Poll: If a first-time client sent an overdue payment would you work for them again?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 19:51
SITE STAFF
Mar 17, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "If a first-time client sent an overdue payment would you work for them again?".

This poll was originally submitted by Norman Buhagiar. View the poll results »



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Livia D'Ettorre  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:51
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Maybe Mar 17, 2011

It depends on what you mean by "overdue". If it's just a few days, I would work for them again. On the other hand, if I have to chase payment and it takes months before they pay me, I don't think I would.

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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:51
Member
German to English
+ ...
It depends Mar 17, 2011

It depends on how overdue the payment was. I'm not going to quibble about a couple of weeks, but more than a month starts to make me nervous.

There are a whole load of factors which define how high up the priority list any customers are, and prompt payment is just one of those factors.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
Maybe Mar 17, 2011

It depends on how "overdue" the payment is and acrimony levels or lack thereof.

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:51
Member (2006)
German to English
Bingo Mar 17, 2011

Mary Worby wrote:

It depends on how overdue the payment was. I'm not going to quibble about a couple of weeks, but more than a month starts to make me nervous.

There are a whole load of factors which define how high up the priority list any customers are, and prompt payment is just one of those factors.


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Benoit HUPIN  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:51
English to French
+ ...
Definitely not without relevant explanation Mar 17, 2011

Hello,

My payment policy is crystal-clear : as a freelance translator, I am bound to stick to the deadline at all costs (if not, the client will be the first to ask for a discount) - the counterpart obligation for the client is to pay me right on time. If an invoice is due on day 25, the money must be in my bank account on day 25, not three weeks later (what is the interest of a due date if it is not respected?). It is a question of respect.

Thus, without pertinent explanation (it may happen that the first payment is late due to international bank transfer setups and in this case I can understand), no more jobs accepted. Moreover, I am the first to try to find solutions in case of cash flow problems (payment by installments, by example), but communication is of a paramount importance here. There is nothing worse than a client who does not pay without any explanation.

I have to manage cash flow as well and if each and every client pays as he wishes, it becomes unmanageable.

Regards,

Benoit


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
My take on things Mar 17, 2011

As others have said: it depends.

If the first time client writes something like, “Hi John, we have a translation with a gazillion words. Let us know your best rates and whether you can take it on,”the problem is already solved. An email like that goes directly to the wastepaper basket.

I can’t understand how any serious business would entrust a large job worth a lot of money to someone they don’t even know or have never dealt with before. I also have no idea why translators would accept being owed thousands of (insert currency of your choice) by some company possibly located in Timbuktu or other unknown parts.

If a smallish job is presented to me by a new client, and I’m interested, I’ll probably take it on but only if I’m not busy with a job from an established client, who I know will pay me.

I think any translator needs to have a credit limit that they extend to clients, first-time or otherwise. There’s nothing wrong with telling a client that they’ve reached their limit and no further services will be rendered until outstanding invoices are liquidated. That, of course, is my opinion based on my own experience.


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Adnan Özdemir  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 06:51
Member (2007)
German to Turkish
+ ...
We are both humans... Maybe... Mar 17, 2011

1) Maybe: The outsourcer was ill.

2) Maybe: He/she had a PC problem.

3) Maybe: In that moment the outsourcer have not money.

4) Maybe: My translation was poor...

5) Maybe: Maybe, the outsourcer tested my patient for future projects...

6) Maybe: The bank was awful.

7) Maybe: Outsourcer or freelance translator or -both of them- are humans tambien

8) Maybe, I will work for them again? Who knows




Anadolu'dan selamlar
Saludos desde Anatolia


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 04:51
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I've done it at least twice Mar 17, 2011

On the whole, I have been lucky with clients. They may not pay fast, but the great majority pay on or before the agreed date.

One client sent a rushed job when another translator had been ill and let them down.
I have gained some very good clients that way, so I took the risk.
But this one always seemed to have tight deadlines, and paid late if I took the job. (Three times, I think.) They did not come back after I was genuinely too busy a couple of times. I would not work for them if they asked again.

Another time, the client was enormously apologetic and said there had been som muddle in their accounting system. They talked me into taking a second job, and paid promptly. That was several years ago, and I am glad I am gave them another chance.

But I sometimes I decide - especially after consulting the BB - not to take the job the first time!


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Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:51
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
probably Mar 17, 2011

all kinds of things can screw up a payment and delay it. If it happens I give someone the benefit of the doubt. I had one payment which was delayed and it seemed the client (a marketing agency) was a bit disorganized. But they were apologetic and rushed to get me the payment as soon as I contacted them.
I give people the benefit of the doubt. They mess up once, ok. If they do it again and it's the same thing, or they're disorganized, I'd think twice before accepting any projects again.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:51
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
It all depends Mar 17, 2011

There's no strict "yes" or "no" answer to this question, because it all depends on the reasons and circumstances accompanying the overdue payment.

Among other quite valid reasons, the client might have experienced computer problems - and who has never encountered those?

It also depends on how late the payment arrives, whether there is a reason, a justification and/or an apology included or not.

If one or more payment reminders had been sent (and were probably ignored), then he or she would become a permanent "first-time" client.

[Edited at 2011-03-17 18:48 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-03-17 18:48 GMT]


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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:51
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Maybe Mar 17, 2011

I am fully with Thayenga, nothing to add!

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gad
United States
Local time: 22:51
Member
French to English
Exactly Mar 17, 2011

Livia D'Ettorre wrote:

It depends on what you mean by "overdue". If it's just a few days, I would work for them again. On the other hand, if I have to chase payment and it takes months before they pay me, I don't think I would.


Right, it depends on how late, and also how responsive they are to inquiries regarding payment. I mean if payment is a week late and they are very apologetic, then I would probably work with them again. If payment is a month or more late then I'd probably be unavailable if they contact me again.


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Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 03:51
Japanese to English
Depends Mar 17, 2011

Any client I have to send more than one reminder to is off my list. One reminder and prompt payment afterwards, fine, but no more. If I'd submitted my work late and only after several prompts and e-mails you can bet they'd never work with me again.

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