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Poll: What fee do you charge for late payments?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 18:36
Nov 29, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What fee do you charge for late payments?".

This poll was originally submitted by E. Novesky. View the poll results »


Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 03:36
English to Russian
+ ...
Virtually useless Nov 29, 2011

If your clients pay you for the amount of work actually performed (rather than e.g. a fixed monthly fee), it will be virtually impossible to get them to pay any kind of late fees. There is, however, a psychological workaround: increase your rate but offer a discount for paying your invoice on time.


Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:36
German to English
+ ...
I don't charge ... Nov 29, 2011

I just don't work for them again.


Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:36
French to English
Effect of charging for late payment Nov 29, 2011

Those who can pay and who had an excuse will pay... not the increased amount, but the initial bill. After that it's debt collectors.


Yvonne Becker  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
Exactly Nov 29, 2011

Anton Konashenok wrote:

If your clients pay you for the amount of work actually performed (rather than e.g. a fixed monthly fee), it will be virtually impossible to get them to pay any kind of late fees. There is, however, a psychological workaround: increase your rate but offer a discount for paying your invoice on time.

This is exactly what I do.


Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:36
Italian to English
Same here Nov 29, 2011

Mary Worby wrote:

I just don't work for them again.

Fortunately, it's hardly ever happened.


Christiane Klauss  Identity Verified
New Zealand
Local time: 14:36
+ ...
They hardly ever pay on time Nov 29, 2011

I think I've only ever had a couple of agencies that have paid on time - the rest are ALWAYS late, which I find annoying - imagine if we, as translators, never met their deadlines?

I don't charge for late payments, I just send reminder emails, but that's a good idea about charging a higher fee and then giving a discount if they pay on time - like electricity companies!


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:36
Spanish to English
+ ...
Carp moan grumble Nov 29, 2011

and whinge, nag nag and nag. Then bad mouth, slag off... shake your head knowingly at the mention of the defaulter, while making a point of dissuading anyone you happen to bump into that might ever put any business their way...

That sort of thing.


Michaël Temmerman  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 19:36
English to Dutch
+ ...
none, don't work for them again Nov 30, 2011

As others have already said, if a customer doesn't pay on time, you won't get any late fees out of him either, unless you go to court.

I only work for good customers that are professional and pay on time. I dropped one of my customers last year because she was always full of excuses. I had already granted her 45 days after the date of invoice, which she usually interpreted as 60 or more. What's the use in working for people like that... I'm a translator, not a free source of financing.


Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 04:36
English to Russian
+ ...
if I only could I surely would :-)) Nov 30, 2011

Maybe there are places in the world where such is possible, but in my part of the world it's good to be ever get paid.


DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:36
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
None Nov 30, 2011

I've slowly replaced my slow paying and late paying customers with customers with better paying practices. Nowadays if I find any payment overdue, it is usually a genuine oversight and takes a short email to remedy.
I still work for large agencies and direct clients but I find more and more I prefer to work with smaller companies whose ownwers/employees are translators, they are responsive, responsible, respectful and concerned about quality and if there will a delay in payment they warn me in advance. I prefer to do business that way.


Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:36
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The problem with Anton's and Yvonne's practice is that... Nov 30, 2011

...offering a "special incentive" for timely payment essentially conveys the expectation that payment will be late. In addition, it doesn't address when exactly one begins to take vigorous action to collect the debt--15 days past due? 30? 60?

I prefer to make very clear in my invoice (by using boldface type) that I expect to be paid on or before the due date. If a client is new, I send a friendly reminder one day following the due date, and then progressively "not-so-friendly" reminders beginning 5 days later. In cases of frequent customers, I am somewhat (but not all that much) more lenient.

As I've written many times before, late payment for a translation should be no more acceptable than late delivery of a translation.

[Edited at 2011-11-30 07:25 GMT]


Jens Lober  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:36
English to Danish
I simply ... Nov 30, 2011

put all current work on hold until all outstanding invoices are paid. If the payment is more than 15 days late, I add EUR 13.00 to the next invoice. I have only had to do that one time and they paid the fee.



Oana Ţica
Local time: 04:36
English to Romanian
+ ...
Collaboration ended Nov 30, 2011

Fortunately this happened just once. I ended my collaboration with that client as due date was specifically mentioned in the contract and the invoice.


Thayenga  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:36
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
The first 2 reminders are free Nov 30, 2011

In case of late payment I send a reminder on the first day past due requesting immediate payment. In case of no replies or non-compliance, I send another reminder 2 days later. If there's still no reraction I send an ammended invoice including a late payment fee between USD 5 - 10, again requesting immediate payment.

Usually the invoice amount as well as these fees are paid within 48 hours. In case they are not, the late payment fee continues to rise. This has happened only once, rather is presently happening. I know that this agency won't pay the late payxment fee (intrest on the "granted" loan) because "it's against our religion to pay any late payment fees". No more work to be accepted from them. A contract is binding. Surely the client won't accept it when in the unlikely event that I will turn in a translation later than the dealine.icon_biggrin.gif

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