the first reminder goes out, 1 month overdue the final reminder (including fees and interest!) and if no payment after 6 weeks the customer goes to debt collection (which means as well that he has to pay all fees for that). Customers that have been up to that point I only work for when they provide upfront payment.

This policy certainly helps getting my money in, im no bank and do not provide loans. Unless the customer has contacted me at an early state and explained when exactly the payment is made for what reasons, this is the proceedure.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:52
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Everyone seems to need a reminder Aug 16, 2012

I am finding that it is fast becoming "normal business practice" to send a reminder.

I don't like it and it's souring otherwise good relationships.


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Oksana Weiss  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:52
Member (2011)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Bank rates Aug 16, 2012

Heinrich Pesch wrote:
when interest rates are almost Zero there is no advantage for delaying payment.

That's the point exactly! Here, the annual dollar deposit rates are as high as 10% and I would not mention credit ones here, for no one believe me (OK, around 25%). Thank you, Heinrich, I missed that point somehow. That is why probably the situation is similar in Eastern European countries and different in Western ones.


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Oksana Weiss  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:52
Member (2011)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Reminder policy Aug 16, 2012

Sigrid Andersen wrote:
I have made a payment policy for non-paying customers.

Thank you, Sigrid, that's a good thing to think about. Only it sometimes seems that we are talking to (or, rather, sending tickets) to a machine, and it's very hard to find someone actually human from the accounting.
Sheila Wilson wrote:
I am finding that it is fast becoming "normal business practice" to send a reminder.
I don't like it and it's souring otherwise good relationships.

Yes, I quite agree with you, Sheila. We do not need reminders (although, they do send us them sometimes, which is equally annoying) about the deadlines. Probably some self-reminding java-script invoice would be a good invention:)


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:52
English to Portuguese
+ ...
But here! Aug 16, 2012

Heinrich Pesch wrote:
Not here
Instead I got paid already for some invoices I had sent End of July. More and more customers seem to realise, that when interest rates are almost Zero there is no advantage for delaying payment.


Interest rates in Brazil are close to 10% per month. Would anyone living elsewhere borrow money from here? I wouldn't think so.

A bit over three years ago the USD exchange rate plummetted here by 25%. I eventually raised my international rate by 20% (the market wouldn't bear more), and adopted shorter payment terms and shortlisted payment methods. Surprisingly, I got rid of several "cheaper" clients, yet progressively acquired a larger number of new ones who demanded the same quality I've always delivered.

Last May, the USD finally recouped, which would justify lowering my rates. However I chose not to. I had already planned, and then managed to implement it: keeping translation and financial costs separate. So I offer discounts: 10% for using anything other than PayPal, some other discount for earlier payment, etc.

My standard payment term has been two weeks from delivery since. While I do accept 30 days from some clients, they are made aware that they'll be on what I call 'managed availability' - no rush service for them unless I am - and stay - on a low tide. I don't take any jobs with payment terms beyond 30 days from delivery, ever! Outsourcers who require it should be hiring banks to get their translation work done.

The idea dawned upon me when I noticed that every time you buy e.g. an appliance or a car in installments, they route you to an individual there who works for a financial institution, not the store. While both now and then are part of the same corporation, they are from separate companies. As I have no such employee around here, if they want long-term credit on my translations, I suggest they contact a bank to get a loan - not me. If they are willing to pay the Brazilian hefty interest rates, I can put them in contact with my account manager at the bank here, who will take care of their financial needs, while I focus on translation only.


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