Poll: How long do you typically wait before receiving payment for a project?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 21:40
SITE STAFF
May 4, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How long do you typically wait before receiving payment for a project?".

This poll was originally submitted by Siwei Wang. View the poll results »



 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:40
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other May 4, 2013

Until the client stumps up. I try to be as understanding about it as possible with my regular clients - not everyone is sitting on a bag of cash. One of my long-standing clients owes me roughly 1000 euros from about 6 months ago. I'll probably send them a gentle reminder next week.

 

Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:40
French to English
+ ...
But... May 4, 2013

neilmac wrote:

Until the client stumps up. I try to be as understanding about it as possible with my regular clients - not everyone is sitting on a bag of cash. One of my long-standing clients owes me roughly 1000 euros from about 6 months ago. I'll probably send them a gentle reminder next week.


Whilst I cannot fault your generosity, surely, when they commissioned the translation, they should have had the means to pay for it? Waiting six months to pay amounts to nothing more than an interest-free loan and definitely counts as taking advantage of your generosity in my book! I've just had my bathroom refitted and paid the (staged) invoices as soon as they were presented. I'm sure my plumbers expected nothing less: I'd asked them to do the work so the least they could expect is that I would pay up when asked - assuming I was happy with what they'd done, of course. I always pay my bills and invoices promptly, because as a sole trader I know what havoc it can wreak if someone (usually large companies, I find!) decides not to pay on time. If it's a case of agencies delaying whilst they wait for the end client to pay, I don't think that's acceptable either. I occasionally outsource work for my former employers and there have been times when their payment to me has been delayed for one reason or another, but I would still feel obliged to pay the freelancers I'd outsourced to on the agreed date: 30 days end of month is the timescale I usually suggest.


 

Filipa Plant dos Santos  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 05:40
Member (2011)
Portuguese to English
Spain and Portugal May 4, 2013

neilmac wrote:

Until the client stumps up. I try to be as understanding about it as possible with my regular clients - not everyone is sitting on a bag of cash. One of my long-standing clients owes me roughly 1000 euros from about 6 months ago. I'll probably send them a gentle reminder next week.


I'm in the same boat really - If I want to work with Portuguese clients, I have to be ready to wait for my money.

The problem isn't so much that they don't want to pay, but that their own clients are very - VERY - slow in paying them, etc, and in Portugal, where the "judicial system" is basically completely ineffective, there's nothing to be done but wait.

Or choose not to work with clients from your country, of course.

I spoke to someone once who told me that in the states, invoices are paid by their due date because if they aren't, and you go to court, the matter is dealt with immediately (in one way or another.........).

This is just a dream in Portugal.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 05:40
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
There is no "typically"... May 4, 2013

Like Neil, I am as understanding about it as possible with my regular clients (I have known some of them for 20 years...), but with a new client it will probably be quite a different story. Anyway, my regular clients use quite different payment practices: most of them pay within 30 days, one pays at the most 2/3 days after receiving the invoice, one or two within 45/60 days. In any case, I have been chasing payment for 5 months from a direct client for a very small invoice (luckily), the ultimate irony being that he is a... chartered accountant!

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 06:40
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
30 days from invoice May 4, 2013

It is definitely a cultural thing. I tend to send all my invoices out at the end of the month, so for jobs done early in the month the client has already had two or three weeks' grace, and in practice I wait 45 - 60 days after delivering the job.

Some clients pay as soon as the invoice comes, which is nice, but if they have not done so by 30 days plus a week, I send a reminder. Thirty days is normal practice in Scandinavia - unless it is a week, for people who have a large material outlay, and monthly instalments or instalments when the work goes in to a new phase are quite normal.

I do make allowances for clients further south if I know and trust them, but I feel translators and other small businesses should not be providers of credit as a sideline. Hardly anyone gives me credit - I have to pay cash on the spot for most things.

On the other hand, interest rates are so low at the moment that as long as I get paid at some stage, it makes no big difference. But it does help that we no longer have any debts and my husband has a regular income - we struggled for years when we were younger, without having to wait for late payments!


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:40
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Usually 30 days May 4, 2013

The "normal" payment term is 30 days from date of invoice, and it is, just as usually, met by my clients.

In case of monthly invoices, still with a 30 days', and one with a 30 days + 5 days payment terms, it could take up to almost 60 days before payment arrives, depending on what day of the current month I had completed the project.

The most important thing is, however, that payment arrives on timeicon_wink.gif. Of course, I don't mind if I receive it a few days earlier... which does happen once in a while.icon_biggrin.gif


 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:40
Member (2006)
German to English
30 days is normal May 4, 2013

but I do have some customers that pay within a week and some within 14 days. One of my customers has a 45 day payment term which is okay in that case as they pay well and are reliable.

Usually, I do not work with agencies / direct customers that take longer than 30 days to pay - they expect a decent translation to be completed in time, then they should also have decent terms of payment...


 

Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:40
Member (2008)
English to Italian
other May 4, 2013

different clients different agreements.
From 7 days to 30 days (from the date of the invoice) in other cases 30 days after the end of the month the invoice is issued.
As long as payments arrive when due no problems.


 

Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:40
German to English
An embarrassingly short time May 4, 2013

All of my current German clients pay within 14 days, in some cases within 24 hours! Human nature being what it is, there are times when I rather wish I did have a backlog of overdue payments....

Steve K.


 

David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 06:40
German to English
+ ...
Other May 4, 2013

some pay as soon as they receive my invoice, otehrs can be a month, occasionally two months. As long as they pay - and they do! - I'm happy.

 

Bertrand Malingrey  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:40
Member (2009)
English to French
+ ...
staggered May 4, 2013

My biggest clients pay like clockwork, 30 days and payment processed on the same date every month, that's why they are my biggest clients and get priority for my work.

I have other clients who can take up to 75 days or more, waiting for the end customer to pay before paying me and I'm OK with that because I am in the same situation when I outsource language pairs outside of my skillset. I always pay but can't afford advances.

The key is to have a well balanced combination of steady payers and an extra layer of payments that arrrive whenever they do, and it's a good thing to receive a payment - no matter how late it is - around that time of the month when things are getting tighticon_smile.gif


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:40
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
15-30 days May 5, 2013

Fortunately, like Bertrand, my biggest clients pay within a week or two at the most. They are international organizations, and I consider them direct clients, even though they funnel the work to me from various units within the organization. Others range from immediately to 90 days. The 90-day one (an agency) pays like clockwork on the 90th day, but I've stopped working for it because I don't like to wait that long, even though I like the people and the texts.

 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 13:40
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
30 days May 5, 2013

From the end of the billing month

This is the average in Japan with most translation companies. However, some companies pay 60 days from the end of the billing month, which is the longest payment period allowed by law.

HTH if you're dealing with Japanese customers.

@Michael
"I do not work with agencies / direct customers that take longer than 30 days to pay - they expect a decent translation to be completed in time, then they should also have decent terms of payment..."

Completely in agreement here!

Added last comment

[Edited at 2013-05-05 07:45 GMT]


 

Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 05:40
German to English
+ ...
30 days May 5, 2013

Most pay on time; some pay a few days early.

I am considering dropping an agency who was on 45 *working* days, but promised regular work on an ongoing project, which was supposed to have started last year. So far, all I have had is 7,000 words delivered in the first week in March. The payment is overdue, and despite two reminders set one week apart, nothing has been forthcoming yet. I feel that they will pay, once they get themselves organised - if indeed they know how to do that.

Compare: 30 days, right on the button, better rate, no currency conversion required
to
45 working days, lower rate, currency conversion required, reminders and nagging required.

No contest!

Oh, and Filípa Plant dos Santos, one of my 30 days right on the button paying customers is an agency located in Lisbon. Message me, if you wish.

[Edited at 2013-05-05 07:51 GMT]


 


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