Thu. Feb 20th, 2020

The time it takes for customers to pay bills


Rebecca Turbí is a journalist. Since 2011, he works as a freelancer doing all kinds of work related to corporate communication, content creation and social media management. Almost a decade in which he has been able to experience the consequences of late payment. Because what seemed like a simple delay or an oversight was something else … or something ‘of less’. “You never think it can happen to you and you always have hope that you will be paid, but it is not always the case,” he shares.

Late payment is one of the (several) Achilles heels that you learn to deal with the self-employed. An especially alarming reality if we consider that According to the Federation of Associations of Autonomous Workers (ATA), one in two freelancers has trouble collecting their bills. “When it happens you find yourself unprotected because you don’t know how to manage it and it is not a simple way,” values ​​the young journalist.

Rebecca Turbí, journalist

Rebecca Turbí, journalist





Adjust the payment term

Passionate about cats, motorcycles and management and organization apps, Rebecca is an off-road journalist who has sharpened her sense of experience-based forecasting, limiting her clients’ payment terms. “At the beginning it suited me to the needs of each client, sometimes 60 days, another 45, but after a couple of bad experiences I decided to change the method of payment and now I have the maximum payment term in 30 days, although not everyone complies, ”he says.


One in two freelancers has trouble collecting their bills

Rebecca does not hesitate to affirm that the self-employed in general have problems to collect the invoices on time. “Yes, unfortunately. It is not the general trend but there are more defaults than before and the main harmed are us. If we do not charge for a job or take a long time to collect it, it can cause us liquidity problemsz because we do have to meet our payments to suppliers, administrations. Due to the irresponsibility of others, our survival is in danger or is more expensive, ”he denounces.

What are the consequences of default or excessive late payment? Less investment, advance of VAT and loss of time and money, in general, are some of the consequences that this journalist has the default or excessive delay in collection. A situation that, despite everything, does not seem to have improvement. “We are an abandoned collective. You have to work realistic and concrete proposals that help all freelancers to be more protected against late payment, ”he concludes.


Rebecca Turbí, journalist

“If we do not charge for a job or take a long time to collect it, it can lead to liquidity problems because we do have to meet our payments to suppliers, administrations”


A rare avis

Lola Martínez is a yoga teacher. He started working for various companies, mostly herbalists and associations, and for 11 years he runs his own school, ANANDA YOGA in the municipality of Rocafort (Valencia). In total, 15 years in which, fortunately, has not suffered any default. “While working for others they have paid me late on occasion, but I have never stopped charging,” Lola shares.

Since having her own school, the teacher points out that sometimes someone has stopped attending classes and has not paid the monthly payment, “but they are exceptional cases,” he remarks. Lola is a rare avis, perhaps because her clients and suppliers are private and small. According to ATA estimates, in fact, it is the big companies that take the longest to pay outstanding bills (122 days on average).

Lola Martínez, teacher

Lola Martínez, teacher
(Getty)




Like any autonomous, excessive delay has consequences. “Sometimes you have to advance the money to pay taxes, other teachers, material, advertising, electricity bills, heating … Anyway, the expenses generated in the development of the activity,” he explains. As her experience and trajectory progresses, however, Lola perceives that the situation is improving little by little. “Especially thanks to the help of the people around me who always seeks the well-being of all”thanks.


Lesson learned

Ana Pedroche and Fran de Vicente are autonomous since 2009. Together they founded the digital marketing agency Your Web Positioning, focused on helping small and medium businesses to get more customers through Google searches. They belong to that half of the group that has ever suffered any invoice default. “Yeah right. Especially at the beginning of the activity many years ago, when some clients decided not to pay because they did not do well, after the work was done, ”they remember.


Less investment, advance of VAT and loss of time and money, in general, are some of the consequences of late payment

The maximum amount of collection that they have left owed has reached the negligible figure of 5,000 euros (a single customer). A circumstance from which they have learned. “Now this can happen too, but less because we have improved contracts and customer relationships,” they explain. Key to anticipate what, in his opinion, is an abuse by companies that, being larger, “take advantage of their power situation and extend the payment term much more than small businesses.”

Ana Pedroche and Fran de Vicente, founders of a marketing agency

Ana Pedroche and Fran de Vicente, founders of a marketing agency




The reason? “They may see the autonomous as more vulnerable. It is a matter of lack of education of the businessmen and those in charge of making the payments ”, say Ana and Fran, for whom, as they point out, non-payment has a strong impact on the income statement. A situation that, regardless of possible external solutions, depends at the end of “the attitude that your own business takes. Sometimes it is better to plant yourself so as not to take customers who try to take advantage of your company financially, ”they value.



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Waste of time

We talked last with Javi Pastor, director of a training school on copywriting. Autonomous since 2015, it has suffered monthly defaults whose average amount is about 750 euros. “The program is paid in installments and many people only pay the first,” he shares. To reverse this situation, (he still) has not found the magic formula. “We have no concrete means to pursue the defaults and if you do the reality is that many times you only waste your time,” Javi values.

Javi Pastor, director of a copywriting training school

Javi Pastor, director of a copywriting training school




“Beyond there are more or less problems, the bureaucracy related to the collection of defaults is too complex. There are times that it costs you more time and money to claim a default than the amount of the default itself, ”he says. On the relationship between the size of the company and the size of the delay, Javi is clear that, although “Smaller companies can ask to pay in more installments and less, they are usually faster paying”.


Javi Pastor, self-employed since 2015

“We have no concrete means to pursue the defaults and if you do the reality is that many times you only waste your time”

For this entrepreneur, the consequences of default or excessive late payment are three. “First, you suffer a lag in the company’s treasury. The money that is supposed to enter to pay the costs ends up entering after paying the costs, which forces you to have to go ahead and fight for the charges, ”he shares and adds:“ Secondly, it causes a waste of time when it comes to contacting these people over and over again, solving problems, talking with the lawyer, among others. ”

“Thirdly, it means advancing even more expenses because you pay taxes in advance of bills that you don’t know or when you are going to collect. The tax should be collected when the invoice is paid and not before, ”says Pastor, who believes that the situation is similar to when it started. “I have not seen any significant change, it is still hard for me to pursue the defaults and I still prefer to take them for granted in many cases than to continue through eternal legal means,” he concludes.



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