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Poll: How long do you wait after the payment deadline before contacting a client about a pending payment?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 21:41
SITE STAFF
May 15, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How long do you wait after the payment deadline before contacting a client about a pending payment?".

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Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:41
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Whenever I remember May 15, 2014

Whenever I remember to check it really - which can be anything from a week to a month or sometimes more than a month. Doesn't happen often though - all my clients tend to be very punctual.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other May 15, 2014

It depends on the client.
For example, one of my clients recently changed their accountant and payment system. They've never been fast payers anyway, but it's a small company so I don't give them too much stick about it. I know I invoiced them last month for three projects, and when they approached me about another one yesterday and asked how I was, I said I was waiting on tenterhooks for the pending payments. My contact person got back to me within 5 min to tell me that their policy is now payment at 90 days, so I won't get paid until July. So, if I want to get paid promptly from now on, I shall have to issue the invoices as soon as I finish each project, rather than waiting until I can find time to "do the math" and prepare the bills (I don't really enjoy admin tasks and often put them off until the last minute).

As long as my bills are paid and I have food on the table, I am usually prepared to wait until my clients stump up. A couple of weeks ago, I finally got paid for two bills I issued at the end of last year to a university client. The funny thing is that due to the labyrinthine weirdness of educational funding, this was an advance payment, so I still owe them about 3000 words of translation which has now been paid for but hasn't transpired yet...


 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:41
Member (2006)
German to English
Other May 15, 2014

How oftne has this been posted? If the author really needs to know this, dont they use the search function first?
Lately, there are only repetitions of old polls!

Anyway, depends on the customer and how quickly they normally pay.
Have just thrown one customer out that has gone from being one of my best payers to the worst one.


 

Liena Vijupe  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 07:41
Member (2014)
French to Latvian
+ ...
depends May 15, 2014

I don't check my bank account every time a payment is due.
However, I think I usually give reasonable time for clients to pay, so when I check the account and don't see a payment that had to be there more than 3 days ago, I do not wait longer to remind them about it.


 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 07:41
Turkish to English
+ ...
> 2 weeks May 15, 2014

I wait a respectable amount of time. I have better things to do than chase up every other receivable, the bulk of which will be paid of their own accord anyway.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 05:41
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other May 15, 2014

Michael Harris wrote:

How oftne has this been posted? If the author really needs to know this, dont they use the search function first?
Lately, there are only repetitions of old polls!

Anyway, depends on the customer and how quickly they normally pay.
Have just thrown one customer out that has gone from being one of my best payers to the worst one.


No change since the last time I answered a very similar poll:

http://www.proz.com/forum/poll_discussion/259288-poll_when_do_you_usually_start_sending_payment_reminders.html
http://www.proz.com/forum/poll_discussion/237817-poll_when_do_you_usually_begin_to_send_reminders_for_overdue_payment.html
http://www.proz.com/polls/archived?poll_id_link=7595
(...)


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:41
French to English
Mutual professional respect May 15, 2014

I generally react almost immediately. In France, if there is no agreement to the contrary, the rule is 30 days after the end of the month in which the invoice was issued. Many play on that and wait to be hassled until they pay up. I tend not to work long for this sort of client. Good clients tend to be good clients from A - Z: ones you can exchange with are generally the ones whose behaviour as a client is professional too, and so they pay on time. When I started out, I was not strict enough on this front and I regretted it. As soon as I became more professional in my requirements, so did the clients, or the ones I wanted to keep anyway!

However, when my specialist area took a knock, slow payment became the industry standard, previously reliable clients became slow payers, a couple went bust and I lost money. Never again. You have to be strict on your deadlines and on your payment too.
It is actually quite simple, a matter of mutual professional respect.

[Edited at 2014-05-15 10:54 GMT]


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:41
French to English
Bis repetita May 15, 2014

True enough, this one gets more repeats than the average soap opera!

(Time to go, got an exam now!)

[Edited at 2014-05-15 10:54 GMT]


 

Markus Perndl
Austria
Local time: 06:41
Italian to German
+ ...
Immediately May 15, 2014

The question is: how long would a client wait to remind me of a translation not delivered within the due date?

 

Pavel Slama  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:41
Member (2014)
English to Czech
+ ...
> 2 months May 15, 2014

Well said, Tim Drayton, same here. Only a big job for a new client would be an exception. The rare occasions on which I do contact someone with a polite letter about an invoice 3 months overdue, they usually apologize profusely and pay up immediately.

What is with your cash-flow, people? Do you live hand-to-mouth?

[Edited at 2014-05-15 11:53 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-05-15 11:53 GMT]


 

Alberto Montpellier  Identity Verified
Cuba
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
1-3 days May 15, 2014

Markus Perndl wrote:

The question is: how long would a client wait to remind me of a translation not delivered within the due date?


We're in line here, pal! When I voted that's exactly what I thought. If I do my very best deliver on time, I expect to be paid on time too. Of course, I'm a very flexible guy, and if there's some kind of problem (life's unpredictable) I don't go about complaining and pestering the client, because I also expect flexibility when something comes up that prevents me from delivering on time, so it's a quid-pro-quo kinda thing.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 06:41
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
About a week after due date May 15, 2014

Unless the client specifies otherwise, I send out my invoices at the end of the month, with 30 days to pay.

One or two state that they have dates when they collect and pay pending invoices, and I try to get mine in for the next one. (They tend to take a month or two after these dates to pay...)

That means clients who send work at the beginning of the month have already had two or three weeks, plus the thirty days from the invoice date, so if they were going to pay, they have usually done so.

I very rarely have to send reminders, but perfer to do so before everyone has forgotten all about the translation I delivered.

I don't live hand-to-mouth, but an average of 40-45 days' credit seems plenty to me. I get taxed and my husband's pension is docked according to the amounts invoiced - so I do actually need the money!


 

Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 06:41
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
2 - 5 days after the time due May 15, 2014

Markus Perndl wrote:

The question is: how long would a client wait to remind me of a translation not delivered within the due date?


Exactly! I am really surprised how lenient most of you are. The client expects delivery by deadline so why should we not expect payment by deadline?

In our industry we already grant credit of 30, 45 over even 60 days. For me 90 days is out of the question.

Maybe I am not your typical linguist, because I actually enjoy issuing invoices and keeping everything well organized.


 

Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:41
Portuguese to English
+ ...
deeper and deeper May 15, 2014

neilmac wrote:
their policy is now payment at 90 days


This is really so ridiculous, but becoming increasingly popular.
When I started working in this industry, payment terms were 30 days, across the board...
Then 45 to 60 was okay.
And now, 90 days is acceptable? Since when?

The longer I work in this industry, the more I see us being treated in the most egregious and preposterous manner, and the more I become angry and very sad.

I would love to tell such clients,"Okay, you pay in 90 days, but that means you pay two months late fees," but, alas, late payment has become so much the industry norm, now, that there seems little or nothing a lowly freelancer can do about it, just as rates are continuously depressed (meanwhile, all my expenses are increasing, and the landlord won't wait 90 days for their rent, nor the ISP for their fees, nor the electric company, and the grocer, imagine this, expects to be paid when I pick up my groceries!).


 
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