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Is it normal to wait 60 days for payment to be processed?
Auteur du fil: Jennifer Norman

DZiW
Ukraine
anglais vers russe
+ ...
In advance, escrow, or by instalment Nov 16, 2016

It's rather a question whether a particular translator (Jennie) deliberately and expressly agreed to wait 60 days for payment to be processed. I certainly wouldn't, though they say a man can afford not eating for a month or so)

If a party cannot change (agree) some terms in the contract, then they are not equal parties and it's no contract (fair business) at all.

IMO


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
États-Unis
Local time: 14:35
Membre (2003)
espagnol vers anglais
+ ...
My experience, view, practice, and recommendations Nov 16, 2016

In my experience, 30 days is still standard for US agencies, with 45 days becoming more and more common.

My experience has been that US agencies offering payment in 45 days typically pay well before the 45th day, and that the idea is to give themselves "a little extra time" beyond the standard 30 days (which I don't have a problem with).

As far as I can see, most European agencies I have dealt with also offer payment between 30 and 45 days after invoicing, with the occasional agency offering payment within 60 days.

In general, I find 30 days reasonable, 45 days a stretch, 60 days unacceptable, and >60 days unthinkable.

For first jobs, unless an agency has a stellar Blue Board record, I request payment between 1 and 20 days following delivery of work, depending on my perceived level of risk.

I recommend that any translator accepting terms of 45 days or more make it very clear than they will consider non-payment at the end of the term a serious delinquency (i.e., that, in the event of non-payment, the agency not expect a series of gentle reminders and the concession of a few extra weeks to sort things out).

In other words, the longer the term, the harder the deadline.



[Edited at 2016-11-16 14:42 GMT]


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
États-Unis
Local time: 14:35
Membre (2003)
espagnol vers anglais
+ ...
I also impose my own terms when the agencies' are unacceptable Nov 16, 2016

Sheila Wilson wrote:

I'm wondering how you all deal with this. My invoices reflect my own terms, not my client's. They are all for 30 days month end. As I prefer to invoice on the last working day of the month in most cases (to streamline the admin), this can mean that the payment term for jobs received early in the month is anything up to 60 days. But that's my choice. If an agency client needs more time to pay than that then I'd be wondering why. If they don't have the cash to pay within 30 days month end then I'd query whether they'd have it at 60 days, or 90... Not a good prospect, IMHO.

Do you start every day by checking which invoices were due that day? And which need to be chased because they're n days overdue? I just have a couple of set days in the month for those checks. It sounds a real time-guzzler to do it any other way.


If an agency with standard terms of payment in 60 days offers me work, I will sometimes insist on payment within 30 days (or less, depending on perceived level of risk).

Sometimes the agency accepts my terms, sometimes it does not.

For invoice tracking, I don't use any system other than my own memory. So if it seems that the time has come to receive payment from a given client, I check the invoice to determine if payment is late and, if such is the case, I send a reminder.


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
États-Unis
Local time: 14:35
Partial member (2006)
anglais vers allemand
+ ...
No, this is not acceptable IMO Nov 16, 2016

Jennie Norman wrote:

I bid for a job on ProZ and received a positive response which seems legitimate.

However, their terms and conditions state that payment will be processed between 45 and 60 days after job completion.

My question is: is this normal? I have never had to wait two months for payment. Then again, I am relatively new to freelancing.



[Edited at 2016-11-16 00:11 GMT]


Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, as you can see in this thread, many translators just accept agencies' payment terms, even when they are absolutely ridiculous. They accept a certain "standard" or certain "rules" established by certain agencies. There is another way. At least for me there is.
I hold:
First of all, no-one should use or sell your work to others before you are paid. You provide a service to one client per project (no matter if it is a "direct client" = the one actually using your translation, or if it's an agency). You never wait to get paid by an agency until they say they got paid by some other client of theirs, as they might claim. You need a good business concept, i.e YOUR own terms and conditions for your clients, be they agencies or direct clients; whoever of the two you work with is really your "only" client; when you work with an agency, then the agency is that client, and the third party which might actually be using your work after buying it from the agency is of no concern to you, except you need to specify in your terms with the agency that any use of your work by such third party is prohibited unless you have been paid according to your payment terms. Believe me, it can be done. 30, 60, 90 days? Ridiculous. Yes, even 30 days is really unacceptable. Think about it. You work as hard as you can to deliver in 2, 5, maybe 10 days. And then you are going to wait 30 days to get paid?
Just because many translators accept this doesn't mean it's okay or a good business model. You work over the internet. Are you going to start chasing your money when you have received nothing after you waited 30, 60, or even 90 days as you were promised, or as you expected, trusting that you get paid? Especially when you never worked for that client or have no positive references of that client? In many instances, up-front payment or down payment is very important. Life's too short to be exploited, especially for providing highly sophisticated work, often within a very short time, or large projects during which you can't simply not make any money.
So that's what I hold. Hope this helps.

Note: Please understand this is my opinion and I run my own business. Anyone else is free to do and believe what they want. This is my perspective, and perspectives can be quite different. Of course, you can take it or leave it.






[Edited at 2016-11-16 15:41 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Espagne
Local time: 19:35
Membre (2007)
anglais
+ ...
ALL my clients respect my terms - or we don't collaborate Nov 16, 2016

Mirko Mainardi wrote:
Sheila Wilson wrote:
I'm wondering how you all deal with this. My invoices reflect my own terms, not my client's. They are all for 30 days month end.

Lucky you... But does this apply to end-clients AND agencies? And, did all of your prospective clients just accept your terms, changing theirs?

In my case, ALL of the agencies I've dealt with so far seemed to have their own terms and very few of them were willing to discuss/amend the provisions their lawyers had so carefully craft(y)ed. I recently "lost" (actually "regretfully decided to lose") two new clients after they had accepted my rates and all, because I didn't agree with some of the clauses set in those infamous NDAs/SLAs of theirs and they were apparently unwilling to discuss/change/omit them. Unfortunately, even some end-clients behave like that...

Yes, they do apply to my agency clients, and no, not all potential clients agree to them. Of course I get plenty of absurd demands from agencies needing my services but not being prepared to pay for them in a correct manner. I had one just a couple of weeks ago who insisted I print, sign, scan and send back a 16-page agreement/NDA before I even received the audio file I was supposed to quote on for transcribing. I did agree to just sign the two NDA pages to quote, but by then I'd found a one-liner buried in the middle of the contract that said I'd be paid 60 days month end. This after their PM had seemingly already accepted my rate AND payment terms. So I can imagine what would have been the end result:- hours of unpaid and unnecessary work on a regular basis, jobs offered only at way below my standard rate, payment 60 days month end, but probably only after several reminders, etc. No thank you! I'd rather have more time free now to do extra marketing to land better clients i.e. invest in my business.

I know some freelancers are more needy that I am - I used to be one - but I can't understand why they let themselves be trampled on. I've produced work for three agencies and three direct clients so far this month, and I'm confident they'll all pay for November's work at or before the end of next month. The date on the invoice will be 31/12/2016, no later. What I can't be so sure of is payment of next month's invoice. Two of those very same clients completely overlooked the invoice they received on 31/12/2015 - pure oversight during the "silly season" and both were very apologetic and responsive when reminded. Maybe that will happen again, but then my clients are just as human as I am, and entitled to make the odd mistake. What they aren't entitled to do is run their businesses at MY expense.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnie-Herzegovine
Local time: 20:35
anglais vers croate
+ ...
Same here. Nov 16, 2016

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

Sheila Wilson wrote:

I'm wondering how you all deal with this. My invoices reflect my own terms, not my client's. They are all for 30 days month end.


Lucky you... But does this apply to end-clients AND agencies? And, did all of your prospective clients just accept your terms, changing theirs?

In my case, ALL of the agencies I've dealt with so far seemed to have their own terms and very few of them were willing to discuss/amend the provisions their lawyers had so carefully craft(y)ed. I recently "lost" (actually "regretfully decided to lose") two new clients after they had accepted my rates and all, because I didn't agree with some of the clauses set in those infamous NDAs/SLAs of theirs and they were apparently unwilling to discuss/change/omit them. Unfortunately, even some end-clients behave like that...



Never had a chance to negotiate much in this regard, with agencies. I would sometimes even get very rude, entitled and harsh attitudes, just for suggesting something in a very polite way, listing reasonable grounds for the change. It's a whole different matter with direct clients who are very flexible, ask and care about terms, respect them, and even try to change them for the better for me (sometimes without me asking). Of course, there are some bad apples among direct clients too, but they are very rare.


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Kevin Fulton
États-Unis
Local time: 14:35
allemand vers anglais
Extended payment terms Nov 16, 2016

Extended payment terms are becoming increasingly common in many industries, not just ours. Large-scale suppliers such as in the automotive industry are likewise getting squeezed, not just small-scale business people such as translators. It's a despicable practice.

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Jennifer Norman
Canada
Local time: 14:35
Membre (2016)
français vers anglais
+ ...
AUTEUR DU FIL
What are you talking about? Nov 17, 2016

DZiW wrote:

It's rather a question whether a particular translator (Jennie) deliberately and expressly agreed to wait 60 days for payment to be processed. I certainly wouldn't, though they say a man can afford not eating for a month or so)

If a party cannot change (agree) some terms in the contract, then they are not equal parties and it's no contract (fair business) at all.

IMO


My post makes it quite clear that I did no such thing. I neither signed their contract nor did their translation.

I did read the contract, however. My question was about their terms and standard practice.

Please don't use my name like that to suggest I broke the terms of a contract.


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DZiW
Ukraine
anglais vers russe
+ ...
@Jennie Nov 17, 2016

It's a pity if I really did shape it like that. The idea is very simple:
IF a person agrees, THEN it is ok; ELSE
IF a person doesn't like some terms, THEN it is a subject to amend/negotiate OR decline such an offer.
So far, if you think it's ok FOR YOU, then why not? If no, then you're also right.
You're free to decide for what it's worth AND negotiate it--no mean or unjust accusations.

As colleagues replied, sometimes some people agree to wait even longer than 60 days for such payments are nor a primary source of income at the moment, so they can afford it.

As for me, I don't know how people can postpone their need and bills, say, for two months, because even some 30 days seem too much, that's why I would rather talk some (1) advance options over, suggest an (2) escrow/ trustee, or process by (3) instalments/ portions to mitigate possible risks.

Cheers


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Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 19:35
lituanien vers portugais
+ ...
Each and single word Nov 17, 2016

Mario Chavez wrote:

Regarding payment practices, I'd prefer to call them habitual, customary, common practice, etc. but never “normal,” unless late payments are “abnormal.”



I subscribe each and single word here. It is NOT normal yet it is common. In Spain, it is very common to state that they pay in 60 days but in fact, it is 60 days + x days until their internal "payment day" which is in the end of the month.


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Paulette Romero  Identity Verified
Colombie
Local time: 13:35
Partial member (2016)
anglais vers espagnol
+ ...
60 days... Nov 21, 2016

Right now I have two clients whose invoice terms are 45 days from the date of the invoice. One client is a London-based client I do transcription work for and they send me a PO for every job so what I do is I bill them the day after I complete any job and then they pay me 45 days later. I also have a client in Spain that I do subtitling work for and they pay 45 days out as well, but I only invoice them once per month. So if I did a subtitling job for them at the beginning of November then I don't actually bill for it until December 1st so I guess you could say that payment for that job would be about 60 days out although technically they pay 45 days from the date of the invoice.

Do I consider this fair? Not really, but sometimes you have to go with the flow.

I have had some good luck with clients, two American ones in particular... I completed a short translation assignment for an agency, billed a couple of days later and was paid the same day! And one very well known dictionary website that paid me within 3 days. We all wish we had these types of fast paying clients!


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Anna Cribley  Identity Verified
Royaume-Uni
Local time: 19:35
Membre (2016)
espagnol vers anglais
+ ...
45 day payment procedures - Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Nov 30, 2016

Hi everyone,

My apologies if I've come in on this conversation in a round-about way. I'm just looking for some advice with regards to agency payment procedures please. Having read all of your comments, I can see that many of you have much more experience than I do on this subject and any advice would be greatly appreciated!

I'm just in the first month of setting up as a freelancer and cashflow is worrying me. I knew it would be hard within the first month or so and I do expect to wait before I receive any money. However, my first project was with a UK agency, my second and few after that have been for French and Spanish companies (EU) and I've recently been noticing that their payment terms are '45 days after invoice received'.

Has anyone ever negotiated this down to 30 days with a client/agency before and if so, how did you raise the subject please? I may be wrong in thinking this, but why can we not be paid 30 days after (end of the month) like any other job? I've done several projects now and feel like I"m not getting anywhere with getting people to pay me!!

Any advice would be amazing, thank you!


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Chris S  Identity Verified
Royaume-Uni
Membre (2011)
suédois vers anglais
+ ...
Nov 30, 2016



[Edited at 2016-11-30 14:43 GMT]


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Chris S  Identity Verified
Royaume-Uni
Membre (2011)
suédois vers anglais
+ ...
@Anna Nov 30, 2016

Anna Cribley wrote:

payment terms are '45 days after invoice received'.



If you fire off an invoice immediately you finish the job, your payment terms will be the same, on average, as for 30 days from the end of the month

But no, I wouldn't accept this from a Northern European customer. No experience of Southern Europe, I'm afraid.

If really strapped for cash you can always try charming them with a sob story. Should work.


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Tom in London
Royaume-Uni
Local time: 19:35
Membre (2008)
italien vers anglais
N/S Nov 30, 2016

Chris S wrote:

....I wouldn't accept this from a Northern European customer. No experience of Southern Europe, I'm afraid....


Is all of France in Southern Europe or Northern Europe, or is it half and half, and if so, where's the split?


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