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When to invoice agencies?
Thread poster: Jessie LN

Jessie LN  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mar 1, 2013

Maybe this is a ridiculous question but I want to do whatever is standard practice and professional.

When do you invoice agencies? Do you send an invoice along with the completed project or do you wait until they send you a purchase order or some kind of confirmation?

Thanks for your help!


 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:24
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Immediately, or monthly Mar 1, 2013

Jessie Linardi wrote:

Maybe this is a ridiculous question but I want to do whatever is standard practice and professional.

When do you invoice agencies? Do you send an invoice along with the completed project ...


That's exactly what I do. It's a good way to defend against any excuses like "we didn't get your invoice".

Jessie Linardi wrote:
... or do you wait until they send you a purchase order or some kind of confirmation?


That really doesn't make any sense: You need the purchase order / confirmation BEFORE you start working on the project, and you usually don't want to send an invoice before starting with the job (unless you agree on some kind of advance payment).

With some regular clients, I have agreed to issue monthly invoices in order to lower the administrative efforts.

Kind regards,
Erik


 

Jessie LN  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
hmm Mar 1, 2013

^ Yes, I thought that too but one agency told me they'd send me the PO to me AFTER I had already completed the translation, so I was wondering if this was normal.

Although, it may have something to do with some previous tax admin with them that was delayed because of my unusual circumstances. Perhaps they can't send me any documentation until that's complete. I don't know.

Thanks for your input, Erik!


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:24
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Invoice with the work is my preference Mar 1, 2013

Personally, I much prefer to send the invoice with the work. To me, invoicing is part of each job. That way, I know it's been sent and the client's acknowledgement of receipt of the work also means that the invoice has been received.
However, some clients insist that the invoice must not be sent until the end of the month, in which case I wait until then, of course, and insert a reminder to myself in my accounts records so that I don't forget to send it at the end of the month.
Odd, isn't it, how compliant we are with clients' invoicing demands? I mean, I can't imagine telling a builder, car mechanic or dentist that he must invoice me in a certain way or on a certain date or I won't pay his bills!
Best wishes,
Jenny


 

Anne Pinaglia
Netherlands
Local time: 22:24
Member (2011)
Italian to English
+ ...
We send invoices at the end of the month Mar 1, 2013

Unless of course the client requests otherwise. It's easiest to send them all out in one fell swoop, as we generally have quite a few.

From an outsourcer's point of view, it's easier (at least for us) to receive all the invoices to be paid at the end of the month as well, instead of having to refer to a list of suppliers, locate their invoices within emails, etc. We're really on top of our accounting but I can easily see how an invoice might get overlooked this way.

We've never had any complaints about an invoice not being received (or paid) so I guess the system works well (for us at least).



[Edited at 2013-03-01 16:47 GMT]


 

Melissa Dedina  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:24
Czech to English
+ ...
monthly Mar 1, 2013

I invoice my regular clients monthly. I have a few who send me many small jobs per month, and there is no way I am going to process 20 invoices in one month for a single client. Doing them all at once also means I am sure not to forget any.

The main exception to that is I try to invoice new clients right away so I can find out if they are going to pay or not.icon_smile.gif


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
It depends Mar 1, 2013

In general, I bill regular clients (ones that come back to me regularly) monthly, or quarterly or even every six months if there hasn't been a large volume of translation work.

For example, one client used to send me a lot more technical manuals to translate, but they now have most of that end of their business sorted and the stuff I get from them now is mainly marketing and press releases, which comes in fits and starts, so I bill them every three or six months nowadays.

For one-off projects I usually bill when the translation, revision etc is all done and dusted. Most of my clients are direct and not agencies. The few agencies I do work with usually ask me to bill them as soon as the job is delivered or at the end of the month.

When in doubt, the best thing is to ask them when they would like the bill, just don't accept "never" for an answer! icon_smile.gif


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:24
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Whichever way suits you (and your clients) best Mar 1, 2013

Melissa Dedina wrote:

I invoice my regular clients monthly. I have a few who send me many small jobs per month, and there is no way I am going to process 20 invoices in one month for a single client. Doing them all at once also means I am sure not to forget any.

The main exception to that is I try to invoice new clients right away so I can find out if they are going to pay or not.icon_smile.gif

SNAP!icon_smile.gif

Really, it boils down to what's best for me. I can't imagine letting the client decide on when and/or how often they pay me, and I very rarely let things go beyond the end of the month, but neither can I imagine sending invoice after invoice to the same client, and then checking each one against money received, and then chasing each one should it be necessary... I'd need a secretary!icon_smile.gif A spreadsheet keeps a record of every job, and the data is quickly copied to the invoice template at month end.

With new clients and those who only send me work very occasionally, I try to send the invoice with the translation. I ask for confirmation of receipt of the translation, and I keep reminding them until I get that confirmation. I don't feel I can sign the job off in my head until I get that confirmation, but it's also nice to have their implicit confirmation of having received the invoice, too.icon_wink.gif

Of course, rules were made to be broken, weren't they?icon_wink.gif I do let a couple of very good agencies dictate their (acceptable) terms to me, and I give some other clients the choice of individual or monthly invoices.


 

Melissa Dedina  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:24
Czech to English
+ ...
Well, you know... Mar 1, 2013

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Melissa Dedina wrote:

I invoice my regular clients monthly. I have a few who send me many small jobs per month, and there is no way I am going to process 20 invoices in one month for a single client. Doing them all at once also means I am sure not to forget any.

The main exception to that is I try to invoice new clients right away so I can find out if they are going to pay or not.icon_smile.gif

SNAP!icon_smile.gif


That is the sort of thing you want to establish right away, after all!

I can't say that I've had major problems with non-payers (just one in my first few months of freelancing, back when I was young and naive...), but I feel much more comfortable accepting a second assignment from a new customer if the first one has been paid already.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:24
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I wait Mar 1, 2013

Sheila Wilson wrote:

I try to send the invoice with the translation.


I wait until the translation is accepted. I wouldn't think of invoicing anyone until they had confirmed that they were happy with the quality of my work.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:24
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
When is a translation accepted? Mar 2, 2013

Tom in London wrote:

Sheila Wilson wrote:

I try to send the invoice with the translation.


I wait until the translation is accepted. I wouldn't think of invoicing anyone until they had confirmed that they were happy with the quality of my work.

I wouldn't think of assuming that they might not be happy with my work. Of course, if there's anything they need to query or ask me to change, they're free to do so. Having received the invoice doesn't alter that. In fact, my terms are that I'll deal with any genuine queries/corrections until the payment due date (30 days month end).

I would hate to inflict yet another round of correspondence on myself or my clients, just to confirm that they're happy with something they received a few days back, then another to send the invoice and get their confirmation that they've received it. I like to move on to new assignments, and I imagine my clients do, too.


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:24
French to English
+ ...
No absolute answer... Mar 2, 2013

Jessie Linardi wrote:
When do you invoice agencies? Do you send an invoice along with the completed project or do you wait until they send you a purchase order or some kind of confirmation?


My personal opinion is that it's presumptuous to invoice immediately after sending the translation: it is natural that the client (be they an agency or direct client) may need a small amount of reasonable time to check if they have any final queries.

It's also usual in my experience for a client to realise a few days later that they need to "tack on" a few extra paragraphs/changes to the original job, so waiting a few days before invoicing can reduce bank transfer costs very slightly.

On the other hand, you have to define "reasonable". In my experience, agencies won't explicitly tell you necessarily when the project is "done and dusted" from their point of view and would happily sit there till the next ice age before asking for an invoice. So I think the best policy is to either just wait a few days and then send, or wait a few days and then e-mail to ask if there are no further queries and you can invoice.

Whether there's anything magical about the "end of the month" depends on the client. For a client offering regular work or for a long-running project, for the sake of the argument you may as well send monthly invoices. But otherwise, I tend to just invoice a few days after completion, be that the 1st, 7th, 13th or 30th of the month.

I also think there's no harm in asking the client what they prefer.


 

svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:24
French to German
+ ...
Depends Mar 2, 2013

If it is a new client I send the invoice approximately a week after delivering the translation. If it is a regular client I invoice monthly, if it is a regular client with only small jobs I may invoice quarterly or even every six months.
I also have one client who only sends me one PO at the beginning of the month for all jobs completed the month before. We have been doing this for years now and it works just fine.


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:24
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
It depends Mar 2, 2013

As our colleagues have already stated, there is no straight forward answer.

Personally, I've arranged it with "my" agencies, and even some special end clients to send them a monthly but very detailed invoice. This doesn't only save both of us valuable time, but also some money, since the sender's fees and/or the PayPal fees are "reduced" to only one single transaction per month.icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2013-03-02 18:49 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:24
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Amazing! Mar 2, 2013

if it is a regular client with only small jobs I may invoice quarterly or even every six months.


In general, I bill regular clients (ones that come back to me regularly) monthly, or quarterly or even every six months if there hasn't been a large volume of translation work.


I suppose it depends a lot on what your definition of "small" is. I myself let a 6€ debt ride for three months once, knowing that when the client re-emerged he would pay my invoice within minutes (which he did). If he'd gone bust in the interim I'd simply have cancelled the debt, of course. But a supplying company that regularly fails to invoice a client company for its services for six months? What sort of business practice is that?

Do they actually have to accept an invoice after all that time? They'd very often be in a different accounting year by then (bearing in mind that this may be different in the client's country). And what would be your legal standing if your invoice was then not paid? Couldn't the client simply claim changed circumstance and say they should have been invoiced at the time of the service? Does anyone with a legal background know?


 
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