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Payment terms = battle of wills
Thread poster: Gül Kaya

Gül Kaya  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:01
Turkish to English
+ ...
Jun 25, 2013

I had an email exchange with a prospective client this morning, the gist of which went something like this.

Client: Great we accept your rates. Our terms of payment are 60 days.
Me: But my terms of payment are 30 days.
Client: But we always pay our translators 60 days
Me: But I always state 30 days
Client: Well these are out terms (Implied: like it or leave it)
Me: WTF - no of course not but I thought it.

What to do? In this case I didn't capitulate because it was a small job but I was sorely tempted. It always feels almost sacrilegious rejecting work but it was a matter of principle. If I was a bit more pushed I would probably have figured 60 days is better than no days. I guess most here will do the same. I really can't see a constructive way out of this little battle of wills that seems to be happening more and more frequently. Is it best just to put on your poker face and battle it out? What does everyone else think?


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Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:01
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
What about: Jun 25, 2013

Me: OK. That's great! The price I gave you was based on my standard 30-day payment terms. If you are only able to pay at 60 days, my price will be 20% higher to cover the increased liquidity risk involved.

Client: Oh OK then. We'll pay you at 30 days.

(Slightly utopic I know but I think I may try it one day).



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Theo Bernards  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:01
English to Dutch
+ ...
How about this? Jun 25, 2013

"Sorry, no can do, I have an unwritten agreement with your bank: they don't venture into translation and I don't give extended credit periods to their customers."

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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 00:01
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Capitulate only partly Jun 25, 2013

Marie-Helene Dubois wrote:

Me: OK. That's great! The price I gave you was based on my standard 30-day payment terms. If you are only able to pay at 60 days, my price will be 20% higher to cover the increased liquidity risk involved.


Why not try this: "OK shall I make you a new offer, based on 60 days payment?"


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Gül Kaya  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:01
Turkish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Utopic Jun 25, 2013

Marie-Helene Dubois wrote:



Client: Oh OK then. We'll pay you at 30 days.

(Slightly utopic I know but I think I may try it one day).



If we're talking utopic then how about:

Client: We pay 60 days on receipt of invoice
Me: Sorry I have to abide by my own terms and conditions ie. 30 days.
Client: Oh but we so loved your CV, you're just who we've been looking for.
Me: And now you've found me. Ta daa!
Client: Oh all right then.
Me: Result.


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cilantro  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 01:01
Italian to English
+ ...
The client is always right Jun 25, 2013

Unless they are being abusive, whether by policy or not, you should always try to accomodate the customer.

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Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:01
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Gül Jun 25, 2013

You're clearly better at utopia than me

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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 06:01
Chinese to English
I think this feeling will change over time... Jun 25, 2013

Gül Kaya wrote:

It always feels almost sacrilegious rejecting work...

I luuurve rejecting work. Only when I have good reason to, of course! When my schedule is full and I can't take on anything new, saying no just feels right. It's like lying in bed in the morning: if I don't have anything to do, there's no joy in it. If I know I should be getting on with something, then a lie in becomes a wondrous guilty pleasure


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:01
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
It's a matter of willingness Jun 25, 2013

Gül Kaya wrote:

I had an email exchange with a prospective client this morning, the gist of which went something like this.

Client: Great we accept your rates. Our terms of payment are 60 days.
Me: But my terms of payment are 30 days.
Client: But we always pay our translators 60 days
Me: But I always state 30 days
Client: Well these are out terms (Implied: like it or leave it)
Me: WTF - no of course not but I thought it.

What to do?



I had a client tell me once that their payment terms for all of their clients was 60 days.

Me: I'm sorry, but I cannot wait to get paid 60 days after I've delivered the translation, because I have bills to pay, too.
Client: I'm sorry, but we urgently need the translation. And all our translator are happy with the 60 days.
Me: I'm sorry, but I am only one translator, not all of them. (I know, not very nice, though I had a slight urge to say that one of these "all" translators can do the job.)
Client: Okay we make an exception because we urgently need the translation.

To cut a long story short, this exception has been made a couple of times already.
Cheers to persistence.


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 00:01
English to Polish
+ ...
As long as it is done but remains an exception, I guess everybody is happy :D Jun 25, 2013

Thayenga wrote:

Gül Kaya wrote:

I had an email exchange with a prospective client this morning, the gist of which went something like this.

Client: Great we accept your rates. Our terms of payment are 60 days.
Me: But my terms of payment are 30 days.
Client: But we always pay our translators 60 days
Me: But I always state 30 days
Client: Well these are out terms (Implied: like it or leave it)
Me: WTF - no of course not but I thought it.

What to do?



I had a client tell me once that their payment terms for all of their clients was 60 days.

Me: I'm sorry, but I cannot wait to get paid 60 days after I've delivered the translation, because I have bills to pay, too.
Client: I'm sorry, but we urgently need the translation. And all our translator are happy with the 60 days.
Me: I'm sorry, but I am only one translator, not all of them. (I know, not very nice, though I had a slight urge to say that one of these "all" translators can do the job.)
Client: Okay we make an exception because we urgently need the translation.

To cut a long story short, this exception has been made a couple of times already.
Cheers to persistence.



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Gül Kaya  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:01
Turkish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not necessarily Jun 25, 2013

cilantro wrote:

Unless they are being abusive, whether by policy or not, you should always try to accomodate the customer.


I'm afraid I can't agree with your premise that the client is always right. The client is always right in wanting the outcome to be as advantageous as possible for itself. That is its right. Just as it is my right to want the best possible outcome for myself. The trick is in finding the point which keeps both sides if not absolutely, then relatively, happy.


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Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 17:01
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
How about a compromise? Jun 25, 2013

How about making a compromise between what they want and what you want? You can suggest a 45 day payment term.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:01
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not utopic Jun 25, 2013

Marie-Helene Dubois wrote:

Me: OK. That's great! The price I gave you was based on my standard 30-day payment terms. If you are only able to pay at 60 days, my price will be 20% higher to cover the increased liquidity risk involved.

Client: Oh OK then. We'll pay you at 30 days.

(Slightly utopic I know but I think I may try it one day).



I don't take any jobs paying beyond 30 days, ever! Strict house policy. However I work it the other way around. My standard rate is stated as for payment within two weeks via PayPal.

I offer my clients the choice of using any payment method other than PayPal (which costs me 10% in fees & lower exchg. rates) and getting a 10% discount. PayPal policies explicitly state that it is forbidden to surcharge any transactions because of their (hefty!) fees; that doing so may lead to account termination. However they can't forbid me from giving discounts to anyone, especially when their system is not at all involved.

Another point is that PayPal, after they set up their own operations in Brazil, delays payment (i.e. a funds transfer from them to any local bank) by 2-5 banking days in Brazil, plus 2-5 banking days in the USA, if an eCheck was used. Bottom line is that the actual payment, in the worst case, may be delayed by PayPal for up to two weeks.

Then, if the client agrees to pay within 2 days from delivery, they get a separate 8% discount, on account of the high Brazilian interest rates.

I'm finding more an more clients eager to pay in two days outside of PayPal, in order to get an 18% discount in my rates. If anyone failed to notice it, as we say it in Brazil, "I'm taking a bow with someone else's hat". This discount does not come from my pocket. 10% comes from PayPal, and 8% from greedy Brazilian banks. I'd never get to touch that money anyway.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention... clients paying between two weeks and 30 days get low priority service. No promised deadline, I'll deliver when I'm finished. While some can live happily with that, I suggest those having a firm deadline to hire someone else, or change their terms.

[Edited at 2013-06-25 23:26 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:01
English to German
+ ...
Not utopic II. Jun 26, 2013

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Marie-Helene Dubois wrote:

Me: OK. That's great! The price I gave you was based on my standard 30-day payment terms. If you are only able to pay at 60 days, my price will be 20% higher to cover the increased liquidity risk involved.

Client: Oh OK then. We'll pay you at 30 days.

(Slightly utopic I know but I think I may try it one day).



I don't take any jobs paying beyond 30 days, ever! Strict house policy. However I work it the other way around. My standard rate is stated as for payment within two weeks via PayPal.



With one regular agency client I had a similar "Tug of War" negotiation. I agreed on their weird 60-days payment policy under the condition that there will be no such thing as discounts for repetitions, fuzzies and the likes.

I don't want to mess with their established accounting policies, their clients are huge, and I know from the decades of working on the other side of the desk, that really large organizations and world market leaders tend to be the slowest payers ever because they think they own the planet. Being paid the full rate per word even for the most repetitive texts while using their neat, proprietary CAT tool is a nice deal.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
A deal is a deal Jun 26, 2013

Since I no longer live from hand to mouth these days, I don't really understand this widespread obsession with getting paid at 30 days myself. I have some clients who pay regularly at 90 days, although they usually pay a little sooner. I also have a couple who pay "when they can" which is sometimes 6 months or more after delivery of the translation.

Of course, we always have the option to "just say no" if the terms and conditions proposed don't suit us, but the way I see it is that it's their way of doing things and - as one service provider among many - I realise I just have to live with it if I want to keep them on board as clients.


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