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Some reasons for gaps between work completion and payout

You have completed the work for your client. All aspects of the project have been submitted as requested. You have sent an invoice for your services. However, the client has not started your payout from the work. Why not?

This blog post will cover 3 common reasons for gaps between completing the work and getting paid. Should payment ever be delayed? Probably not, but it does happen. 

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Waiting for money from end client


One common delay involves the payment process between the end client and the language business that  hired you for the work. Just as payment terms are determined between freelancer and outsourcer, similar terms are negotiated between the outsourcer and its client. Thus, there may be a gap between the time the project or portion of the project is completed and the full amount is paid.

Is this best practice? No, but it can be the reality of the working relationships in the language industry. For some language companies, the amount of cash available to pay freelancers may not meet the amount of work outsourced.

When the language company gets paid by the end client, that is typically when the payment would go out to you, the freelancer.


Quality assurance

Sometimes the delay involves checking over your work. This is common the first time working with a new client. Depending on the company it can continue throughout your relationship.

For some language companies, quality assurance is an internal process for checking over your work. This places some time between the freelancer's project completion and the actual completion of the project itself. Should there be issues with quality, it might mean the work comes back for corrections or a lower amount is paid to the freelancer.

Quality assurance can also be a step between the end client and the language company. If the end client does not believe the work is adequate for its needs, it may ask for a revision. The fear of quality concerns, and its associated payment issues from the end client, may also delay payment.

Are these best practices? Perhaps no, but it can be the best way for a language company to assure quality work. Poor experiences with quality often lead to short relationships between outsourcer and freelancer.

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How it's always been done

Sometimes the delay involves old processes. There are mechanisms to pay immediately around the world, but some financial offices have not changed. There are usually good reasons for keeping process the same, and can keep businesses operating efficiently... but they do delay the payout process.

All payments may have to run through accounting or similar office. Your work may be complete and the invoice sent, but your contact at the language company has to then perform a process to submit to those that make the payments. Any delay from your contact, or time to process from the payroll personnel may slow your payment.

For some, payroll is run on a monthly basis. Just as full-time or in-house payroll is run monthly on a certain date, that same process may be followed for freelancers. In that case, work done in August may be made available in the September payroll.

Monthly payroll is an example ProZ*Pay has helped many remote interpreting companies shorten gaps between work completion and payout.

A monthly total of minutes is collected, payout determined and then it is all paid out on a specific date. In those cases, the payroll is computed in the first week of the month, then audited and payroll is run at the end. To help speed this up, ProZ*Pay makes payout available a little sooner (using ProZ*Pay funds) through advances for interpreters that request it.

These are some of the challenges with speeding up payments. ProZ*Pay is one service trying to speed payments - cut down the time between work completion and getting paid.

As a freelancer, you have choices on who to work with. Payment terms can be a reason to choose new clients to work with. You may charge more based on these factors.

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Topics: freelancer, payments, invoicing, ProZ*Pay

Mike Donlin

Written by Mike Donlin

ProZ.com

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