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Poll: Do you require a purchase order before starting a project?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 13:41
SITE STAFF
Apr 6, 2015

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

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Yvonne Gallagher
Ireland
Local time: 21:41
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
other Apr 6, 2015

I have one very good client who never sends a PO (and not even a wordcount) but he has never disagreed with my wordcount (for over 4 years now) and always pays at 30 days with no problem so I'm not going to insist on a PO when it's obviously unnecessary.

However, if there has ever been a problem regarding wordcount/payment terms in the past with a client I insist on getting a PO first and I ALWAYS insist on one with new clients.

Nevertheless, an actual PO isn't absolutely necessary if everything is spelled out in the e-mail.

[Edited at 2015-04-06 08:26 GMT]


 

Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:41
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
depends on the client Apr 6, 2015

I mostly work with direct clients. We don't use formal POs, but the email exchange definitely confirms that a project has been assigned.
However, I also work with agencies which appear to be "deliberately disorganised". Here, I will insist on a PO. I have send out notes along the lines of "If you still want me to deliver by the agreed deadline, I will need the PO by X o'clock. If I receive it any later, I will need to charge my rush surcharge of 40%. I'm sure you will understand that I may accept other projects in the mean time and no longer be available for the assignment we discussed."


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 21:41
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Apr 6, 2015

I've been doing business with some customers for so long that we know each other well enough that a formal PO isn't required and good old-fashioned trust is all we need. For new direct clients, I always send an e-mail stating price, delivery date and payment conditions and they reply accepting my terms. For new agency clients I've never had to ask for a PO. All of the agencies I work for send a PO.

 

Andrea Munhoz  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 17:41
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Other Apr 6, 2015

All my clients have their own platform. My dashboard there displays the files, the PO, delivery, invoicing, etc. Very convenient.

 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:41
Member (2006)
German to English
No Apr 6, 2015

I do not require one, but I do not do any work until I actually get one, or at least a confirmation that the project can go ahead.
I find it a matter of normal business practice


 

Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:41
Portuguese to English
+ ...
This: Apr 6, 2015

dianaft wrote:
I mostly work with direct clients. We don't use formal POs, but the email exchange definitely confirms that a project has been assigned.


Email exchange and project confirmation is still a PO, so I would never start a translation without a firm ''go-ahead'' from the client.

[Edited at 2015-04-06 11:42 GMT]


 

TB CommuniCAT  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:41
Member (2014)
English to French
It depends Apr 6, 2015

With direct clients - email is sufficient
With agencies - some do, some don't, but most seem to want a P.O. for paper records
With new clients - always


 

xxxbrg
Netherlands
Other Apr 6, 2015

E-mail is enough.

 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:41
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
In some cases Apr 6, 2015

TB CommuniCAT wrote:

With direct clients - email is sufficient
With agencies - some do, some don't, but most seem to want a P.O. for paper records
With new clients - always


My thoughts, my procedures.icon_wink.gif


 

Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:41
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
sometimes Apr 6, 2015

With some clients it isn't necessary, usually the email is enough, with word count or hours expected.
Many clients will send one anyways, since they require it for records etc. I don't mind, as it does help me keep track of projects as well.


 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:41
Member (2012)
French to English
Same Apr 6, 2015

houtberg wrote:

E-mail is enough.


Agreed.


[Edited at 2015-04-06 20:37 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:41
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Emails constitute a binding contract Apr 6, 2015

I state my terms and conditions. Those (or whatever comes of negotiations) are the important ones. I always ask clients to confirm they accept them. If an agency then sends a PO I have to check it very carefully. Several times I've found discrepancies. Simple error or a way of manipulating things in their favour? Hmm... So, I don't encourage POs but I do accept them.

 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 05:41
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes, Apr 7, 2015

As Sheila says, e-mails constitute a binding contract. However, a lot of my customers do issue Purchase Orders or an Order Cord or something along those lines. I require some kind of clear notification with all details attached before I go ahead and start a job.
From experience, I've found that trouble will occur down the line if you start a job with contractual details left fuzzy and ambiguous (i.e. open to different interpretation) at the outset.


 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 15:41
German to English
+ ...
Other Apr 7, 2015

Any project begins with something in writing outlining what is to be done, by when, for what fee. That can be in e-mail form. Purchase orders are not any kind of guarantee. My biggest non-payment involved a purchase order, and it is still outstanding to the tune of $2,000.00.

It also depends on the type of client. I work for a lot of end clients. When an elderly farmer needs some personal documents to be translated, you don't require a purchase order from him.

I would say that among all the business have done over several decades, maybe 1% of them involved formal purchase orders, including my non-payer.


 
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