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"Our payment term is..."
Thread poster: cloudhunter

cloudhunter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:25
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
Aug 14, 2017

Good evening.

I am frustrated and need to share. I have also been wondering, if it has become a trend now or is it only me?

Two examples (from many):

1. An agency (I am not really sure how big because one does not find a lot about them on the internet. BB 4,9) I have been working with for over a year now. First invoice back then paid on time and according to my terms. Then they explained their term is 40 days, which I normally do not accept (14 normally, 30 max for some very nice clients) but I agreed (BB of 4,9 but 5,0 in the last 12 months) to. From then on not one single payment on time. Every single time (but really!) I have had to write a reminder, which I write directly after 40 days pass (40 days are enough, right) and the play begins. "I have paid last week" (no, you didn't), "I have paid 3 days ago" (not really), "I have paid now" (hm...) and the best one (after I explained what I think about 40 days still being too short): "But we eventually pay!" (Oh, thanks a lot!)
I am facing this again, right now and I just don't feel like doing so anymore. They have two outstanding invoices (one overdue, one not) and there will not be any further ones from my side.

2. An agency (a smaller one). When I reply to a query, I always state my terms in the footer - the payment term is 14 days and if one accepts my quote, they also accept this one. I completed a job for them and they found the translation very good. After 2 weeks, after I reminded about the payment, all I got was a "we pay within 30 days". Which they didn't. They paid after 40 days.

So I gave them the last chance and completed a big assignment, which I was personally interested in. Now the 30 days are over and still no money. Information on Friday: we will pay on Monday. Monday is over but no money. Explanation: but we eventually pay!

Recently I have been contacted by some agencies offering me 0.01/0.02/0.03USD/source word. I explained I do not work for such sums. What I hear was: It might be low, but we pay!

I am pretty shocked that such clients all have 5,0BB, some of them being "I got paid" but still 5,0!
Is it a new trend with agencies: be happy, we eventually pay or is it me (even though I do the due dilligence).


 

Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:25
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
You can affect BB scores Aug 14, 2017

You say you don't plan to work for these folks again. So, if the scores are higher than you personally believe they deserve, give them a low score and explain why. That should help tilt their score!

 

cloudhunter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:25
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I will Aug 14, 2017

Yolanda Broad wrote:

You say you don't plan to work for these folks again. So, if the scores are higher than you personally believe they deserve, give them a low score and explain why. That should help tilt their score!


I will, of course. What I am trying to understand/make out is if it happens to all of us and if so, why nobody writes about it, which means they do not mind being paid ridiculously late, as long as one gets paid at all.

You don't go to your beautician, get your hair, nails and God knows what else done and state you will pay in 60 daysicon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2017-08-15 04:54 GMT]


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:25
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
A sign of ever-lowering standards and desperation Aug 15, 2017

cloudhunter wrote:

Yolanda Broad wrote:

You say you don't plan to work for these folks again. So, if the scores are higher than you personally believe they deserve, give them a low score and explain why. That should help tilt their score!


I will, of course. What I am trying to understand/make out is if it happens to all of us and if so, why nobody writes about it, which means they do not mind being paid ridiculously late, as long as one gets paid at all.

You don't get to your beautician, get your hair, nails and God knows what else done and state you will pay in 60 daysicon_smile.gif


First of all, 40 or 45 days is no longer considered a particularly long payment term.

Secondly, a lot of translators are not especially outraged if they have to send a reminder or two in order to get paid, as long as they do eventually get paid.

Thirdly, you have to remember that, in order for a freelancer to reach the point of giving an agency a low BB rating, he or she has to essentially renounce any hope of ever working with that agency again. Many translators are unwilling to do this unless they have had not just one or two, but a series of bad experiences with a given agency.

Bearing all this in mind should help you understand some of the inflated BB ratings you see.

[Edited at 2017-08-15 13:13 GMT]


 

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:25
Member (2007)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Logical conclusion: Aug 15, 2017

The perfect condition in the translation industry under the given observations = to pay as low as possible (approaching to zero), as late as possible (approaching to never) and to avoid such conditions (approaching to change of career) then would be a world with no demand and needs of translation work at all. Only when that condition is reached, all parties involved will be happy. Therefore, let´s all together contribute to a better world!

[Edited at 2017-08-15 06:15 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:25
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Because the Blue Board is not anonymous Aug 15, 2017

cloudhunter wrote:
What I am trying to understand/make out is if it happens to all of us and if so, why nobody writes about it, which means they do not mind being paid ridiculously late...


No, that is false logic.

When you post a very negative comment on the Blue Board, essentially saying "I don't want to work for this client again", it is quite likely that the client will stop sending you work. The unwritten purpose of the Blue Board is to cement or destroy relations with clients. Hardly any client will respond to a "1" rating by saying "Thank you for your kind criticism, we will endeavour to do better".

You're assuming that translators who are unhappy with a client will stop working for that client. But business relationships are seldom perfect, and translators grow a thick skin -- weighing up the good against the bad before deciding whether to ditch a client.

Does the agency pay? If yes, then the agency is a payer. For some translators, that outweighs many bad.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:25
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
If they are repeat offenders, drop them already Aug 15, 2017

cloudhunter wrote:
I have been working with for over a year now.

So this has been going on for some time. Why have you permitted this? By not declining their offers of more work you are (a) incurring unwanted stress, (b) reducing your revenue stream and (c) encouraging/enabling them.

Walk away. If you do not have the strength to stand up for yourself, others will take advantage of you. It is the same in all walks of life. The world is a tough place. As freelancers we must be firm with low-quality clients. Fair, polite, but firm.

Regards,
Dan


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:25
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Unwritten function of Blue Board Aug 15, 2017

Samuel Murray wrote:

The unwritten purpose of the Blue Board is to cement or destroy relations with clients. Hardly any client will respond to a "1" rating by saying "Thank you for your kind criticism, we will endeavour to do better".

You're assuming that translators who are unhappy with a client will stop working for that client. But business relationships are seldom perfect, and translators grow a thick skin -- weighing up the good against the bad before deciding whether to ditch a client.

Does the agency pay? If yes, then the agency is a payer. For some translators, that outweighs many bad.


Very well said, and overlaps with and reinforces the points I made in my previous post.

[Edited at 2017-08-15 13:39 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:25
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Many of us mind a lot about payment terms Aug 15, 2017

cloudhunter wrote:
Yolanda Broad wrote:
You say you don't plan to work for these folks again. So, if the scores are higher than you personally believe they deserve, give them a low score and explain why. That should help tilt their score!


I will, of course. What I am trying to understand/make out is if it happens to all of us and if so, why nobody writes about it, which means they do not mind being paid ridiculously late, as long as one gets paid at all.

On the contrary, I thought it was a pet peeve of these forums, second only to the complaints about rates.

I'm actually surprised that you ask for payment within 14 days - although of course you have a perfect right to, and all power to you if you have enough clients who accept it. The "standard" B2B term in the EU, if neither party states one elsewhere (which of course would constitute the contractual payment period between the two parties) is 30 days. No way is it supposed to be more than 60, again within the EU. My own payment term is 30 days month end and, although I do occasionally accept longer, I would never accept longer than 45 days. Many of my clients pay far more quickly - which is great, of course - but they do occasionally forget and I have to send a reminder. If I have to send a reminder every time I very soon fire them, and if I have to send a second reminder to pay an invoice it's often an instant dismissal.

I've often wanted to delay delivering a translation until they remind me that the deadline has passed. Then I could deliver a few days after that, with a note to the effect that "I delivered it in the end, didn't I?" But it just isn't going to happen icon_frown.gif.

You don't go to your beautician, get your hair, nails and God knows what else done and state you will pay in 60 daysicon_smile.gif

That's an entirely different situation. It's a B2C service, and consumers are rarely afforded any time to pay. It's normally a simple cash or card transaction, sorted by putting your hand in your pocket/bag. It's accepted that businesses have procedures, in fact QA procedures may make it impossible for payment to be made before the quality has been assessed, and the larger the business the more procedures there are. A certain delay is necessary, I think. Your translation business would normally be afforded time to pay if you order business cards, a website, accountancy help, proofreading, etc. Mine certainly expects it.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 05:25
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Stand firm Aug 15, 2017

You deliver your work on time. The agency would be in serious trouble otherwise, and they know it.

You have to pay your bills. What would your landlord say if you gave some vague promise to pay - er - sometime? Tenants are protected up to a point in many countries, but sooner or later, they have to pay the rent.

Shops generally have to be paid on the spot, or you don't take the goods out. You would be in trouble with almost any other service provider if you did not pay as agreed, probably THEIR terms, but on time.

Send a gentle reminder if you think there might be some mistake. (It has happened for several of my best clients, who are small agencies or one-person firms and have a lot on their minds, or they may be ill...). If they do not respond with an apology and instant payment, send a sharp reminder and consider dropping them.

Luckily there are still plenty of clients who do pay on time, and reasonable rates too. Translators may be the small fish, but they are in fact the suppliers that the whole business is built on. The others need us at least as much as we need them! So don't let them push you around...


 

The Misha
Local time: 23:25
Russian to English
+ ...
You are the victim only the first time Aug 15, 2017

[quote]Dan Lucas wrote:



Walk away. If you do not have the strength to stand up for yourself, others will take advantage of you. It is the same in all walks of life. The world is a tough place. As freelancers we must be firm with low-quality clients. Fair, polite, but firm.



... from that point on, you are a volunteer.


 

cloudhunter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:25
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for all contributions Aug 16, 2017

Christine Andersen wrote:

Send a gentle reminder if you think there might be some mistake. (It has happened for several of my best clients, who are small agencies or one-person firms and have a lot on their minds, or they may be ill...). If they do not respond with an apology and instant payment, send a sharp reminder and consider dropping them.

Luckily there are still plenty of clients who do pay on time, and reasonable rates too. Translators may be the small fish, but they are in fact the suppliers that the whole business is built on. The others need us at least as much as we need them! So don't let them push you around...



These are my thoughts. I accept being paid 14/30 days after the delivery but if the term (which I also agreed to once) is 40 and the customer does not manage to pay on time (not once!), there is a serious problem (not on my side).

I am aware of possible QA (and other) processes, but I normally do not work on long projects, so how long does it take to do QA on 5000 words? And in my case these are small(er) agencies. I only have one huge agency as a customer and they are the only agency, which I have never had to send a reminder to.

And yes, I am still a bit shocked that there are so many of us out there who are happy with "oh well, but they eventually paid".


 

Andrejs Gorbunovs  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 06:25
Member (2013)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Funny story Aug 16, 2017

A funny thing happened to me today.

A straight 5 BlueBoard rating client has not paid my invoice which is due since 01.08.2017, the invoice stated the payment term of 15 days, which was initially fine for the client.

I've sent a reminder on the 1st of August, I've sent another reminder last week and received an automatic reply that the client is on holidays, but he will definitely answer me.

Since I did not receive any reply, I've sent a reminder today (31st day since the day of invoice), and in this reminder I stated that due to the fact that my previous 2 e-mails were ignored, I will have to resort to contacting Proz.com and end client about the fact of non-payment.

I received an instant reply that accused me of a failure to understand that the person was on holiday and that our future cooperation will not be continued due to my threats to contact Proz.com, however, I will be paid (he did not say when).

Time and time again I am shocked by this attitude, since the person requires perfect translation done in the shortest possible time, but when it comes to payment, his obligations to pay are not as binding as an obligation to deliver quality translation.

I still think that I will have to make the "late payment" entry on BlueBoard to warn others.


 

cloudhunter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:25
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, please, do Aug 16, 2017

Andrejs Gorbunovs wrote:


I still think that I will have to make the "late payment" entry on BlueBoard to warn others.




It would be very helpful. If nobody does, such cases will be happening again. I wrote an e-mail to one of the clients today morning stating the same and the money is there... He is going to be getting an entry anyway.


 

cloudhunter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:25
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Could you please change your BB? Aug 17, 2017

The following situation:

One of the above mentioned clients paid. But there were two of them.

The deadline passed so an e-mail was written. He replied, telling the payment would be made on a particular day. The day passed and no payment. Further e-mail from me, no reply. I have tried to contact the Client via phone - not available even though present at the office, I should call again the next day.

Further e-mail and a phone call remained unanswered. So a BB-entry of 2 and an e-mail with a reminder that he is not allowed to publish my translation as long as it is not paid, followed. Suddenly the client wrote back telling me how disappointed he now is because he was on holiday and I refuse to understand. And that he paid but if I do not remove the BB entry, he is going to go to the police. I wrote back that I will alter the entry (not the score, only the information about the non-payment) as soon as the money gets to my account.

To this point it was just a case between us. But.

I got contacted by the proz staff telling me that my client told them he had paid and asking if I could edit or better, remove the entry. Well, no, I couldn't. I couldn't because I still have not received my payment and secondly - why, for Christ's sake? Because he paid (when he does)? What about the problems with getting paid?

Now I understand how these people get the 5 BBs. I am pretty disappointed by proz (again in case of BB...). As long as the agencies are happy, proz is happy, right?

[Edited at 2017-08-17 17:54 GMT]


 
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