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Poll: Do you ask for advanced payment before starting an assignment for a new client?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 07:42
SITE STAFF
Feb 6, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you ask for advanced payment before starting an assignment for a new client?".

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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:42
Member
German to English
+ ...
Not normally Feb 6, 2012

I would only ask for advance payment for a new client if they were offering a large job and I could find no information as to their payment practices on the Blue Board or other sources.

It's only happened a couple of times thus far and to date they've gone elsewhere instead. Presumably they found someone else to do the job who was less demanding! Whether they then got paid, I will never know!


 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:42
Member (2006)
German to English
No, and why Feb 6, 2012

should we.

If you have so much trust at the beginning of a relationship, then I would not go for it.
I have my own criterion for how I deal with a new customer, and if they have a negative record (with regard to payment) here, and on a couple of the other info sites in internet, then I dont work with them at all.


 

Paul Stevens  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:42
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sometimes it's best to play it safe Feb 6, 2012

My practice is similar to Mary's, i.e. I only ask for payment up front if the job is not a small one and there is no information available regarding the client's payment practices.

I have adopted this attitude ever since I got "burnt" by a client with a proz profile a number of years ago and ended up with approx. € 250 of bad debt. Whilst not a particularly sizeable amount, it left a very bitter taste in the mouth and taught me to be more cautious with potential new clients.

Whilst I may have potentially lost out on one or two good clients, my biggest client now (in terms of income) is one of the few that I asked for payment in advance on the first job!


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 15:42
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It depends Feb 6, 2012

on the project's size. But clients rarely hire translators for important translation projects without having any preliminary experience with those translators...

 

Sigrid Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:42
Member (2011)
Danish to German
+ ...
Just did... Feb 6, 2012

I usually dont, but as i recently got a request of a company for a very large project, and Blue Board states that people have a lot of troubles getting their money, then yes, i require upfront payment.

 

Nigel Greenwood  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:42
Member (2008)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I chose "It depends", because... Feb 6, 2012

...for normal written translation I do not, but I am very choosy about new clients i.e. checking Blue board, etc. Having said that, when I am asked to travel for interpreting work, I always ask for 30% advance, this is to cover travelling, hotels, etc.

I find that my clients are happy with that arrangement, and I am too.

Have a great dayicon_smile.gif

Nigel.


 

John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Feb 6, 2012

No, but I never take on large projects (with the possible loss of large amounts of time and money) from new customers.

I prefer to let the relationship grow overtime and let good faith develop in both directions. I'll generally take a risk with a new client of a couple of hundred euros worth of work, but even that's after, as others have said, checking the Blueboard, trusting my gut instinct, etc.


 

John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
or... Feb 6, 2012

Teresa Borges wrote:

on the project's size. But clients rarely hire translators for important translation projects without having any preliminary experience with those translators...


What you say makes perfect sense to me Teresa and I totally agree, but I'm often times shocked by the number of offers I receive for MEGA projects from outsourcers I've never dealt with before and who know nothing of whether I can do a good job or not on their project.

It seems a bit odd to me, though other translators have told me that they often receive and accept jobs like this. I guess each situation is different and depends on the parties involved and their way of doing business.

Perhaps I should be flattered by receiving these offers; I just find them strange however.


 

Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:42
English
+ ...
It depends. Feb 6, 2012

On large projects, such as a book translation, I'll ask for the payment in installments; one third in advance, one third sometime in the middle, and the last third before sending the final chapters.

On smaller projects, so far I've always been able to find out something about the client by googling, so I haven't asked for an advance, and have never been burned.

[Edited at 2012-02-06 10:03 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-02-06 18:56 GMT]


 

Gennady Lapardin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 17:42
Italian to Russian
+ ...
. Feb 6, 2012

I replied No, but would prefer to answer It depends. Hope that someday...

 

Oliver Lawrence  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:42
Italian to English
+ ...
Sometimes Feb 6, 2012

For example, for private clients - who have no reputation to protect in the industry and whose trustworthiness cannot be assessed from the Blue Board or other payment practices sites (due to their not being listed). If the customer is willing to pay in full up front, then fine; if not, then there's plenty more work out there. I used to ask new private customers for partial payment up front, but one tried to pay only the deposit, so I have now altered my approach.

 

DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:42
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Never have Feb 6, 2012

My standard paymment terms are 30 days after date of invoice.
I have never asked any client for payment upfront.
If I doubted their ability/intention to pay me on time I wouldn't accept their jobs.
I have occassionallybeen offered a percentage of payment up front for large job which I have gratefully accepted.

I do not accept large projects from new clients.
I do not accept jobs from new clients without having done my research into their profile and payment practices.
I do not accept repeat assignments from clients who have paid late or otherwise, in my opinion, behaved unreasonably or unprofessionally.

Even taking all these precautions I still occassionally had/have problems with payments though, even from previously robust clients, in today's economic climate I guess there is just no way to completely eliminate the business risk!


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Feb 6, 2012

As I am unable to render my usual response to this question (the noise Woody Woodpecker makes when laughing) in a written form comprehensible to a broad swathe of prozers, I won't bother trying.

Alternative options: "pull the other one".... "chance would be a fine thing" ... etc.



[Edited at 2012-02-06 10:20 GMT]


 

Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
Slightly off topic Feb 6, 2012

I note that "advanceD payment" is the form being used on some GB websites, but to me that extra "d" grates and sounds odd. Any comments? And what is standard usage in the US/Canada/Oz etc?

Agree with many of the comments so far made - John, Teresa, Neil....


 
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