Invoicing international clients - Help!
Thread poster: Grace Shalhoub

Grace Shalhoub  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:04
French to English
+ ...
Feb 19, 2014

Hello!
I am a freelance translator based in France. Untill now I only had French clients/agencies and did not worry about invoicing.

I am starting to be in contact with international clients and I am quite lost in terms of invoicing.

Direct wire would probably cost the client additional costs, Paypal charges both them (10$ per transfer) and around 4% for me.

My questions:
- What methods do you use?
- Do you trust receiving a cheque? A US client suggested this. Is this common practice. I asked my bank and they said I had to pay 17€ minimum for every cheque!
- How do you handle these additional costs?

Thank you in advance for your input.

Grace


 

Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:04
English to French
+ ...
Checks are common in the USA Feb 19, 2014

Indeed, payment by check (not cheque) is the common form of payment in the USA. And, indeed, international payment by checks is not free. International bank transfers are also not free. PayPal is expensive, too, as well as other means of payment.

It is up to you to decide what you want to do, but in essence you have realized now that there is no free lunch.

Me, I have been refusing for years to work for European customers, not only because of the above costs, but also because of the length of time required for payment by French businesses.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:04
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Cheque is normally a poor choice Feb 19, 2014

It might be great for a US citizen to receive a cheque drawn on a US bank, but it isn't so for others. 17€ is very cheap, in my experience, plus it will take up to three weeks to clear on top of postal time.

PayPal is normally cheaper for smallish amounts. Personally, I keep my USD PayPal income in USD, in a separate balance from my EUR amounts. There are some goods and services that are much cheaper from the US and it means I don't have to do any unnecessary currency exchanges.

My main US clients are happier to pay by wire transfer now than they were 10 years ago, and I don't pay a cent to receive them. I even get a decent rate. Maybe US banks are going electronic at last.


 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:04
Member
English to French
Some replies Feb 19, 2014

Grace Shalhoub wrote:
My questions:
- What methods do you use?
- Do you trust receiving a cheque? A US client suggested this. Is this common practice. I asked my bank and they said I had to pay 17€ minimum for every cheque!
- How do you handle these additional costs?

I assume you reside in the eurozone.
Eurozone customers: bank transfers, costs next to nothing
Non eurozone Customers (UK, USA...): on a case-by-case basis, wire transfers, Paypal, TranslatorPay. I haven't tried this last option yet, but they are supposed to be cheaper than the other two.

Expect to pay about EUR/USD50 for a bank transfer from Americas. Some customers pay their own bank fees, others don't. Anyway, you will pay bank fees (including any fees from intermediary banks). But there is a point where bank transfers get cheaper than Paypal.

For Paypal, it is about 4%.

If you invoice in your customer currency, it will cost you even more (exchange rate) unless you have a foreign currency account.

Forget cheques (British spelling).

Make sure you take those expenses into account when you set your rates for overseas customers, and don't make invoices worth EUR20 jobs to customers out of the eurozone, it's not worth it.
And try to invoice in YOUR currency, not the customer's.

Good luck,
Philippe

Edit:
Sheila Wilson wrote:
My main US clients are happier to pay by wire transfer now than they were 10 years ago, and I don't pay a cent to receive them. I even get a decent rate. Maybe US banks are going electronic at last.

Good for you! I've never managed to receive money from the Americas without paying...

[Edited at 2014-02-19 18:10 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:04
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You're with the wrong bank :) Feb 19, 2014

Philippe Etienne wrote:
Sheila Wilson wrote:
My main US clients are happier to pay by wire transfer now than they were 10 years ago, and I don't pay a cent to receive them. I even get a decent rate. Maybe US banks are going electronic at last.

Good for you! I've never managed to receive money from the Americas without paying...

You need to be with that one that has its headquarters in a town with the same name very close to Barcelona - they simply don't charge for credit transfers from anywhere in the world, in any currency. They might charge for international debits but I like to keep my money flowing one way!icon_smile.gif


 

Steven Segaert
Estonia
Local time: 20:04
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Formulate some rules for yourself Feb 19, 2014

Indeed, it depends.

Clients in the Eurozone should always pay on your IBAN-account. If the bank gets all the correct data, the cost for a Euro-transfer to the client can not be higher than the cost of a country-internal payment.

Clients outside of the Eurozone (even if they pay in Euro) can also pay to your IBAN-account, but the cost for them - and you - will be higher. In my experience, the best results are reached when they pay using the "shared costs" option.

At the same time, you should decide whether your bank should convert amounts in foreign currencies as they come in, or not. That depends on what your bank charges for that.

Depending on what you pay for receiving international payments on your IBAN-account, you should decide when it is cheaper to use solutions like Paypal.

The advantage of Paypal is, as Sheila mentions, that you don't have to try and take out the balance. I use (some of) it to pay the membership of this site, for example. Or to pay for my software.

There is no one solution - you just need to set your own rules on what amounts you wish to receive how, and to be aware of your overhead.


 

finnword1
United States
Local time: 13:04
English to Finnish
+ ...
translatorpay Feb 19, 2014

http://www.translatorpay.com/Page.aspx?pk=6312
No fees. They make money by buying and selling currencies.
I have received one payment so far, from UK to US. No problem.


 

Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:04
Russian to English
+ ...
Have you tried Translator Pay? Feb 19, 2014

I recently used this method for receiving payments and I'm happy with it. It's an option to consider. www.translatorpay.com

 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:04
French to English
IBAN Feb 20, 2014

Just using simple international bank tranfer is by far the most straightforward means of payment for clients outside yoru own country, in or outside the eurozone.
Checks/cheques are slow to be credited and generally quite costly too, although it does vary from bank to bank. WIth cheques from overseas, the cheque has to make its way to you by post (time, risk of loss in post) and then has to be credited to your account (time). From the day the cheque is sent to the day the funds are creidted to your account, this would take up to a month. Don't know about you, but a lot can happen in a month. Not to mention the fact that a cheque can bounce!


 

Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:04
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Another option Feb 20, 2014

I recently learned about transferwise, apparently created by the same people who built Skype and Paypal (claim is on the website). A client paid me using it, and the money was in my account the next day, with no charges to me. It was a very satisfactory experience, but not available everywhere - not yet, at least. Here is the URL:

https://transferwise.com/


 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Invoicing international clients - Help!

Advanced search







BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, ProZ.com integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »
WordFinder Unlimited
For clarity and excellence

WordFinder is the leading dictionary service that gives you the words you want anywhere, anytime. Access 260+ dictionaries from the world's leading dictionary publishers in virtually any device. Find the right word anywhere, anytime - online or offline.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search