Delayed payments
Thread poster: Srini Venkataraman

Srini Venkataraman
United States
Local time: 07:06
Member (2012)
Tamil to English
+ ...
Mar 2, 2016

In spite if the agreed 30 day payment, I am finding some companies delaying up to 6- 7 weeks and that too after long follow up. a. I can stop doing work for them, or b. make a BB entry (in one case I got paid soon after making an entry), do you have any suggestions how to tackle this.

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JL01  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:06
English to French
+ ...
It comes with the territory Mar 2, 2016

That happens. All the time.

In over 25 years as an self-employed translator in the USA, I have found no way to change that.

I don't like it any more than everyone else.


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DJHartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
You're not the boss Mar 2, 2016

I'm afraid to say that it's next to impossible to dictate your own payment terms to translation agencies. Less than 90 days is the norm. Once you pick up enough regular work (and as long as you have an effective invoicing process) your money will be paid regularly enough. I like it because I have enough warning to deal with a slow month beforehand by putting some funds aside from the previous month's work.

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Srini Venkataraman
United States
Local time: 07:06
Member (2012)
Tamil to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@DJHartmann Mar 2, 2016

wow, you are really a great heart man, and so generous. I have some who pay me in two weeks max, but then there are others. I get irritated once it crosses 5 weeks. I use proz invoicing so monitoring is simple and daily. I had declined 2 leads last month because of their 45 days payment plan(!!!), though my average load is only 3 hrs a day. I would like to get work from some more prompt payers to do 6 -8 hrs a day.

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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Actually, Mar 2, 2016

you are the boss for you really can choose and change what and how you would prefer it; of course, the other party may reject your terms, and you can either negotiate or refuse completely—still you are the boss)

I had a similar case, when they suggested some 45+ days for payment without a specific date. Is, say, 40 years also “some 45+ days”, I wonder? First, I thought it was something to do with the cashing a fat check, security and so on, yet when I learned it was but an ‘established practice,’ I said goodbye to the dead-end project.

Now I work with direct clients, so I’m quite far from such buzzing, however dealing with a new client I enjoyed the idea of a-la PIECE-RATE PAY, when they pay for every portion of the task.

For instance, one translates 10 pages, sends it for approval, corrects something (if any), gets paid as agreed, and if everything is ok, then he takes another portion—till the project is finished: risk assessment and risk management in action)

Usually, when the job is done properly, they offer to pay in full or a decent advance payment, BUT do always ask for firm dates and hard numbers in written!

Can’t tell for sure how the corporate America goes for now, hopefully, you also can make it; do dare!

Cheers.


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Dani Karuniawan  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 19:06
English to Indonesian
+ ...
4 types of client Mar 3, 2016

JL01 wrote:

That happens. All the time.

In over 25 years as an self-employed translator in the USA, I have found no way to change that.

I don't like it any more than everyone else.



You are wrong. Read my post here https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/4-types-client-payment-dani-karuniawan?trk=prof-post. I encountered clients who want to fully pay in advance. In fact, I worked on a project with full payment in advance a week ago. Persons or establishments who want to fully pay in advance EXIST in the World. You need efforts and lucky (blessing from God) to meet them and, once you meet them, you can move clients with long delay payment to peer translators (for example, your junior translators), who are available for them.

Here is the copy in case that you can't access linkedin.

4 types of client by payment
Mar 2, 201622 views2 Likes2 CommentsShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Twitter
Below I summarize 4 types of client based on my personal experience as a freelance translator since 1996.

A. Prepaid-payment client

Characteristics:

Rich, either individuals or establishments
Makes full payment in advance
Money never become a problem.
He or she likes to give you "crazy" deadlines that will make you work for 48 hours straight without sleep. However, because of good payment in advance and always in advance, it's not a big problem for you to delay your sleep and meet that "crazy" expectation.
It is not rare that he or she says "Money is not a problem as long as your work is comparable." A lovable client, right?
Translators eagerly provide the best service with his or her highest motivation for this type. Does motivation influence service performance? Absolutely, yes. I do my best in order to acquire this type of client.

B. Half-prepaid-payment client

Characteristics:

Not so rich
Makes 50% payment in advance and the rest in the deadline date before delivery
Good client
Translators will be happily provides the best service with his or her highest motivation for this type of client. Does motivation influence service performance? Yes.

C. Postpaid-payment client

Characteristics:

Middle-class
Makes payment after completion before delivery
Sufficient client
This type of client is sufficient for survive. Sufficient motivation is sufficient to produce a favorably acceptable product, which still belongs to good category. Does motivation influence service performance?

D. Delayed-payment client

Characteristics:

Poor client, which has no money or budget to pay you. That's why he or she waits until your translation product resulting in money to pay you. In other word, his or her financial budget creates....
Delayed payment.
The worst thing about this last type of client is that he or she wants to get first-class service (as reserved to the first type of client) without a comparable reward. Working to this client makes you feel as if you are a slave. It feels so heavy even only to move your finger to turn your computer on.
Not-so-good client. If you have better options, I bet, you will leave this type of client to your peer translator, who is available.
This type of client is sufficient for survive. Tight motivation, resulting from tight and delayed payment, is sufficient to produce low but acceptable product.



Which one do you love the most among them?
I bet you that all translators point to the first type of client as the best.


[Edited at 2016-03-03 11:31 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-03-03 11:34 GMT]


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
all parties involved Mar 3, 2016

Although such a broad generalization still has several subcategories, the point is that the same client may treat translators (at different circumstances) differently.

Why prepay at $0.1/w if he is agreeing for $0.05/w after 45+ days?!


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:06
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Take action immediately and consistently Mar 4, 2016

Srini Venkataraman wrote:

In spite if the agreed 30 day payment, I am finding some companies delaying up to 6- 7 weeks and that too after long follow up. a. I can stop doing work for them, or b. make a BB entry (in one case I got paid soon after making an entry), do you have any suggestions how to tackle this.

Do (a) if you don't think you can get an improvement in the situation.
Do (b) systematically to warn others that this company doesn't like to pay on time.
But sometimes you can get clients to accept that you need to be paid on time. If you don't make a fuss the first time then you diminish your position the second time, so you have to act consistently. For a new client I'll be onto them with a very polite reminder just two days after due date. Then another less than a week later, and so on. No more work gets done when a payment is overdue. That's an absolute. Why would you?


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Srini Venkataraman
United States
Local time: 07:06
Member (2012)
Tamil to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Shiela W Mar 4, 2016

Thanks for the comments. Of course I will not be doing any more work till their overdue is paid. Even then, I have declined in a client case, saying I am not available. (I may do in case if he comes up with a huge job in future)
In the case where I made a BB entry (I was the first one to create the BB account for the company), soon lot of others came up eulogizing their payment!!!( may be their pain threshold is high)


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:06
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Disagree Mar 6, 2016

Dani Karuniawan wrote:
4 types of client by payment
Rich, either individuals or establishments
Not so rich
Middle-class
Poor client

I completely disagree this idea that rich people always are better payers and poor people are always bad payers. Clearly being willing and capable of paying a supplier quickly has nothing to do with the amount of money you have, but with your planning and responsible attitude. I do not consider myself rich at all, but always make sure I have the money ready to pay my suppliers in a matter of days. If I do not have the money, I simply do not hire someone else.

[Edited at 2016-03-06 08:27 GMT]


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:06
Member (2014)
English to German
Agree! Mar 6, 2016

It may rather have to do with organisational structures and character.

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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:06
French to German
+ ...
Make an entry on the blueboard Mar 6, 2016

I have not come across any agency so far paying in advance. I work with very few agencies though as I prefer direct customers. Some of my direct customers pay 80 % in advance, most 10 days after delivery, for some, especially French administration, it can take up to seven months.

The few agencies I work for pay after 30 days, some immediately after delivery, there are only two which pay within 60 to 90 days after the invoice and in my case they are clearly agencies which do not have enough cash flow and an invoicing system which is a mess. No follow up in their invoices, I always had to make at least one reminder, sometimes three, and to ask for another PO because the word count was not correct, they counted reductions for fuzzy matches I never agreed to etc. I just stopped working for them last month because there are enough customers out there who pay within 30 or 45 days.

I do agree with Tomás though and do not think that payment delays are always a thing of enough cashflow or not, they reflect as well the attitude an agency has concerning its suppliers...

If before translating you agreed on a payment delay of 30 days the money should be there within the delay. If it is not I'd make an entry on the blueboard not only to get the money (normally you get it, but late...), but to warn others and to show the agency they have to respect what has been agreed.

I did already have agencies who agreed to my payment terms and then did not pay for three months, explaining their payment terms were not mine finally. For me this is an absolute no go. In that case they have to mention that before I start working for them.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:06
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I'm certainly not going to choose my clients by socio-economic status Mar 6, 2016

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
Dani Karuniawan wrote:
4 types of client by payment
Rich, either individuals or establishments
Not so rich
Middle-class
Poor client

I completely disagree this idea that rich people always are better payers and poor people are always bad payers. Clearly being willing and capable of paying a supplier quickly has nothing to do with the amount of money you have, but with your planning and responsible attitude. I do not consider myself rich at all, but always make sure I have the money ready to pay my suppliers in a matter of days. If I do not have the money, I simply do not hire someone else.

I too find it particularly distasteful to classify clients that way and agree that willingness to pay has nothing to do with your social class. Of course there are clients who have a need for a translation but are barely able to find the funds to pay for it, but you can learn to sniff out the difference between those who "want to pay" and those who "won't pay". In my 20+ years of freelancing, I've had clients delay payment for all sorts of reasons.

With big companies the delay is normally caused either by deliberate delaying tactics or inefficiency and poor communication between different departments, or the first made to look like the second. I come down like a ton of bricks on them. Occasionally they're having real cash-flow problems, and that can be a problem. For temporary problems, it's best to accept staged payments, while for a company facing bankruptcy you need to send the heavies in straight away or face getting nothing, ever - but how to discover which it is?

With smaller companies and private individuals there are many legitimate reasons for not paying on time: illness or accident, redundancy, marriage breakup, bereavement... And the above can apply to small businesses, too. Also, I've been caught out by daft problems such as international trade sanctions - as if the €100 due from a client in the Middle East was really likely to be the proceeds of gun-running for terrorism! Both clients went to extraordinary lengths to pay me, albeit six months late.

But never have I seen the slightest difference between "rich" and "poor" clients. I'm far more interested in whether they are honest or dishonest. And I'm not interested in 100% advance payment from clients, except for the first order from a private individual. Business really isn't done that way, and when I'm doing business with another business I don't want or need to rock the boat. On receipt is great of course, but I'm happy for them to take 30 days. When I was teaching, I had one client who consistently paid in advance and it caused absolute nightmares for my accounting, particularly the one time when they paid in December for a lesson that never took place, and got the refund in the next tax year. I can do without that hassle.

Bankruptcies are the only cause of permanent default in my 20 years of experience - all the others have paid in the end.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 17:36
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Don't tolerate late payment Mar 8, 2016

For it can become a habit, and set a wrong precedent. Lodge some kind of protest. Make a blue board entry only if matters really get out of hand, for otherwise the knave can hold back the payment out of vindictiveness.

These days, I too am noticing a deplorable trend of increasing payment terms to 30 days or more, though I do have clients who pay up within two weeks. I wish their tribe would increase.


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