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Poll: How often do you receive late payments?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 03:20
SITE STAFF
Jan 30, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How often do you receive late payments?".

This poll was originally submitted by Davor Ivic. View the poll results »



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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 12:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
And among those late payments I include... Jan 30, 2014

... all those companies which, having agreed to my terms of 30 days from date of invoice, then flaunt that agreement and pay at the end of the month in which the payment date fell.

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 20:20
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Never Jan 30, 2014

But it wasn't like this when I first started out.

I can say this now because I ask for a contract that clearly defines all terms and conditions before I start working with a new customer.
If they default, then the contract is void and worthless. A quick call or threatening letter from my lawyer who doubles as a pitbull in his spare time works wonders and they are no longer a lucky recipient of my services.

I've found that this approach has served me very well over the past 10+ years.


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:20
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Occasionally Jan 30, 2014

If I don't count the clients who pay at 90 days, which is their policy. I have stopped working for most of them.

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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 13:20
Turkish to English
+ ...
Very often Jan 30, 2014

In most cases, payment terms are not specified, and I take it that 30 days apply by default. As such, most payments that I receive are up to a couple of weeks late, and I can live with that. I rarely receive very late payments, on the other hand, and usually do not work with such clients again.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Jan 30, 2014

Define late. I have one long-standing client that systematically needs reminding, but it's a market research/advertising agency and they seem to do everything on an ad-hoc, wing and a prayer basis, so over the years I've grown to find their tardiness more amusing than infuriating.

Most of my other clients pay more or less on time. University departments and research institutes are the exception however, as they often have to wait... Or delve deep for funding, which sometimes appears unexpectedly from mysterious sources.

I have never tried to impose a 30 or 60 day deadline for payments, as the situation, at least in this part of Spain, has always seemed to be "we'll pay you when we can"... Even for government departments and employers' organisations. The situation was even worse when I was working on TEFL courses which relied on European funding, and it wasn't unusual to have to wait for over a year sometimes (until all the snouts were out of the trough) before the teachers got paid.


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 12:20
German to English
+ ...
Other Jan 30, 2014

Define late. I have a good business relationship with my clients. I don't specify a payment deadline because I know that for most of them they will pay when their client coughs up (my clients are mainly lawyers). So it might take 3 months for the cash to arrive, sometimes a couple of days. I've only had to remind a client once (and it turned out my bill had got lost in the post). Since the result is still a fairly regularly cash flow, I don't really worry too much about "late payments"

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 20:20
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Late = Jan 30, 2014

In my book this is '1 day or more beyond the agree upon payment date clearly stated in writing in the contract and PO.' All of my customers pay on the dot, and I never have to fret about whether they are going to be late or not.

FYI, for those with Japanese customers/clients:
The regular payment schedule is 'bill by end of month/payment by bank transfer at end of following month' (or 10th of the month following that).
According to Japanese law, customers/clients must pay within 60 days of delivery and no later, unless other payment schedule(s) are set in place. Most customers/clients pay within the constraints of the law. HTH

I also implement a policy of accepting one-off small-sum jobs (50,000 yen or less) on the condition that the customer/client pays within a week of delivery. If they cannot pay even small amounts, then they are not going to pay at all.


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Markus Perndl
Austria
Local time: 12:20
Italian to German
+ ...
Never... Jan 30, 2014

... if "late" means more than a couple of days. If a client regulary pays more than a week too late, I stop working with him. I am delivering my translations in time and I also have to pay my invoices in time, so there's no reason to grant a client an interest-free credit. I'm not a bank.

I cannot understand why some translators are accepting late payments. Why are they so submissive?


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Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 12:20
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Very often Jan 30, 2014

Unfortunately.

While it says 30 days net on my invoices, the agencies have their own payment terms, often 45 days or more

But not only that, probably more than 50% are paying late i.e. the money is not on my bank account by the due date. Usually 4-10 days late. I remind them after about 3 days' delay.

Of course this has an impact on my goodwill and I naturally favor the clients who pay correctly.

PS: Until now I have been paid every penny owed - sooner or later.


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
@David Jan 30, 2014

David Wright wrote:

Define late. I have a good business relationship with my clients. I don't specify a payment deadline because I know that for most of them they will pay when their client coughs up (my clients are mainly lawyers). So it might take 3 months for the cash to arrive


Is there a smiley for shocked?!


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Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 12:20
English to German
+ ...
Very often Jan 30, 2014

This is true for all agencies outside Switzerland.
As fas as the Swiss agencies are concerned, payment is always exactly on the fixed day or delay. Possibilities:
- 15th of the next month (very often) (they might even pay already on the 11th)
- 30th of the next monts
- 30 days

Rolf


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:20
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Very often, but it's a matter of days Jan 30, 2014

When a payment doesn't show up in the system (whichever it is) as scheduled, I contact the client to advise them that it didn't.

This stems from one local incident with a local direct, individual client. It is worth mentioning that the Brazilian banking system is lightning fast, and usually failproof; however it doesn't cover human error. The bill entailed 4 digits, and it didn't show up on my account as expected.

The client said she had issued online an overnight funds transfer from her account to mine, different banks. She eventually sent me an electronic document evidencing her order. After proofreading it, I realized that she had mistyped my account number control digit, having typed a 5 instead of a 6; everything else was correct.

The money vanished for three days, neither my account manager nor hers were able to trace its whereabouts. After three days, the full amount reappeared in her account, intact, as if nothing had ever happened. No record of an attempted transfer. She was really worried.

Another client in the USA sent me the payment via Xoom, when they changed their policy to zero tolerance to payments suspected to be business related. Ever since, they only accept funds transfers between people who keep a personal and non-professional relationship. As I interpreted, one can use Xoom to support a mistress in another country, but not to settle an IOU left with a prostitute.

Okay, we eventually discovered that a cousin of hers had been my elder son's classmate in high school, but that was not enough for Xoom. Some investigation led us to realize that her attempted transfer was cancelled by Xoom three seconds after issue, without any notification being sent to either of us. So she knew she had paid, however I had to advise her that I didn't receive any of it. Her sister in Brazil eventually made a direct local funds transfer to me, they'll settle that within their family.

Therefore I do have a good reason to call my clients when I fail to receive a payment as agreed. Most often they say "Oops! Sorry, I forgot! I'll pay you day after tomorrow, no later than next Monday." By this time, I won't start an argument on "Why not today?"

One good client in the US, an agency, replied to my notification by e-mail that he "had put a bee under his accountant's hat" with a reminder. Probably an allergic and balding accountant. Ouch! The payment came in half an hour later.


Countless amateurs all over the world have widespread the notion that translators' bills don't have a due date, so any time they receive payment will be okay.


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 20:20
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Can I recommend my pitbull lawyer? Jan 30, 2014

Chris S wrote:

David Wright wrote:

Define late. I have a good business relationship with my clients. I don't specify a payment deadline because I know that for most of them they will pay when their client coughs up (my clients are mainly lawyers). So it might take 3 months for the cash to arrive


Is there a smiley for shocked?!


This is no 'smiling matter.'
Never heard of a hardup lawyer before.

Small typo

[Edited at 2014-01-30 13:49 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:20
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Very rarely Jan 30, 2014

Most of my clients pay as agreed. In 30 years, I faced 2 serious non-payment issues (in both instances I had to hire a lawyer)...

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