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Invoices

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How to create them, how to fill them out how to send them to clients, and mainly how to make sure you get paid. If you have 10 different clients, you're going to have 10 different requirements for invoices. So you should keep this in mind. proz.com and other sites offer their own invoices, but unless you can make a payment through the website itself as you can with Upwork and Togo, chances are you will have to issue your own invoices. I found that the best way to issue invoices is once per week, you definitely do not want to wait until the end of the month since most payment terms start from the invoice dates and not the translation delivery date. The invoice writing process starts basically when you're assigned the task, and that's by filling out the information I mentioned at the beginning of this lesson.

Now as an example, I will show you my invoice template. This is an example of what I send to every client after I perform their job as an invoice so they pay me. So let's go through this in detail so you can collect what information you want and what you think you can use. First of all, you can ignore the logo at the top. I added that when I decided to get incorporated, which is the next step. After you've started making money for your translation services, you can see if you want to get incorporated, that is not something I would count in becoming a freelance translator, but I might add a little something about getting incorporated later on.

For now. Don't worry about it, you can just put your name up top or you don't have to put anything. Also keep in mind if you're just starting out and maybe this is your first translation, you feel a bit insecure about using invoice number 001 or invoice one. You can start the invoices wherever you want, this is for your reference. So you can start them at 101 or 150 or any number you want. This is just for you to keep track.

I would suggest However, once you Start to keep them in chronological order so it's easy to find invoices later on. As you can see, this one says invoice 405 which means the invoice before that was 404, the one after will be 406, etc etc. Now the information next to bill from never changes since it's mine and so this will show up the same on every single invoice I send out. The information next to build two will remain the same for each client. So if this is a repeat client say I can just copy and paste that from an invoice from the past. Next, as you can see in the four part here, I copied the information from the Google Spreadsheet I mentioned at the beginning of this lesson.

If the client is using any of their own reference number, I will include that here as well. Otherwise, I'll just put the name that I used. And once again, you can feel free to show rate and a word count or not The important thing here is the money do. So triple check these numbers at the end, you definitely want to make sure you do not make a mistake, whether it be the currency, or the amount due. And last, but definitely not least, you want to include that big green box that I have there. It can be obviously any color or any shape as long as it's prominent.

I always plays this in a very obvious place. So the client has no question as to which number is the amount due, obviously, the client is going through many different invoices for many different people. So showing this number very clearly helps them out and means that you don't risk they're Miss reading something else and paying you an incorrect amount. For example, here they might see line total 589 and just pay that because you know they're going through a million different invoices. So here, if you have something that says total due and it's very prominent, it just makes them paying you that much easier. Now as you can see there at the bottom I have a due date that is net seven days from issue.

Usually a client will specify their due date, whether it's seven days or 15 or 30 days etc. If they don't, however, I'll usually write one of two things either payable upon receipt so that it's due right away, or seven days which gives a precise due date. If the client wants to pay you 60 or 90 days after the invoice, or anything else that is too long for you, you can try to negotiate something quicker if possible, or at least like a partial payment just to show good faith. Below that you see invoices more than 30 days overdue are subject to a 10% late fee. I will get into interest later on so I won't cover that right now. Just keep in mind, this is something you can do.

And lastly at the bottom, you may have noticed this advertisement basically in red. I didn't have this at the beginning when I first started issuing invoices but as time goes by and you get more comfortable with what you do, you will appreciate your invoices, another marketing message. mechanism. For example, in this area or wherever there is whitespace, or somewhere that's notable, I guess, you can write what I wrote and offer a discount for a referral, which is what I tend to prefer. Or you can write other stuff like maybe you know, receive hat with my, with my company or country logo on it for ordering at least 10 jobs from me, or, you know, whatever prize you want for whatever benefit you want. an invoice is valuable real estate, so why not use every part of it.

Rather than just leave that empty space. I guess that's my reasoning behind this. This obviously doesn't mean you should clutter it up as much as possible, but a sentence or two in the right place could go a long way and it certainly won't hurt. So, once I've added all this information, all I do is click print and choose the option Save as PDF. This gives me a nice PDF file without the row and column line. that you see in the Excel file, so I can send it off to the client.

Here are some other additions you can make to your invoice. Although I don't include them in mine, you can make them to your invoices if you wish. So I'll mention them here. First of all is a deadline for reworking every now and then the client might ask you to rework or modify a translation you've made, for the most part it is wise to do so since they mean you've made a mistake or if not, regardless, they just keep the client happy. However, you also want to make sure that the client doesn't contact you say five months later and ask you to rework a translation you forgot all about and want to include that as the same as part of the same invoice or they might just want you to add a little bit here and there or tweak something here or there and not have to be charged for it because you know, it's quote unquote under the same job.

So the way to avoid this is to set a deadline sometimes along the lines of you know, all rewrites and edits shall be made within 30 days after which no claims will be considered, or something along those lines at the bottom or wherever on your invoice. You can also choose to limit the number of times you rework a certain document, although this might show a lack of dedication on your part, and honestly, if you need more than two or three, we reworks Something is wrong regardless either with your translation or with a client. So that's why I personally don't recommend writing it. The next point is retaining copyright. This is because sometimes you might not get paid your full amount or you might not get paid at all. And so while you're fighting to get your money, you might find out that the client is using your translation on their documents or their website.

So you can protect yourself against this by writing something along the lines of the translator retains copyright of this work until the invoice is paid in full, or something along those lines, right and this way, you can Then pursue them for copyright violation, which can be a good step to have if they still owe you money. And lastly is an opportunity to redeem yourself, it's possible that the client might find a few mistakes in your translation, and may use that then as a reason to pay you less or not pay you at all in some cases, and sometimes they might be entitled to do so at least for paying you less because maybe you did make a bad mistake. However, you might want to give yourself a chance to redeem yourself. So if they find something wrong with your translation, you can then work on it for them again, before they decide to lower the price.

So this means that if they find a mistake in the translation you made, you can then rework it right away and send it back to them and hopefully, they won't lower the price after that because you were so responsive. And in the end, you did send them the correct translation. Now, we We'll talk about how to collect your money once it is due. Now, once again, the good thing about gaining more experience and working with different clients is that over time, you can choose to go with those clients who pay you on time rather than those who don't. In the meantime, you will have to start implementing a collection method. And remember, no matter how angry or frustrated, you may be the client until you get paid, still has your money.

So you should wait to vent your anger until after you receive it. So remember, do not get angry with a client while they still have your money. I just want to emphasize that on the due date listed on your spreadsheet, if you've not received payment, I would suggest to send a polite email to your client, noting that you have the payment listed as do and ask when you can expect payment. At this point, once I've sent this polite email, I automatically set a reminder on Google calendar for two days later. And then if I get no response, I send a second email asking when I can expect my payment due. And then and then I set reminders for every other day from that point on.

So at this stage, if you can tell what's happening is basically you're trying to be persistent or annoying. And so the client has to deal with you, because they keep receiving your emails in their inbox. In, I would say 90% of the cases, you will usually receive a reply within one week, and giving you either the payment or proof of payment or a more definite payment date. So 90% of the time, that'll be enough, and then you'll have your payment and that's it right. However, it might not be enough and so if it isn't, then what I will do usually is, I will basically after one or two weeks if I don't hear from the client, I'll send an email to every other email address I can find from the clients company. This will include the info at company name, calm Or contact at company name calm or any other person especially if you can go to the website and find the boss's name, then sure send it you're owed money.

So you know, this way you can be sure that the clients, colleagues and boss know that this client is late with, with their payment. The the tone, however, at least when I send the email, the tone is always very polite. It's never mad, and I never lose my temper, always play. So if I still don't receive any reply, then I'll try one more email and wait another two days. So I repeated basically. So I start being persistent with everyone else in the company.

And at this point, if the client is still incommunicado and if I don't hear from the client, I will use their phone number to call them. I often say that I'm calling on behalf of me. Now this is just something I do. I confess, I don't know if it's a better tactic, but it seems that if they think a whole organization is behind me, they might be more likely to take me seriously and at This point, I also contact the website through which they contacted me. So if they use proz.com or Upwork to hire me, then I will contact proz.com. More likely proz.com than Upwork.

Because Upwork has an escrow service, but I'll contact proz.com or translators base or translators cafe, etc, etc. and let them know Oh, by the way, this client hasn't paid me. And just to let you know that I can't get in touch with them at all, they aren't responding to emails at all. I will also write up a bad review on proz.com and elsewhere. proz.com remember has the blue board where you can look up any company and see how well they're rated or how badly they're rated. And proz.com.

And most places then allow you to retract their review. So what I will do is write up a bad review and then email the client and say, I had to write this bad review. I will however retract it once you've paid me. I should say that actually I prefer to keep it up even after they pay me because I do feel that other translate should know, if payment is bad, I might add an update to it, but I feel like it should be kept up. However, when you're asking for money, you want that money. That's the main thing you want.

So you know offer to retract it if it's something that's important to them as long as they pay you, and then later on evaluate how you feel. My last resort, when at all possible is to pay a personal visit to the client. This obviously has geographical restrictions. However, you might have maybe family or good friends close to the client. At this point, depending on the total amount it might be worth offering half of the payment or partial payment, you know a percentage of it to whoever can pass by the client with a copy of your invoice and insist upon payment. Now I've only reached this stage once and I had a friend of mine called the client and my friend called to say she was passing by to collect my money later that day, and call the client from a local number once the client receives Call they sent their payment to me right away.

So it actually worked out pretty well. What about interest? As I mentioned before, you might want to be able to charge interest for payments that are overdue or that are late. Now, if you want to charge interest First of all, you have to mention that up front, ie on the invoice like I did. Second of all, charging interest might actually depend on the legalities of the country you reside in. For example, in most of Europe, you are allowed to charge interest as long as certain rules are being followed IE prompt notification, so you let them know on the invoice.

So look into what the laws are for your own country. You also have to keep in mind that your client might or might not want to deal with interest. But I found that the more you take your own payment seriously, the more the client will take it seriously. So if you can seriously charge interest and do it correctly, then by all means do so. Just keep in mind to have it clearly stated on your invoice. also realize that some clients might not take it as seriously.

So this might also be a good litmus test as to which clients you want to take seriously in the future or not. As I showed, in my example, I charge a 10% interest. I've heard of other people who charge a certain percentage every week or months that it's late. I find that's not usually worth it just because it's too much of a calculation to make. And the 10% interest after 30 days is usually enough to get paid within the 30 days, however, you can see whatever works best for you. Also, once again, I want to mention that in the documents for this lesson, you will find a personal example of mine of nonpayment that you can learn from because I did make certain mistakes and so you can make sure you don't make them yourself.

And I think it helps to see a personal example and see step by step what happened to see how the mistakes can occur and how they could have been avoided. Also, I feel since I didn't get paid at least if someone else can get benefit from it, then it wasn't a completely wasted experience. Not to top it off here, just some other excuses you might come across. And some reasons that I've received for late or non payment. Obviously, this is by no means exhaustive, but just some of the excuses that I've encountered. First of all, the bank is processing the payment.

This is the modern equivalent of the checks in the mail. So if this happens, it's very easy. You just ask them for a proof of payment, even if the bank is still processing it. They received proof on their end, a confirmation of some sort, and so they can send that to you right away. Secondly, the end client has not paid me yet. I think this was in the example that I showed earlier in this lesson.

So I had another agency that I worked with, that continued saying this for about two months. And finally, even though I reminded them that my contract was with them and not with the end client, remember this at all times your contract is with whoever you're working with not the end client, if the end client hasn't paid them, then that's too bad. Your contract was not with the end client, you did not assume that risk they did. However, I still hadn't been getting paid. And so finally, after two months, I offered to contact the end client myself. I said, Well, obviously, the end client is not fulfilling their duties.

And so I'll contact them myself, and, you know, insist that they pay you. And they then threatened me with legal action, the translation agency did because they said you cannot contact an end client. Obviously, this is completely bogus. They cannot threaten you with legal action in this case. I mean, they can sir and all they want but there's nothing they can do because they aren't. They are in breach of contract if they don't pay you for a job you've done.

And once again, your contract is with them not with the end client. In the end, they did pay me so it worked out but unfortunately, I had to get ugly. Another example is you didn't send me the invoice. And they do this when you obviously have another version of this would be Oh, we need say x, y, z. added to the invoice so we need something different on the invoice and I say this is another example because a wait until they owe you the money to say this they don't tell you this right away. And so I mean in this case you know what are you going to do you just send a different invoice but also note that the money is overdue, so feel free to add that 10% right away or something along those lines that 10% interest I mean or whatever penalty you have for late payment.

Another example is we will pay you after the next job. And honestly I've received this and honestly I wonder if anyone has ever accepted this because it seems ridiculous to me. Another one that I've received and I should say more than once is the you know the client whatever name is in the hospital now I say clients name because you know, they mentioned the person specifically that I was dealing with. Now I received this will I mean a variation of this twice. You know what one is very sick and another one is in the hospital. And, and in one case, they stated that the client was in the hospital for a week or at least a week or something along those lines.

Unfortunately, the client, or whoever contacted me forgot that the client had added me on Facebook, I'm pretty sure it was a client emailing me and just pretending not to be herself. But I was friends with her on Facebook, and around one hour later, she posted an invite to a party on to her house at her house that weekend, which was two days away. So the answer to give here if a client is in the hospital or a sick or something like that, is to say that business life Unfortunately, he still goes on as callous as business life, maybe it does still go on. And despite someone being sick, you still have to pay the rent and pay your bills. Also, I would recommend if you do hear this excuse not to do any future business with that client, because, look, it might be true, in which case you can work something around it but if you find out that it's not an wasn't excuse, it's definitely not a client you want to deal with in the future.

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