Providing a translation is providing a service. Imagine you having provided the appropriate service, delivered it on time, invoiced the client accordingly (indicating a payment date not so far into the future) and the suggested payment date comes and goes without any money pouring in on your needy bank account ? what do you do, how do you react? Needless to say that we are not considering the fact of this being a client that has been employing your company for a while or due to some unknown stroke of fate the bank made a mistake.
You?d be surprised if I tell you that approximately 85 % of the relevant translators DO NOTHING. My colleagues anticipate timidly that it suddenly dawns on the client to settle the unpaid invoice. A little percentage of these 85 % will send a reminder after a couple of weeks and then continue waiting for an appropriate reply.
The Net certainly offers numerous options to find prospective clients quick and efficiently, but it also offers yet unknown options for crooks. In the various translators portals reports are circling about colleagues that have abstained in every single known case from paying their translators the respective dues. Now these companies enter the market under a new company logo & name and claim to act as collection agencies for those poor mistreated translators! Well, I call THAT a paradox, wouldn?t you agree? Still there are colleagues who sincerely ponder to employ those companies!
In the case of unpaid invoices the employment of a competent collection agency is absolutely vital. You find numerous providers in the yellow pages. Important for you as a one-man business is finding the RIGHT collection agency for your needs, meaning one that charges the debtor all relevant fees and not you. I found mine thru a good friend who had faced this problem in connection with her hosting service. The tip was worth its money in Gold!
The collection agency also pointed out that before accepting any job in the amount of several thousands $ it might be a good idea to have the client?s financial standing examined first. This is not too expensive and might save you from future heartaches and nightmares. You will know beforehand if the client is up to his/her word and if you can rely on prompt payment for any service delivered.
I have had this happening to me before: I had translators who simply forgot to invoice their translation after delivery and I had translation agencies that either forgot to pay the invoice or told me the check got lost in the mail. Sure thing. Guess my translation for those clients next time (if at all) will get lost in cyberspace, hah?