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Poll: Do you request a formal purchase order before starting a project?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 16:52
SITE STAFF
Sep 1, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you request a formal purchase order before starting a project?".

This poll was originally submitted by DDM. View the poll results »



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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:52
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Other Sep 1, 2014

Some of my clients always provide a PO # for each projects. Those who don't, there's no need for me to ask for one.

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:52
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes - almost always Sep 1, 2014

I answered "Always" because almost all my clients do so routinely. Twice I made the mistake of starting without a PO only to find that the job was cancelled. So now I wait.

A small handful of individual clients are not equipped to issue POs, but I always confirm the terms with them by e-mail before I start and let them know that I am regarding their e-mail as a PO.



[Edited at 2014-09-01 08:44 GMT]


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Rudolf Frans Maulany  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:52
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Yes, sometimes Sep 1, 2014

Yes, sometimes If they are my familiar or direct clients but I always request a formal PO for new clients.

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 09:52
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
It's required by law Sep 1, 2014

over here for companies capitalized at 10,000,001 yen or more. However, the format is left completely up to the customer/client and an e-mail clearly stating the details of the order (content, payment details, delivery, schedule, etc.) is acceptable in the eyes of the law.
For individuals or companies capitalized at 10 million yen or less, I ask for the above e-mail. I will not go ahead and start translating without some kind of confirmation of order placement and contractual details.

Most of my customers issue POs anyway by default which removes any doubt from my mind that the job or project might be shelved midway (has happened in the past) and I can focus on the job in hand without any worries.

It never used to be like this before the Late/Non-payment Law was put into effect some years back. In fact, I was left with 38 million yen's worth of broken promises - you do the math - in the year I decided to shut up shop and go back to being a one-man band.

HTH for any of you out there with Japanese customers/clients.

Changed 30 to 38

[Edited at 2014-09-02 00:58 GMT]


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:52
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Sep 1, 2014

I suppose they are useful, but I have a very informal approach and find formal POs a bit of a nuisance - just more unnecessary paperwork.

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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Not for regular customers Sep 1, 2014

But only a fool would work for an unknown customer without a written order confirmation

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 00:52
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Sep 1, 2014

Almost all my clients do so more often than not...

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Vera Schoen  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 01:52
Member (2008)
German to Swedish
+ ...
No Sep 1, 2014

However I never start without an explicite, written go ahead (e-mail).

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 01:52
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Depends on the client Sep 1, 2014

Vera Schoen wrote:

However I never start without an explicit, written go ahead (e-mail).


An explicit go-ahead is binding, and some of my best clients simply send a file and ask: 'can you do this and when?' and follow my confirmation with 'OK; please go ahead'.

That means the regular end client and regular rate as on previous occasions.

At least one other regular client sends PDFs and pays by target word, because this is easier that guestimating from the source. Rate and deadline are agreed, however.

I do make sure I have clear instructions from new clients before starting. Small one-person companies may not spend time on heavy administration, but are often extremely efficient and pay well nevertheless!

Small is beautiful


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Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:52
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Written confirmation Sep 1, 2014

I do prefer to have at least some kind of written confirmation stating the rate, deadline and any other important details. If I don't receive this from the customer, I will put it in writing myself and then send it to them asking them to confirm that it is ok.

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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 02:52
Turkish to English
+ ...
No Sep 1, 2014

Not really - as long as the terms of the agreement are clearly set out in an exchange of emails, that is enough for me. Some clients provide formal POs, and that is fine by me, but I would never make starting work conditional on receiving one.

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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 01:52
Spanish to English
+ ...
I ask the client to send me one Sep 1, 2014

This has one of two results:

They send me a PO
or
They tell me they don't send POs but to go ahead with the project. I take this as the closest I am going to get to a PO from some clients.

What I am after is clear and express confirmation that they do want me to get on with the job!


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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 18:52
German to English
+ ...
confirmation and summary of some kind Sep 1, 2014

The only non-paying customer I had, used a formal purchase order. It doesn't mean squat if they're in another country and you can't get at them. That was over a decade ago before I knew better. HOWEVER, there is always a written summary of the arrangement.

Many of us have a large variety of customers. If 80 year old Farmer Jones wants his birth certificate translated, I am not going to ask him to create a formal purchase order. And if Mary Smith calls in the morning asking to have her marriage certificate translated which she needs in order to complete her citizenship papers, arranging to pick it up on her way home from work, I am also not going to need a purchase order. She gets her translation when she pays me, and there is no reason for her not to pick it up, since she needs it.

With agencies there are longstanding customers with whom I have done business for years. They don't use purchase orders, but unlike the folks in the first paragraph, they actually pay me.


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Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:52
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
I keep the e-mail(s) sent Sep 1, 2014

And it works for me as a PO. Some of my clients, though, make their own POs with each project. And I never start a translation until they tell me to do so.

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