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Poll: Do you ever request that clients pay you in advance?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:19
SITE STAFF
Oct 6, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you ever request that clients pay you in advance?".

This poll was originally submitted by Gulnar Sultanbek. View the poll results »



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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
No Oct 6, 2014

If I thought that would be necessary, I wouldn't work with them at all.

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:19
Member (2006)
German to English
No Oct 6, 2014

Why?

Same opinion as Chris!


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Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:19
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
No Oct 6, 2014

No, although very occasionally a new client comes up with the suggestion himself, which is nice.

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Gudrun Maydorn  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:19
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
Yes, sometimes Oct 6, 2014

Always for private individuals who do not live in my own country of residence (Germany).

[Bearbeitet am 2014-10-06 10:22 GMT]


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Decipherit  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:19
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Yes Oct 6, 2014

I've had countless LSPs contact me who have no record on the BB or other similar directories. I request pre-payment, they are very happy to comply and invariably turn out to be excellent clients. The dodgy ones go in search of an easier target. I also request pre-payment from all direct clients.

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Gudrun Maydorn  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:19
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
Yes Oct 6, 2014

Lisa Simpson, MCIL MITI wrote:
I request pre-payment, they are very happy to comply and invariably turn out to be excellent clients. The dodgy ones go in search of an easier target.


Asking private clients for pre-payment is fairy common in Germany, as far as I know.


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 12:19
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Only very rarely Oct 6, 2014

If there's a contract in place with all details explictly laid out then there should be no need to.

However, there are exceptions - there always are - especially with jobs that are spread over a long period.
I once was asked to check all of the English of an online printing service, a new customer. I accepted the project since I had experience translating for a prepress equipment manufacturer for 5 or 6 years and the project seemed interesting. At the preliminary meeting, I met the young Japanese kids straight out of college who had translated the English. None of their business cards had 'translator' written on it so I knew this was going to be a clustermess. And, lo and behold, it was. It looked like a 3- to 4-month project. So, I asked for payment in three equal instalments. A downpayment, an interim and a final COD payment. I could do this since the printing company itself insisted on full payment from its own customers before they started processing printing jobs.

This is also standard business practice over here for big projects.

Besides, lawyers ask for a retainer. Why can't we?


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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 05:19
French to English
+ ...
I never have... Oct 6, 2014

...but I would under the right circumstances.

There is one customer I can think of that had financial troubles and I had a hard time getting paid. They did eventually pay and I would have worked for them again with payment in advance but I never heard from them again and I think they probably went out of business.

I can imagine that I might for a very large project but, even then, I normally bill monthly for whatever portion has been completed that month.

If a customer asked me to reserve time for a speculative project, I might ask for a non-refundable down-payment but this has not yet occurred. In such cases I contact them if something comes in that would interfere with their project and ask them to make a final decision. If they still wanted me to save time for them, that is the point I would ask for a retainer. To date, this hasn't happened.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:19
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Rarely Oct 6, 2014

Gudrun Maydorn wrote:

Always for private individuals who do not live in my own country of residence (Germany).

[Bearbeitet am 2014-10-06 10:22 GMT]


This is one reason. The other is a lengthy project, e. g. book translation.

Other than that, I trust my clients... for a very good reason, they always pay on time.


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airmailrpl  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:19
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
requesting possible clients to pay in advance Oct 6, 2014

The only potential clients that I have asked to pay in advance were those indicated on the ProZ Blue Board as bad payers or very late payers - and I told them that due to their very bad position on the ProZ Blue Board - for me to do their jobs - I would need to be paid 100% of the job in advance. Of course I did not hear from them ever again - which was more or less what I was trying to accomplish anyways.

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njweatherdon
Canada
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
if they have bad feedbackm or if it's a big project Oct 6, 2014

Sometimes when I get one of those messages out of the blue looking for translators I'll check the Blueboard, and if they have bad feedback due to very late payments, or having to file complaints to get payments, then I pitch a very high quality offering at a very reasonable price, then say I can't do it without advance payment because of their poor record.

Of course, they never accept such an offer.

Also, sometimes on a larger project I have requested payment at mid-term, but normally this is like "can you send me a few hundred bucks, I've been working hard" sort of message.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
Personal documents Oct 6, 2014

People sometimes come to me to get personal documents translated. If I have not dealt with them before I'll ask for payment in advance, sometimes only half. Once I had one come back to me and demand her document back because she had "found someone cheaper", but I had already done half the job. I gave her that on a diskette and demanded payment for what I'd done and got it, because she was not getting her original document back if she did not. She called me a thief but paid up and I sent her on her way.

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Hilary Decaumont  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:19
Member (2013)
French to English
Yes, for private clients. No (yet) for agencies Oct 6, 2014

I have accepted jobs from agencies, trusting in BB feedback and not yet been let down. I am awaiting payment from a first-time agency, which has been promised tomorrow. Fingers crossed, or the threat of the BB beckons!

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:19
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Only once, didn't turn out well Oct 6, 2014

No, I don't ask for payment in advance. But on one occasion the customer wanted to pay in advance because the rouble was falling against the euro at the time. So I accepted that, did the translation, and she wanted the whole thing reworked in a way I found unacceptable, so because I felt she hadn't go what she wanted, and to save any further hassle, I repaid it all. This is the only time I have found a customer totally impossible to work with in all the years I have been freelancing (since 1965).

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