Suggestion - adding payment terms to job quoting form
Thread poster: texjax DDS PhD

texjax DDS PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:34
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
Oct 19, 2012

Dear all,

I do not apply to requests of cooperation through Proz.com very often but I recently submitted a quote for a job.

I then noticed what I perceive as a fault in the system.

While I was readily able to provide the poster with my pricing and proposed completion date, the possibility of stating my (i.e. our) accepted and/or acceptable term(s) of payment was (and is) missing.

It's an important -if not crucial- point to be made when starting a possible new business partnership, and stating payment terms and discussing them right away -if needed- could be only beneficial to both parts involved in the transaction.

Also the current setup might contribute to perpetuate the misconception that in our field payment terms are usually set by the client. I've been in the translation business for a minute and this doesn't cease to amaze me. After all in every line of work or profession it's the supplier that sets the terms of payment, let alone the price, and not the purchaser. Show me a plumber, a mechanic or a lawyer who are willing to accept the client's pricing and payment terms and I will eat my hat.

My suggestion would be to simply add a specific field with a few options to be chosen from a drop down menu as such the following.

Maximum payment term(s):

*Upon delivery
*7 days after receipt of invoice/from delivery
*14 days after receipt of invoice/from delivery
*30 days after receipt of invoice/from delivery
*60 days after receipt of invoice/from delivery
*Negotiable

Is the above feasible, reasonable? What my colleagues and Proz.com think about it?

Kind regards and have a great weekend everyone



[Edited at 2012-10-19 18:20 GMT]


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:34
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Apples to oranges... Oct 19, 2012

texjax DDS PhD wrote:

After all in every line of work or profession it's he supplier that sets the terms of payment, let alone the price, and not the purchaser. Show me a plumber, a mechanic or a lawyer who are willing to accept the client's pricing and payment terms and I will eat my hat.


One can't really compare what are generally thought of as business to consumer transactions (plumbers, lawyers, doctors to individual customers) with B2B transactions. Most consumers don't have their own payment terms in mind for services provided to them, and thus don't present them to the provider. The reason consumers don't press their service providers for better terms has less to do with the fact that the provider supposedly would never accept them, and more to do with long-standing commercial custom and the fact that consumers just don't want or need to get into those kinds conflicts. FWIW, it's not unheard of for a doctor, lawyer, contractor, lien-holder, etc., to accept a reasonable payment plan from someone having trouble paying, rather than go through the hassle of collections, court, etc.

OTOH, ALL businesses customarily have their own T&Cs, and when they do business with each other, only one set of terms can prevail. Presumably it will be the one belonging to the "partner" with the most clout, the least patience, or the willingness to complain the loudest.

That said, you are probably right that this field might be important for some people. Certainly it would be frustrating to go through a quoting process, send your vendor documents, etc., only to suddenly be told that the payment is 90 days or whatever. Perhaps the lack of a clamor for it thus far indicates that for most it's not an important criterion in initial negotiations - at least not for people who regularly respond to Proz job postings.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
Lowest bidder Oct 19, 2012

It's a free market and potential clients have the option to shop around. If their prime concern is to save money, then they will go for the lowest bidder. Sometimes as a freelancer you need to be flexible in order to get the job - for example agree to nine cents instead of ten - otherwise you might never end up getting any work at all!

RE: Maximum payment term(s):

*Upon delivery - This may have happened to me once or twice, but it certainly isn't normal practice in my area.
*7 days after receipt of invoice/from delivery -> Very few clients have never paid me so promptly.
*14 days after receipt of invoice/from delivery -> Ditto.
*30 days after receipt of invoice/from delivery -> Some of my clients may pay within a month.
*60 days after receipt of invoice/from delivery -> This is more or less normal in my case.
*Negotiable -> Probably the best bet for all concerned.


-> In Spain, 30-60-90 day due dates are the norm, but I prefer "negotiable"

However, I think (as I've mentioned in similar forums) that when I put a due date on my bills, it's like wishful thinking. That is when I would LIKE to be paid. However, after living and working in Spain for over 20 years I've realised that the reality is often quite different - and on occasion I've even waited for over a year to finally get paid by certain official bodies.

[Edited at 2012-10-19 19:50 GMT]


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Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:34
Member (2009)
French to English
Great idea Oct 19, 2012

Unlike Neilmac, I actually expect to get paid on or before the due date and, with a few exceptions[1], that is within 30 days. It would be better for everyone involved if payment terms were stated from the beginning.

[1] I have one large corporate client that pays at 60 days OR less than 15 with a 5% discount. Another client pays at 30 days end of month which is a reasonable variation.


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