Poll: Which payment terms are most commonly used in your business?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 21:32
SITE STAFF
Apr 9, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Which payment terms are most commonly used in your business?".

This poll was originally submitted by Nicole Blanc. View the poll results »



 

Bora Taşdemir  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:32
Member (2012)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Generally up to 30 days and I don't find it cool Apr 9, 2015

We always try to meet the deadlines, but the money is paid up to 30 days. I don't think that this is fair...

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 05:32
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Up to 30 days Apr 9, 2015

My standard terms of payment are 30 days EOM, though I might occasionally agree on different conditions (that's the exception, not the rule). The faster, the better! My regular clients use quite different payment practices: some pay the day they receive the invoice, one pays 2/3 days after, most of them pay within 30 days, one or two within 45/60 days, one or two have to be chased...

 

Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 06:32
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
net 30 Apr 9, 2015

Anyway, that's what it says on my invoices.

However, except for one of my best regular agencies, who pays within 14 days (God bless them icon_smile.gif )
some pay 30 days at the end of the month and many get away with 45+.

I don't know where this bad habit comes from but it is unfair and a nuisance. - It ought to be changed!

[Edited at 2015-04-09 11:07 GMT]


 

Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:32
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
Terms or reality? Apr 9, 2015

Teresa Borges wrote:

My standard terms of payment are 30 days EOM ... My regular clients use quite different payment practices:


Similar here. Standard payment terms are 30 days from the date of the invoice (not EOM, but after delivery of the project or whenever it's suitable to write an invoice for a reasonable number of assignments), but the average time to pay is around 10 days.
I do remember the fast payers and am more likely negotiate on other aspects/make myself available for rush projects.

[Edited at 2015-04-09 10:07 GMT]


 

DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:32
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
30 days (+) Apr 9, 2015

My invoices state within 30 days.
In practice others have their own payment schedules, which can be also be 30 days end of month - so potentially up to 60 days. I tend not to work with those who have longer payment terms than that.


 

Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
30-45 and fighting... Apr 9, 2015

But I am suprised, where are all those colleagues who accept 90 and 120 days???? It is time to also fight for those unacceptable terms of payment, not only for low rates.


The result of the poll does not reflect (at least at the moment) the real terms accepted,


 

David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 06:32
German to English
+ ...
Other Apr 9, 2015

basically whenever. I usually get paid within about 6 weeks, one customer (otherwise very good in terms of the work and the rate) can be later. I don't put a deadline on my bills but it doesn't seem to matter.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Apr 9, 2015

MY business (i.e. nobody else's). In my little, yet still vaguely real world, "Spain is different". Basically, the payment arrangements with certain clients tends to be "when they can get it together". Others pay relatively promptly, within 30 or 60 or even 90 or 120 days, whereas others might take longer. However, if they are long-standing regular clients, I don't "have a cow, man" when they don't stump up within these limits, unlike, for example some of the mods pontificating on FB translator sites about payments less than a week overdue...

Apparently, there is some sort of European ruling on deadlines for company payments to suppliers and service providers, but like many other laws or regulations applied elsewhere, this more often than not seems to be ignored here.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nemo me impune lacessit Apr 9, 2015

Angie Garbarino wrote:

But I am suprised, where are all those colleagues who accept 90 and 120 days???? It is time to also fight for those unacceptable terms of payment, not only for low rates.


The result of the poll does not reflect (at least at the moment) the real terms accepted,



Who is anyone else to tell me the payment terms I accept or reject? I have better things to "fight" for or about, thanks all the same.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:32
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other: As a translator, I don't offer competitive financial services Apr 9, 2015

I have kept my rates in my domestic currency (BRL) unchanged since June 1994. Advances in IT generously covered inflation and cost of living increases. Leaving aside the numerous other improvements, it should be enough to mention that my current computer processor, which is far from being state of the art, comprises two cores, each of them being some 15x faster than the machine du jour back in '94.

In 2009, some foreign exchange plunge threw my international (USD) translation rate off balance. As it persisted, in Jan. 2010 I had to raise my USD rate by 20% to compensate for 4/5 of it. In 2012 the USD went back to normal. Before lowering my rates, I took a deep look into my blossoming foreign trade: my work was roughly split into 50/50 domestic and foreign jobs.

The major findings were:

  • The so-popular PayPal cost me 10% of my income. Clients didn't 'feel' it, because they didn't pay anything to pay me there. I was the one who received 90¢ for each dollar.

  • My domestic (Brazil) interest rates were outrageously high, if compared to most of my clients' countries. In other words, a loan in Brazil was about 20~40x more expensive than overseas. It would be foolish for a client to get a loan from a translator like me in Brazil, if they could get it much cheaper in their home country.

  • My bank in Brazil offered a very affordable fee for receiving int'l wire transfers, if I would do the currency exchange transaction myself, online, instead of having their staff do it.

  • PayPal, being owned by - and hence devised for - eBay, had some severe penalties for payees who surcharged their payers with transaction fees.


    So after the USD exchange recouped, instead of lowering my international rate, I decided to set apart translation costs and financial costs. Therefore, when asked about my rates, I offer three options:

    a) Standard - My increased 2010 rate for payment via PayPal in two weeks
    b) Sensible - 10% discount on the above for payment via bank xfer in two weeks (as PayPal was NOT involved in the process, they can't apply any penalty to me)
    c) Smart - My pre-2010 rate for COD (2 business days) via bank xfer

    One advantage: I don't feel insulted (like many colleagues do) when asked about my "best" rate. The answer is simple, option (c) above. Most best-rate-seeking prospects (in its most despicable interpretation) are not prepared to pay COD anyway.


    Then I began having trouble with rush surcharges. Upon scrutiny, they added more havoc to my schedule (I never deliver late!) than money to my income. In 2013 I did away with rush rates; the entire story is too long to include it here.

    I began prioritizing my work by serving the shortest payment term job first.

    Anyone wanting top priority should simply prepay for the entire job, normal rates. I'll only take ONE prepaid job at a time. I'll only drop it/set it aside after I'm through, and it has been delivered.

    This leaves no room for discussion, since there is only room for one job as top priority. The beauty of it is that after one client has prepaid for a job, no other can time-travel to prepay earlier. Nobody argues that their job is more urgent than any other.


    After all this explanation...

    What's the most commonly used payment term in MY business?
    For the past 2 years, 97% of my jobs have been paid COD.
    BTW, I've been getting only 2-3 prepaid jobs per year.

     

  • Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
    Member (2003)
    French to Italian
    + ...
    Of course not Apr 9, 2015

    neilmac wrote:

    Nemo me impune lacessit

    Who is anyone else to tell me the payment terms I accept or reject? I have better things to "fight" for or about, thanks all the same.


    You can also accept to be paid a 1000 days if you so like.

    [Edited at 2015-04-09 19:13 GMT]


     

    Erzsébet Czopyk  Identity Verified
    Hungary
    Local time: 06:32
    Member (2006)
    Russian to Hungarian
    + ...
    DEFINITELY not Apr 9, 2015

    Angie Garbarino wrote:

    neilmac wrote:

    Nemo me impune lacessit

    Who is anyone else to tell me the payment terms I accept or reject? I have better things to "fight" for or about, thanks all the same.


    You can also accept to be paid a 1000 days if you so like.

    [Edited at 2015-04-09 19:13 GMT]


    After having some trouble in my business last year, I radically changed my payment terms. 90% of my work are certified papper-based documents, so if the client leaves without paying for them he can use the results and forget to pay. So now:
    for the documents minimum 20% of prepayment (down payment) and cash only if I handover them in the office; (with exception of 5 major clients who pay their invoices ALWAYS the same day upon its receipt;
    100% down payment accepted happily any time - if the Clients chooses this, he shall not fill out any papers (order forms) as the transfer itself considered as the order;
    For small paper-based and certified documents - I send them by post with special registered mail with receipt notification; you revceieve the nevelope in the post office only after you paid the amount stated on the envelope, which is directed by post office to my bank account.
    Any small, rush, urgent, night, best rate,m just for me, just today and never more- etc. jobs immeadiately via PayPal if the amount is below EUR 10.
    Anything else - within Hungary standard 8 days, maximum 15 days.
    reasoning: I became a monthly taxpayer (VAT-payer, which means I shall pay total VAT of all my invoices for the previous month at 20th day of the next month (for example, on 20th February the total VAT for January) , REGARDLESS they are paid or not. Clear and cruel but this is our system. And I am tired of fighting, explaining, begging, kneeling, yelling etc. If you order my service, pay for it. If you go to the grocery store for the bread, there is no room for 30 days net payment but cash upon receipt. same applies to interpretation: I am not ready any more to invest my time then waiting with open mouth until the Client will have a good mood to pay my invoice.
    To avoid tricky clients, I carefully changed our general terms and conditions where all these are stated, and set up a special cancellation fee, because some clients refused to pay when the work was already done. (the service fee was fixed and stated in the order form so they knew how much they shall pay)! Moreover, I set up some special free of charges services for punctual payers which let them feel exclusive and important. A small investment became very valuable - my advice is good to know: does your clients have smartphones?
    Thanks to all above, my balance and liquidity of the company significantly improved within the past 3 months.
    To be clear: I love my job and love my clients but I was sick of these tricky guys.
    Saying I am fed up is not nice? To be quite frank, I am fed up with merely hearing fine words on this matter. You choose what you eat for breakfast. To gain something you have to choose whom you work for otherwise you will left with nothing at the end. My advice to clearly set up the payment terms. East Europe does not work upon gentlemen's agreement. And our tax authority just appears and imposes you a fine which can easily ruin your company and life in a moment. Nobody cares.


     

    Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
    Member (2003)
    French to Italian
    + ...
    And I agree Apr 10, 2015

    Erzsébet Czopyk wrote:
    To be clear: I love my job and love my clients but I was sick of these tricky guys.
    Saying I am fed up is not nice? To be quite frank, I am fed up with merely hearing fine words on this matter. You choose what you eat for breakfast. To gain something you have to choose whom you work for otherwise you will left with nothing at the end. My advice to clearly set up the payment terms.


     

    Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
    United States
    Local time: 21:32
    Member (2003)
    Spanish to English
    + ...
    Other Apr 10, 2015

    I mostly work for organizations that march to their own drummer and I have nothing to say about then they pay me.

     


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