Payment terms - When clients linger for 10+ days
Thread poster: Mari Noller
Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:27
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Jun 10, 2005

There has been several occasions that I have had to wait a week, two weeks or even three weeks before the client finally make the payment.
If the payment term is set to 30 days, shouldn't the money be in the account at the 30th day?
We all know bank transfers will take up to 4-5 working days to complete, i.e the payment should be made 5 days before the 30th day.

My point is, if I let inland revenue wait 2-3 weeks before I pay my tax, or I'm late paying my mortage, it will not go down so well.
Am I the only one, or is this a problem for most freelancers?
Any advice what to do in a situation like this?


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xxxsonja29
Spanish to English
+ ...
You are not alone Jun 10, 2005

Unfortunately, it happens all the time.

If the payment term is set to 30 days, the money should be in your account BY the 30th day. Decent clients/agencies will pay before the 30th day, but in my experience most of them will draw it out as much as they can get away with.

Every time I find myself in a situation like this, I pursue the client aggressively. On the 29th day they get a reminder by email and another one on the 30th. Most times it works. When it doesn't, I inundate them with emails (and phone calls, as necessary) until they pay up.

I always deliver ahead of my deadline and there would be hell to pay if I were even minimally late with the translation. It is unfair trying to get your money after having worked hard for it, but this is the unfortunate reality.

Best, best of luck to you.

Sonja


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
cultural issue? Jun 10, 2005

dinamin wrote:

If the payment term is set to 30 days, shouldn't the money be in the account at the 30th day?



It's a cultural issue, some countries simply do not appreciate that when you put 30 days, it's a term of the contract.

In Spain, delays can be up to 90-120 days. I try to avoid this (it's what some agencies negotiate), but my regulars (a number of universities) fail to be efficient, so I can't count on 30 days...maybe 45, 50, 60, 4 months...and August - the holiday month - screws things up by at least 4-6 weeks:-)

There simply isn't a culture in Spain where a payment deadline is accorded (90%-)100% respect, especially when it's THEY who pay YOU, in other words I get the distinct impression that there is a psychological 'power' attitude that places those who PAY in a dominant position over those who RECEIVE...in other words, there is little perception of 'equal exchange', my service for your money...if I comply, so should you:-)

That said, I tend to be flexible, allowing a generous period of grace before I politely ask when I will be paid:-)


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 09:27
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
we should be consequent Jun 11, 2005

Most of us I believe are a little anxious to loose a client, if we let him pay for delays. We shouldn't be. Our debitors (electricity, water, landlords) are not afraid to loose us when they make us pay for late payment. It's normal business practice to charge a fee for reminders plus the normal interest rate.
Also in Spain this is the case I believe. But because we small business clients are not consequent by putting fees and interest on the next invoice at least those get away with it every time.

But I concede to a few days delay because I know, that some clients have the habit of paying all there translation bills at a certain day of the month, which does not coincide with the date I put on my invoice.

Regards
Heinrich


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Natalia Elo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:27
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Other cultural issues Jun 11, 2005

Is it some sort of complaining thread? I'm with you;).


Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Our debitors (electricity, water, landlords) are not afraid to lose us when they make us pay for late payment. It's normal business practice to charge a fee for reminders plus the normal interest rate.

Regards
Heinrich


Yeah, medical insurance is withdrawn from your account automatically each month. It's the thing I simply can't get used to here, in Germany, as compared to how it was in Finland.

In Germany, I think it is not even possible to have a mobile phone without an agreemnet, that bills are charged directly from your account, prepaid cards being an exception.


Ailish Maher wrote:
It's a cultural issue, some countries simply do not appreciate that when you put 30 days, it's a term of the contract.

In Spain, ..., but my regulars (a number of universities) fail to be efficient, so I can't count on 30 days...maybe 45, 50, 60, 4 months...and August - the holiday month - screws things up by at least 4-6 weeks:-)

I bet the people working full-time in the universities are paid on time;)

Cheers
Natalia


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:27
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
people who pay us are exactly that - people Jun 11, 2005

Of course, any large company with a competent accounts department will have your money in your bank not before, not after but on the 29th/30th day or whatever else you agreed with them.

Of course, it is true that prompt payment is a sign of professionalism and is to be expected.

Of course, we provide our end of the bargain "on time, every time" and we deserve the same.

But then we have to remember that it is not likely that agencies or clients are "out to withhold payment for as long as possible" (if they are they have a policy of paying a long time after the job) and 90% of the time there are simply organisational/time-pressure problems.

Usually, 1 polite e-mail a week after payment is due is sufficient but I don't see the need to aggressively pursue (and maybe lose) a client.

This happens in all kinds of business, not only translation. I used to work in a small company (about 8 employees) who hired a new part-time person just to chase up invoices! And this company was working on a B-2-B basis, so it wasn't individuals but rather huge international companies which were forgetting to pay on time!



[Edited at 2005-06-11 11:17]


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:27
Flemish to English
+ ...
Translation : The Wor(l)d on Time??? Jun 11, 2005

That mulitnational, which has "The World on Time" as its motto gives its customers 14 days to pay their bills.
After 14 days, they send a reminder. If you don't react to that, you will get a letter that the matter is being dealt with by their lawyer.

Paying on Time means earning less interest.
Cultural issues, my foot: For the umpteenth time, in the EU, it should be 30 days. What would happen if you deliver your translation with the same speed as some clients pay?
Or do you have to encrypt it and give the key only after payment has been made? I did that once: instead of the paying after 30 days, the lady rushed to the bank and paid immediately. Never heard of her again.


[Edited at 2005-06-11 16:28]


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 02:27
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Not bad! ;-) Jun 11, 2005

Williamson wrote:
Or do you have to encrypt it and give the key only after payment has been done? I did that once: instead of the paying after 30 days, the lady rushed to the bank and paid immediately. Never heard of her again.


Good one!

Nancy


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Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:27
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
one example Jun 11, 2005

I had this client last month.. I delivered two days before time, but the next day they e-mailed me every 10 mins saying they didn't know how to extract the files (this was at night time so I wasn't around). After about 15 e-mails they had finally extracted the files, but were not happy with me for this (which surprised me as they had sent me a .zip archive in the first place).

However, a month later when I sent them a polite notification about a missing payment, all they replied with was "we'll have someone look into it".
That was 20 days ago now, and I still haven't received anything.

To me it seems that agencies don't see freelancers as professionals, and they would rather set up a 90 day payment term to earn interest on our money, than be professional and pay us on time.


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Payment terms - When clients linger for 10+ days

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