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When do you send your first payment reminder?
Thread poster: Jennifer Baker

Jennifer Baker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:56
Member (2004)
Italian to English
Jun 1, 2006

This probably could have been a poll...
After how many days do you send your first "friendly" payment reminder for overdue invoices?
Jennifer


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:56
The day after... Jun 1, 2006

... I was supposed to receive payment, and I did not.

And then, I usually find out that the invoice was misplaced, or that the accountant is on holidays and payments are delayed by a week, or something like that.

[Edited at 2006-06-01 15:42]


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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:56
Member (2002)
English to German
About 30 days Jun 1, 2006

Usually I wait 30 days after it is due.

That's a long time but I have a few clients who are always up to 30 days late but they pay for sure. As longs as they pay I don't mind so much if they are up to a month late.

Another reason is that if I wanted to do the dunning more often I would have to spend too much time that I don't have.
Which is quite a pragmatic approach, especially for a former accountant

Best regards

Andy

www.interlations.com


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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 19:56
Member (2005)
English to German
Whenever I have time Jun 1, 2006

I go through all the paperwork once a month (when I have to declare VAT anyway) and/or when I have time, whichever occurs first. Then I remind people of any missing payments, missing POs etc. that exist at that point.

The tone depends on the clients - someone with a dedicated accountant who always pays after the second reminder, will instantly get the formal PDF. A small customer who sometimes has too much work to get things done on time, gets a friendly remark in brackets in the next mail I would have sent anyway


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:56
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Very simple Jun 1, 2006

ALWAYS on the first day that payment is overdue (that is, the 31st day after the date of the invoice, since I allow 30 days for payment).

My theory (based on experience in the past) is that I do not gain anything, except an unhealthy bank account, by waiting a few more days, in order to theoretically be polite. Nobody is going to thank me for that.

It is no accident if payment does not arrive within 30 days. Invoices are seldom genuinely lost, and, if the book-keeper/business owner/whoever is responsible for paying the bill goes on holiday without paying up within the 30 days, that is also INTENTIONAL. In 100% of cases customers INTEND to hold onto the money (i.e. withhold it from the supplier) for as long as possible. They are not being polite in doing that, therefore there is no case for "politely" giving them more time.

Never forget to send the reminder on the first day overdue. It is a much more urgent task, from your point of view, than the translation you are currently working on.

Astrid


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 10:56
English to French
+ ...
Agree with Astrid Jun 1, 2006

I believe in sending reminders right away, too. Besides the very valid points Astrid made, I think it tells the client that we are well organized and we run a tight ship.

I also agree that there's no such thing as a misplaced invoice. That one sounds like "the dog ate my homework" imo.

[Edited at 2006-06-01 18:38]

[Edited at 2006-06-01 18:38]


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 23:26
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
A few days BEFORE the payment becomes due Jun 1, 2006

I usually send a reminder to my clients about the payment a couple of days before the payment becomes due. The idea is to stir up things a bit at the client's account department so that my invoice receives the necessary attention.

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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:56
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
seven days after the payment is due Jun 2, 2006

That is still very close to when it is due, but prevents me from sending notices to people who had actually already sent the check (but the check had not yet arrived - it happes fairly often, and I can see when the check was mailed by the post office date stamp).

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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 14:56
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
When I have time or when I remember Jun 2, 2006

lately I'm giving very short deadlines for payments (upon receipt of the translation, within one week and one month for those I know very well), so I'm paid before I miss it, even if they don't pay the day they should.

Claudia


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:56
English to German
+ ...
Three to four weeks after the invoice date Jun 2, 2006

Our invoices are payable upon receipt; in practice, most payments come in between 10 and 20 calendar days afterwards.

I send a reminder by e-mail for pending payments which are three weeks overdue, except for clients who usually pay within four weeks. Checking incoming payments is a daily routine, which I carry out regardless of workload.

Best regards,
Ralf


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xxxsergey
Local time: 18:56
Russian to English
+ ...
a month and a week later Jun 2, 2006

with my terms of payment being 30 days.
as someone has already mentioned a cheque could have been delayed by the royal mail.
then i send a reminder straight away and frown upon not receiving any explanations or apologies, and seriously consider asking that client to remove my details from their records, because i am simply not prepared to work for clients who pay late.

sergey

ps
i also suspend all activities with that client until the invoice is paid and threaten to start charging interest.


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Jennifer Baker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:56
Member (2004)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
I would love to hear from my Italian colleagues, too... Jun 2, 2006

...and everyone else, of course. I'm finding this quite interesting. Thanks to everyone for your replies.

Jennifer


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:56
Flemish to English
+ ...
EU directive with regard to late payments. Jun 2, 2006

I copied the principal stipulations of the E.U.directive with Regard to late payments in commercial transactions on the back of my invoices.
That directive states : 30 days after delivery of goods or services.
The directive has been approved by all the parliaments of the E.U., including Italy, Spain.....
Normally, everywhere in the E.U., it should be 30 days. Otherwise you are entitled to damages amounting to the interest-rate of the ECB (now at 7,5%)+ your own interest rate for late payments.


[Edited at 2006-06-02 08:47]


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Peter Bouillon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:56
French to German
+ ...
Don't! Jun 2, 2006

JL Baker wrote:
After how many days do you send your first "friendly" payment reminder for overdue invoices?


Don't send a payment reminder.

Something might have gone wrong with the invoice you sent. It might have been routed to the wrong division, the contact person might be on a half-year vacation and his/her inbound mail piles up on his/her desk etc. Also, there might be red tape to wade through. For instance, the invoice can't be processed for lack of a certain code that should have been included.

If you chase a piece of paper with another similar piece of paper, the second one might get lost exactly the same way the first one did. There's nothing to be gained from that.

So, don't send a friendly payment reminder first thing after the invoice becomes overdue. Pick up the phone instead. It's much less expensive than it used to be, even for international phone calls.

After you've cleared up the technicals, then it might be time for a written reminder.

P.


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Hester Eymers  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:56
Member (2005)
English to Dutch
+ ...
31 days... Jun 2, 2006

as my term of payment is 30 days. I send a reminder that is to be paid within 14 days. After 15 days I send a second reminder, letting the customer know that the next and final notice will be raised with costs for administration and that if they don't pay that notice within the allowed period, I will make use of the services of a recovery agent.

After one friendly reminder, not paying what is due amounts to thinking you can mess with me, which you can't... Anyway, that's the message I intend to give.


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