Payment Terms for Contractors in Spain: Key Points

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Contractors in Spain, like any other service provider, rely on timely and fair payment terms to ensure the smooth running of their businesses. Payment terms and schedules help establish a clear understanding between contractors and their clients regarding when and how payments will be made. In this article, we will delve into the key points surrounding payment terms for contractors in Spain, providing valuable insights for both contractors and clients alike.

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Why include payment terms in contracts?

One might wonder why payment terms need to be explicitly included in contracts. Well, the answer is simple – payment terms protect the interests of both parties involved. By clearly defining the expectations and obligations related to payments, contractors can safeguard their cash flow and ensure consistent funding for ongoing projects. Similarly, clients benefit from a mutual understanding of when payments are due, allowing them to better plan their own finances and project budgets.

Moreover, including detailed payment terms in contracts can help prevent misunderstandings and disputes down the line. For example, specifying the exact amount due, the method of payment, and any applicable late fees or penalties can eliminate confusion and provide a clear roadmap for both parties to follow. This level of transparency fosters trust and accountability in the business relationship, ultimately leading to smoother transactions and project executions.

Furthermore, well-defined payment terms can also serve as a form of risk management for both parties. By outlining the consequences of late payments or non-payment, contracts can incentivize timely and complete payments, reducing the financial risks associated with project delays or default. This proactive approach to addressing potential payment issues can ultimately save both contractors and clients valuable time, resources, and potential legal fees in the long run.

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Payment terms for contractors in Spain

Who sets the contractor payment terms in Spain

In Spain, the responsibility for setting payment terms typically lies with the contractors themselves. However, the specific terms can be subject to negotiation and agreement with the clients. It is essential for contractors to establish satisfactory payment terms that align with their financial needs and project requirements, while also considering the client’s preferences and standard industry practices.

When negotiating payment terms in Spain, contractors often take into account various factors such as the size and scope of the project, the payment schedule, and any potential penalties for late payments. It is common for contractors to request an initial deposit or advance payment to secure their services and cover initial expenses. This practice helps mitigate the risk of non-payment and ensures a smoother cash flow throughout the project duration.

Moreover, Spanish law provides certain protections for contractors regarding payment terms. For instance, the Law 3/2004 on combating late payment in commercial transactions establishes a maximum payment term of 60 days for business transactions, unless otherwise agreed upon in writing. This legislation aims to promote prompt payment practices and protect contractors from experiencing cash flow issues due to delayed payments.

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What are the main contractor’s payment terms in Spain

The main contractor’s payment terms in Spain may vary depending on the nature of the project, industry standards, and the agreed-upon terms with the client. Typically, payment terms include details such as the timeframe for payment, the method of payment, and any applicable penalties or discounts for early or late payments. It’s crucial for contractors to clearly outline these terms to avoid any misunderstandings or disputes during the payment process.

In Spain, it is common for main contractors to request an initial deposit or advance payment before commencing work on a project. This advance payment is often used to cover initial expenses such as materials, equipment, and labor costs. The amount of the advance payment and the timing of subsequent payments are usually negotiated as part of the contract agreement between the main contractor and the client.

Furthermore, Spanish law provides certain protections for contractors regarding payment terms. For example, the Construction Contracts Act sets out specific rules regarding payment deadlines and procedures for resolving payment disputes. Main contractors should be aware of these legal requirements to ensure compliance and protect their interests in the event of payment delays or non-payment by the client.

Let’s have a look at the crucial aspects pertaining to the main contractor’s payment terms in Spain:

1. How do contractors charge for their work in Spain?

Contractors in Spain usually charge for their work based on various factors. These factors may include the scope of the project, the complexity of the tasks involved, the level of expertise required, and the time and resources invested. Some contractors may charge a fixed fee for a specific project, while others may prefer to charge an hourly or daily rate. By carefully analyzing the project requirements and considering their own overhead costs, contractors can determine an appropriate pricing structure.

It’s important to note that in Spain, contractors often take into account the current market rates and industry standards when setting their prices. This helps them remain competitive while ensuring that their services are valued appropriately. Additionally, some contractors may offer different pricing packages or discounts for long-term projects or repeat clients to foster ongoing relationships and loyalty.

Furthermore, transparency in pricing is key for contractors in Spain to build trust with their clients. Providing detailed estimates and breakdowns of costs can help clients understand the value they are receiving for their investment. This level of openness can also prevent misunderstandings or disputes regarding pricing, leading to smoother project workflows and satisfied customers.

2. Currency

In Spain, contractors typically prefer to receive payments in euros (EUR), as it is the official currency of the country. Euros are widely accepted and used for most transactions, including payments for goods and services, wages, and contractor fees.

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Using euros eliminates the need for currency conversion and minimizes the risk of exchange rate fluctuations, making it the preferred currency for contractors in Spain to receive payment. However, contractors may also accept payments in other currencies, particularly if they work with international clients or on projects that involve transactions in foreign currencies. In such cases, contractors may consider factors such as exchange rates, fees, and currency conversion methods when determining their payment preferences.

3. Payment Methods or Types Preferred by Contractors in Spain to Receive Payment

Contractors in Spain may have various preferences regarding payment methods or types to receive their payments. Some commonly preferred payment methods include:

Bank Transfer (Transferencia bancaria): Bank transfers are a popular and widely used method for making payments in Spain. Contractors often prefer this method due to its reliability, security, and ease of use. Both domestic and international bank transfers are commonly used, depending on the client’s location.

Direct Debit (Domiciliación bancaria): Direct debit is another convenient payment method where the contractor authorizes the client to withdraw funds directly from their bank account. This method is commonly used for recurring payments, such as monthly retainers or subscription-based services.

Payment Platforms: Online payment platforms like PayPal, Wise (formerly TransferWise), or Stripe are increasingly popular among contractors in Spain. These platforms offer fast, secure, and convenient ways to receive payments, particularly for international transactions.

Cash: While less common for professional services, some contractors may accept cash payments, especially for smaller transactions or informal arrangements. However, cash payments may not be preferred due to security concerns and the need for proper documentation.

Cheques (Cheques): Although less common than in the past, cheques are still used for certain transactions in Spain. Contractors may accept cheques as payment, but they may prefer other methods due to the potential delays and processing fees associated with cheques.

Payment Apps: Mobile payment apps like Bizum, Verse, or Revolut are gaining popularity in Spain. These apps allow for quick and easy peer-to-peer payments using smartphones, which can be convenient for contractors and clients alike.

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How do contractors in Spain protect their cash flow?

Cash flow is critical for any contractor’s business in Spain. To protect their cash flow, contractors often adopt certain strategies and practices. One such strategy is to request upfront payments or deposits from clients before starting the work. This provides contractors with immediate funding to cover initial expenses and reduces the risk of non-payment. Additionally, contractors may establish clear payment milestones throughout the project, enabling them to receive incremental payments as specific project milestones are achieved.

Another way contractors protect their cash flow is by implementing robust invoicing and follow-up procedures. By promptly invoicing clients and actively following up on any outstanding payments, contractors can reduce the likelihood of delayed or missed payments, thus ensuring a steady cash flow.

Furthermore, contractors in Spain often diversify their client base to minimize the impact of any potential payment delays or defaults. By working with a variety of clients across different industries or sectors, contractors can spread out their financial risk and avoid being overly reliant on a single source of income. This diversification strategy not only helps safeguard their cash flow but also opens up opportunities for new business relationships and projects.

In addition to diversification, some contractors in Spain choose to establish strong relationships with reputable financial institutions or lenders to access lines of credit or short-term financing options. These financial arrangements can provide contractors with additional liquidity during periods of slow business or unexpected expenses, helping them maintain a healthy cash flow and sustain their operations smoothly.

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Contractor payment schedule in Spain: Risks and Benefits

Establishing a payment schedule is a key element of payment terms for contractors in Spain. A payment schedule defines the specific dates or intervals at which payments are expected to be made. While a well-structured payment schedule can provide predictability and stability, both contractors and clients must be aware of the potential risks and benefits.

For contractors, a consistent payment schedule ensures reliable cash flow, enabling them to plan their business operations, pay their subcontractors and suppliers on time and even reinvest in their businesses. On the other hand, clients may benefit from a payment schedule that aligns with their own budgeting and financing capabilities. However, both parties need to be mindful of potential delays or changes in the project scope that may affect the agreed-upon payment schedule. Flexibility and open communication are vital in addressing any such issues promptly and transparently.

It is important to note that in Spain, there are legal regulations in place to protect both contractors and clients when it comes to payment schedules. The Spanish Building Act, for example, outlines specific rules regarding payment terms and deadlines in construction contracts. This legislation aims to prevent payment delays and disputes, ensuring that both parties are treated fairly throughout the project.

Additionally, cultural factors play a role in shaping payment schedules in Spain. The concept of “paga extra,” or extra pay, is common in Spanish business culture, where additional payments may be expected during certain times of the year or for specific milestones in a project. Understanding and respecting these cultural nuances can help strengthen the relationship between contractors and clients, fostering trust and collaboration.

Let’s have a look at the various types of contractor payment schedules along with their risks and benefits:

1. Prepayment

A contractor payment schedule that includes a prepayment involves the client making an upfront payment to the contractor before any work commences or as a portion of the total contract value. This prepayment serves as a form of advance payment or deposit to secure the contractor’s services and initiate the project.


  • Security for the Contractor: Prepayment provides financial security for the contractor, ensuring that they have funds to cover initial expenses such as materials, equipment, or overhead costs before starting the project.
  • Incentive for Prompt Service: Offering a prepayment can motivate contractors to start work promptly and prioritize the client’s project, knowing that payment has already been made.
  • Improved Cash Flow: Prepayments help contractors manage cash flow by providing immediate funds to cover initial project expenses, reducing the need for external financing or reliance on credit.


  • Loss of Control: Clients may feel they have less control over the project once a prepayment is made, as they have already committed funds without receiving any tangible deliverables or milestones.
  • Financial Risk for the Client: Prepayments expose clients to financial risk if the contractor fails to complete the project or goes out of business before delivering the agreed-upon work, potentially resulting in financial losses.
  • Risk of Non-Performance: There is a risk that the contractor may not fulfill their obligations or deliver satisfactory results after receiving the prepayment, leading to potential disputes and legal challenges.

2. Payment Upon Delivery

Payment upon delivery is a contractor payment schedule where the client makes payment to the contractor only after the completion and delivery of the agreed-upon goods or services. In this arrangement, the contractor performs the work or delivers the product first, and payment is made afterward based on the satisfactory completion of the project or the receipt of the deliverables.


  • Client Confidence: Clients may feel more confident in making payments knowing that they will only pay for the completed work or delivered product, reducing the risk of paying for unsatisfactory or incomplete work.
  • Risk Mitigation: Clients mitigate the risk of non-performance by withholding payment until they receive the desired deliverables, reducing the likelihood of financial loss due to project delays or subpar results.
  • Flexibility: Payment upon delivery allows clients to inspect the work or product before making payment, providing an opportunity to address any issues or concerns before finalizing the transaction.


  • Delayed Revenue: Contractors may face delays in receiving revenue, which can impact their ability to cover operating expenses, pay subcontractors or suppliers, and invest in future projects.
  • Disputes Over Acceptance Criteria: Disputes may arise between contractors and clients regarding the acceptance criteria for the work or product, leading to delays in payment and potential legal conflicts.
  • Cash Flow Challenges for Contractors: Contractors may experience cash flow challenges while waiting for payment, especially for projects with extended delivery timelines or significant upfront expenses.

3. Line of Credit

A line of credit is a financial arrangement that allows contractors to access a predetermined amount of funds from a financial institution or lender, up to a specified credit limit. Contractors can draw funds from the line of credit as needed to cover project expenses, such as materials, labor, or equipment purchases. Unlike a traditional loan, contractors only pay interest on the amount of funds they use, and they have the flexibility to repay and redraw funds as necessary within the credit limit.


  • Cost-Effective Financing: Lines of credit often offer lower interest rates compared to other forms of financing, making them a cost-effective option for funding short-term projects or covering immediate expenses.
  • Emergency Funding: A line of credit serves as a financial safety net for contractors in case of unexpected expenses or emergencies, providing peace of mind and ensuring business continuity.
  • Flexible Access to Funds: Contractors have access to a readily available source of funds that they can draw upon as needed, providing flexibility to cover project expenses and manage cash flow fluctuations.


  • Credit Limit Constraints: Contractors must adhere to the credit limit set by the lender, which may restrict their ability to access additional funds beyond the established limit, potentially limiting their flexibility in managing project expenses.
  • Interest Costs: Contractors incur interest costs on the funds they borrow from the line of credit, which can add up over time and increase the overall cost of financing the project.
  • Risk of Overborrowing: Contractors may be tempted to borrow more funds than necessary from the line of credit, leading to excessive debt and financial strain in the long run. It’s essential for contractors to exercise discipline and borrow only what is needed to avoid overborrowing.

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4. Net 10, 30 and 60

Net 10, 30, and 60 are contractor payment schedules that specify the number of days within which the client is required to make payment to the contractor after the invoice date. In a Net 10 payment schedule, the client is expected to make payment within 10 days of receiving the invoice. Similarly, in a Net 30 payment schedule, payment is due within 30 days, and in a Net 60 payment schedule, payment is due within 60 days.


  • Encourages Prompt Payment: Setting shorter payment terms such as Net 10 incentivizes clients to make payments promptly, reducing the risk of delayed payments and ensuring a steady income stream for contractors.
  • Predictable Cash Flow: Contractors can better predict their cash flow and financial planning based on the specified payment schedule, allowing for smoother operations and timely payment of expenses.
  • Competitive Advantage: Offering flexible payment terms like Net 10, 30, or 60 can be a competitive advantage for contractors, attracting clients who value timely payment and prefer contractors with favorable payment terms.


  • Delayed Revenue: Contractors may experience delays in receiving revenue, impacting their ability to meet financial obligations, invest in growth opportunities, or take on new projects.
  • Opportunity Cost: Contractors may miss out on potential investment opportunities or growth initiatives if they have to wait longer to receive payment, affecting their ability to expand their business or take on new projects.
  • Risk of Non-Payment: There is a risk that clients may default on payment within the specified timeframe, leading to disputes, cash flow problems, and potential legal action to recover outstanding payments.

5. The 2/10 Net 30 Principle

The 2/10 Net 30 principle is a contractor payment schedule that offers clients a discount incentive for early payment while specifying a standard payment term. In this arrangement, clients are encouraged to make payment within 10 days of receiving the invoice to receive a 2% discount on the total invoice amount. If payment is not made within the 10-day period, the full invoice amount becomes due within 30 days.


  • Competitive Advantage: Implementing the 2/10 Net 30 principle can be a competitive advantage for contractors, as it demonstrates flexibility and provides added value to clients who prioritize timely payment.
  • Relationship Building: Offering discounts for early payment can strengthen relationships with clients by demonstrating appreciation for their prompt payment and encouraging repeat business in the future.
  • Incentivizes Prompt Payment: Offering a discount for early payment incentivizes clients to settle invoices promptly, improving cash flow for contractors and reducing the risk of delayed payments.


  • Administrative Burden: Managing and tracking early payment discounts can add to the administrative burden for contractors, requiring additional time and resources to ensure accurate accounting and invoicing.
  • Impact on Profit Margins: Offering a discount for early payment may reduce profit margins for contractors, especially if a significant portion of clients take advantage of the discount.
  • Risk of Non-Compliance: There is a risk that clients may not comply with the 10-day payment term to receive the discount, leading to disputes, delayed payments, or the need for follow-up to collect outstanding invoices.

6. End of the Month

“End of the month” as a contractor payment schedule refers to a payment arrangement where the client agrees to make payment for services or goods rendered by the contractor at the conclusion of each calendar month. Under this arrangement, invoices are typically submitted by the contractor throughout the month, and payment is expected to be made by the client by the last day of the month for the accrued services or goods provided during that period.


  • Consolidated Payments: End of the month payment schedule allows clients to consolidate payments for all services or goods received from the contractor within a given month, simplifying accounting and administrative processes.
  • Streamlined Invoicing: Contractors can streamline their invoicing process by submitting invoices at regular intervals throughout the month, reducing administrative overhead and ensuring timely billing for services rendered.
  • Client Convenience: End of the month payment schedule offers clients flexibility in managing their finances, as they can budget for and make payments for all accrued invoices at once, rather than processing multiple payments throughout the month.


  • Disputes Over Invoicing: Inaccuracies or disputes over invoices submitted throughout the month may delay payment processing, as clients may require additional time to review and reconcile invoices before making payment by the end of the month.
  • Impact on Working Capital: Contractors may need to rely on other sources of financing or credit to bridge the gap between the provision of services and the receipt of payment at the end of the month, which can impact working capital and increase financing costs.
  • Delayed Payments: Contractors may experience delays in receiving payment, as clients have until the end of the month to make payment for services rendered earlier in the month. This delay can impact cash flow and hinder the contractor’s ability to meet financial obligations promptly.

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Sub-contractor payment schedule in Spain

In many construction projects, contractors may engage sub-contractors to assist in completing specific tasks or trades. When it comes to payment schedules for sub-contractors, the main contractor is typically responsible for ensuring fair and timely payments. It is important for contractors to establish clear and transparent payment terms with their sub-contractors, including the agreed-upon payment schedule and any specific invoicing requirements. This helps maintain a strong working relationship with sub-contractors and ensures that they are compensated fairly for their contributions to the project.

One key aspect of sub-contractor payment schedules in Spain is the legal framework that governs these transactions. The Spanish Construction Contracts Act sets out specific rules and regulations regarding payments to sub-contractors, including the timing of payments and the consequences of late payments. It is essential for contractors to familiarize themselves with these legal requirements to ensure compliance and avoid any potential disputes with sub-contractors.

Furthermore, establishing a detailed payment schedule with clear milestones and deadlines can help both contractors and sub-contractors track progress and ensure that payments are made in a timely manner. This level of transparency and accountability can foster a positive working environment and promote trust between all parties involved in the construction project. By prioritizing clear communication and adherence to the agreed-upon payment schedule, contractors can mitigate risks and build strong partnerships with their sub-contractors in Spain.

Negotiating and Agreeing to the Payment Terms of Contractors in Spain

Negotiating and agreeing upon payment terms is a crucial step in the contractor-client relationship. Both parties must engage in open and honest communication to ensure a fair and mutually beneficial agreement. Contractors should thoroughly understand their financial needs and establish clear terms that protect their interests, while clients should consider the contractor’s requirements and industry standards.

During negotiations, it is important to discuss factors such as payment timeframes, acceptable methods of payment, late payment penalties, and any discounts for early payments. By establishing a comprehensive agreement, both parties can avoid misunderstandings and potential disputes in the future.

Furthermore, in Spain, it is common for contractors to request a deposit or advance payment before commencing work. This practice helps contractors cover initial expenses and demonstrates the client’s commitment to the project. Clients should be aware of local customs and be prepared to provide the necessary financial support to initiate the project smoothly.

Additionally, Spanish law dictates specific payment terms for contractors, including the maximum timeframe within which clients must settle invoices. Understanding these legal requirements is essential for both parties to ensure compliance and maintain a positive working relationship.

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How to Form a Contract in Compliance with the Laws of Spain

Forming a contract in compliance with the laws of Spain is essential to ensure its validity and enforceability. It is advisable for contractors and clients to seek legal advice or consult a qualified professional familiar with Spanish contract laws. Some key factors to consider when forming a contract in Spain include:

  1. The contract must be in writing and signed by all parties involved.
  2. The contract should clearly state the payment terms, including due dates, amounts, and any applicable late payment penalties.
  3. The contract must comply with relevant laws and regulations, particularly those related to construction or service contracts.
  4. Any additional terms or clauses specific to the project should be clearly defined and agreed upon.

By ensuring compliance with Spanish contract laws, both contractors and clients can have confidence in the validity and enforceability of the agreement.

Furthermore, it is important to note that in Spain, contracts are considered binding once an offer is accepted, even if the formal contract document is not yet signed. This means that parties should be cautious about the terms they agree to verbally or in writing before the final contract is executed.

Another critical aspect to consider when forming a contract in Spain is the concept of good faith. Spanish law places a strong emphasis on good faith in contractual relationships, requiring parties to act honestly, fairly, and reasonably towards each other. Any attempts to deceive or act in bad faith can lead to the contract being declared void or unenforceable by the courts.

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Contractor Invoicing in Spain

Contractor invoicing plays a crucial role in the payment process. In Spain, contractors should prepare and submit accurate invoices to their clients in a timely manner. The invoice should include essential details such as the contractor’s name and contact information, the client’s details, a description of the work performed, the payment amount, and any applicable taxes or additional charges.

Contractors should also clearly outline the payment terms on their invoices, including the payment due date and any late payment penalties. Additionally, it is recommended to maintain organized records of all invoices, payment receipts, and related documents for future reference or accounting purposes.

When invoicing clients in Spain, it’s important to be aware of the country’s value-added tax (VAT) regulations. Depending on the nature of the services provided, contractors may need to charge VAT on their invoices at different rates. Ensuring compliance with VAT requirements is essential to avoid any potential penalties or fines.

Furthermore, contractors should keep track of any changes in invoicing or payment regulations in Spain to adapt their practices accordingly. Staying informed about updates in tax laws or invoicing standards can help contractors maintain smooth financial transactions with their clients and uphold a professional reputation in the industry.

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Payment Terms for Contractors in Spain

Quick Wrap Up-Payment Terms for Contractors in Spain

Payment terms and schedules are indispensable elements of contracts for contractors in Spain. By establishing clear and fair payment terms, contractors can protect their cash flow and ensure the smooth operation of their businesses. Clients benefit from a transparent understanding of payment expectations, allowing them to budget and plan accordingly. Effective communication, negotiation, and compliance with Spanish contract laws are key in successfully forming solid agreements. By upholding these principles, both contractors and clients can cultivate a mutually beneficial and professional working relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions- Payment Terms for Contractors in Spain

1. Are payment terms negotiable in Spain?

Payment terms are often subject to negotiation between contractors and clients in Spain. While contractors typically propose the terms, there is room for discussion and agreement to accommodate the interests of both parties.

When negotiating payment terms, contractors may consider factors such as the scope and complexity of the project, the client’s financial capabilities, and industry standards. It is crucial to strike a balance that ensures fair compensation for the contractor while providing the client with a reasonable payment schedule.

2. What should be included in a contractor’s payment schedule in Spain?

A contractor’s payment schedule in Spain should include clear dates or intervals at which payments are expected to be made. It is essential to define milestones or deliverables so that payments can be made upon their successful completion.

By establishing a well-defined payment schedule, both parties can have a clear understanding of when payments are due, which helps in managing cash flow and avoiding any misunderstandings or delays. Additionally, including a provision for retainage, where a portion of the payment is held until project completion, can provide an added layer of security for contractors.

3. Can contractors charge interest for late payments in Spain?

Contractors can include late payment penalties or interest in their payment terms to compensate for the delay in payments. These conditions should be clearly stated in the contract and comply with the relevant laws and regulations.

It is important for contractors to be aware of the legal framework surrounding late payments in Spain. The Law on Late Payment in Commercial Transactions establishes a maximum interest rate that will be applicable for late payments. By including such provisions in the contract, contractors can encourage timely payments and protect their financial interests.

4. How can contractors protect themselves against non-payment in Spain?

Contractors can protect themselves against non-payment by implementing various strategies and safeguards. One effective approach is to request upfront payments or deposits before commencing work. This provides contractors with some financial security and ensures that clients have a vested interest in the project.

In addition, establishing a clear payment schedule with defined milestones and deliverables can help mitigate the risk of non-payment. By breaking down the project into manageable phases, contractors can request payments upon successful completion of each stage. Regular invoicing and diligent follow-up on outstanding payments are also essential to address any payment issues promptly.

5. Are there specific laws regarding payment terms for construction projects in Spain?

While there are no specific laws solely focusing on payment terms for construction projects in Spain, certain laws and regulations related to contracts and construction activities might influence payment terms. It is advisable to seek legal advice or refer to relevant legal frameworks to ensure compliance.

For instance, the Spanish Civil Code and the Law of Contracts may provide guidance on the general principles governing contracts, including payment terms. Additionally, regulations specific to the construction industry, such as the Building Act and the Construction Contracts Act, may contain provisions that indirectly impact payment terms.


Not to be considered as tax, legal, financial or HR advice. Regulations change over time so please consult a lawyer, accountant  or Labour Law  expert for specific guidance.