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Poll: When an invoice is overdue, when do you send the first reminder?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 15:14
SITE STAFF
Nov 26, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When an invoice is overdue, when do you send the first reminder?".

This poll was originally submitted by Dora Evagelinaki

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 00:14
English to French
+ ...
Depends... Nov 26, 2009

... on the amount of the invoice and on the time I have at hand to take care of that sort of things.

[Modifié le 2009-11-26 15:19 GMT]


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Oleksandr Kupriyanchuk  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 01:14
Russian to English
+ ...
Always paid in time. Nov 26, 2009

Except a couple of exceptions, when there had been no formal reminders.

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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:14
Member
German to English
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Likewise Nov 26, 2009

Interlangue wrote:

depends ... on the amount of the invoice and of the time I have at hand to take care of that sort of things


I have no strict systems in place, but a large invoice for a new customer is likely to get a reminder a lot quicker than a small invoice for an established customer (and known payer).

I tend not to send reminders per se anyway. I'm a bit British and say 'terribly sorry to bother you, but I note my invoice hasn't been paid. I'm sure it's an oversight and can you let me know when I can expect payment.' Seems to work!


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Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:14
Member
French to English
+ ...
It depends, but fairly quickly Nov 26, 2009

In general, I try to handle such issues quickly - say, within ten days - if I'm dealing with a new customer.

My regular customers tend to pay early or on time. I suppose if one was late, I'd ring them or send a friendly email and ask if they'd forgotten me.

Thus far, I've had good luck. In five years of freelancing, I've sent less than ten reminders.

When conditions of sale and payment terms are clearly established from the start, risk is greatly reduced, IMHO.

Best,
Jocelyne


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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:14
Member (2007)
German to French
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1 week Nov 26, 2009

That's what I answered, though it's usually rather 4-5 days. But as Mary said, it all depends on the customer, whether it's a new one or an established customer.

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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:14
Member (2008)
English to Italian
depends Nov 26, 2009

It depends:
long-term client: never (I mean payment terms are clear and they are known to be good payers)

new clients:

1) small amount 15 days
2) big amount 5 days


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Stefan Schilling  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:14
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Reminders are hardly ever necessary Nov 26, 2009

Mary Worby wrote:

I tend not to send reminders per se anyway. I'm a bit British and say 'terribly sorry to bother you, but I note my invoice hasn't been paid. I'm sure it's an oversight and can you let me know when I can expect payment.' Seems to work!


Same here, although I'm German Usually the invoices are paid on time anyway.


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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:14
Member (2008)
English to Italian
concept of reminder Nov 26, 2009

Mary Worby wrote:

I tend not to send reminders per se anyway. I'm a bit British and say 'terribly sorry to bother you, but I note my invoice hasn't been paid. I'm sure it's an oversight and can you let me know when I can expect payment.' Seems to work!


Well that's my idea of reminder as well!!! even thoough I am Italian


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:14
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
When I realise it hasn't been paid Nov 26, 2009

I only noticed a couple of days ago that a July invoice hadn't been paid when the agency asked me to do more work for them. Turns out they never got a copy of it (they prefer snail mail).
I know I should be more organised, but I hate admin stuff


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 23:14
Dutch to English
+ ...
Next working day Nov 26, 2009

I'm a lawyer, what can I say? Probably the result of years of chasing fees in a legal practice, but I don't see the point in waiting longer since I've already upheld my end of the bargain.

Touch wood, it's hardly been necessary with my clients, as most of them pay early, bang on time or advise beforehand if there is going to be a slight delay. My first email is always just to ask politely when the transfer was/will be made.


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Christopher Fitzsimons
Switzerland
Local time: 00:14
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Next working day Nov 26, 2009

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:
I don't see the point in waiting longer since I've already upheld my end of the bargain...
My first email is always just to ask politely when the transfer was/will be made.


Same with me. I have only really had one major problem with a non-paying client and a few regular clients who have been slightly slow to pay but this has always been sorted out soon after I send a polite reminder. If the payment term is 30 days, I sometimes wait a few extra days but with the few clients I have who pay at 60 days after the date of invoice, I would always contact them the next working day after payment is due.


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DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:14
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
10 days .... Nov 26, 2009

I am the only one with late paying customers in 2009?

I invoice on Fridays and end of the month and I start asking questions on the Monday a week after the payment was due, so max. 10 days.

Like many others, I usually send out a "hello - did you forget me" type message after a week to anyone who is late in paying. Seems to work.

Having said that, all except a handful of my Greek customers, direct and agencies alike, routinely pay late, its cultural I guess.

Almost everone reliably informs me when payment will be sent when I send my first message, the delays are usually only a few days.

However if that doesn't work out ...
If by the next Monday (17 days) I haven't received a reply or payment, I call, same tone as the email.
If by the next Monday (24 days, which I think is quite long enough) I still haven't received a payment or the new expected payment date has passed, I give the details to my lawyer who takes it from there, often it only takes a phone call from her and problem solved.

I had many late paying customers especially from the US and the UK in 2009, several of them contacted me to inform me on or before the due date that payments would be late while companies merged, consolidated, liquidated, etc., and to make arrangements to defer payments, pay in installments, politely inform me that for the present I have more chance of seeing the dark side of the moon than my money, etc. Some of these sagas still continue.

Am I the only one that had this experience in 2009, surely not?


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Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:14
Member (2009)
French to English
A week sounds good Nov 26, 2009

I liked to leave the client a few days grace to allow for mailing or payment delays. I would much rather have a congenial relationship and avoid the sending of reminders, second reminders, etc. Nonetheless, if a client does go beyond that grace period, I can be downright pesky.

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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 00:14
English to French
+ ...
Do not worry Nov 26, 2009

DianeGM wrote:

I am the only one with late paying customers in 2009?

Am I the only one that had this experience in 2009, surely not?



First time in ages I have late payments, even from people or agencies who/that normally pay on time.
Had little time to brood over it since July, but reacted immediately a few weeks ago when a big amount did not arrive as expected.
I just went over invoices and payments today, and noticed 3 customers owe me a total of 5 invoices... Will be taken care of


[Modifié le 2009-11-26 19:49 GMT]


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