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I was asked to design and create spirit packs for the local middle school football team. The coach contacted me about the job. The plan is to create order forms and the players return them with the money for the items selected. Today I was asked by the coach whether we do purchase orders. I told that we could but we would need half down and payment upon delivery. He said he would have to check with the administration he wasn't sure if they could desperse half down and that he wasn't completely sure how it works... My question is how does it work? Since we're not talking about school budgeted money but instead money paid from the players parents why should there be so much hoops to get the money to me? I understand that they have to protect the interest of the paying parents making sure that they get what they paid for since all checks will be made out to the school. But since the school itself is not paying for the stuff what would be the reason for not accepting this policy of half down? Also he said they would be givin a p.o # from the office and pass it on to us. Whats that for? Is that just a # we put on the invoice? What does that number mean to us? Is that just their way of keeping records? I'm clueless please educate me on how the school system works keeping in mind that this purchase is completely paid for by the parents in advance... Any help would be appreciated greatly. Cause I feel lost and this forum always seem to have the answers when you barely know the question!:confused:
 

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Also he said they would be givin a p.o # from the office and pass it on to us. Whats that for?
Well, a P.O.# is just a "Purchase Order Number" the office will give you so you can send the invoice with that P.O.# back to them; I think with that you make sure that the order will go thru since they gave you that P.O.#.

Since they don't break the balance in 50% down, they will make sure by this method that their order will get thru and you will get paid.
 

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I deal with customer PO numbers all the time. It is basically a way for them to keep track of their ordering/budget etc... you do not have to worry about it any further than that.
Just reference the PO number on the invoice when you do it up.

Lar
 

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Getting checks from schools, municipalities, etc. is not like us pulling out our checkbook and writing a check.

They have to go through so much. So requiring 1/2 down and the balance later is actually twice as hard on the school to get pushed through. It's not that they don't have the money, it's that they have to get approval at several levels (including possibly the school board) for a check.

Since it is so hard to get checks cut and schools don't have a company credit card, PO is the next best thing. It is a guarantee that you will get your money.

If you need the half down to fund the order that is one thing. But it would be a lot easier on the school if you could accept just one payment once the job is done.
 

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I do work for a local school district. In my case this is how it works...They send me and Purchase Order, with a number for them to track...I perform the work and give it to the district along with a copy of my invoice(in duplicate) and a copy of their PO. I also put their PO # on my invoice. They submit this to the accounts receivable dept and I get a check in about 7-10 days.
 

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I do work for a local school district. In my case this is how it works...They send me and Purchase Order, with a number for them to track...I perform the work and give it to the district along with a copy of my invoice(in duplicate) and a copy of their PO. I also put their PO # on my invoice. They submit this to the accounts receivable dept and I get a check in about 7-10 days.
Schools are hard to deal with. I took an order and it took them 2 months to pay because it was from fundraiser money and they did not have enough for the whole order when I delivered. I knew they were good and was able to stretch it out. But you need that kind of info going in. Most want to give you the order and not pay up front.
 

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I would think the reason they want to do the PO is that each student is ordering their items and they dont pay for them until they recieve them. So it would be hard for them to give you half the money when they have not yet recieved it themselves. I know when my daughter was in school and she ordered sweatshirts for certain things, she ordered them, and then paid when she picked up her sweatshirt. So maybe this is the reason for this. Also I dont think any school pays up front for anything they order, I think they pay once the recieve an invoice after the order has been recieved. they would then put it thru their accounts payable dept. and send you a check.
 

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If you are getting a PO you should first have a contract in place. We have looked at doing government contracts in the past and the language is very disturbing. They basically agree that they never have to pay you if they don't have the money.

Now, we do a lot of work, almost all of our work, on a handshake. I would not do the same with a school district or any government agency.

First, get a contract so you have something if you have to go to court. Second, a PO is an endorsement to get paid. If you have both you will probably be paid.
 

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Lots of very good suggestions listed. Another consideration is that if any custom art is created, who pays for that, and eventually who owns the final art design.
 

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If this had been mentioned I'm sorry as I kind of scanned over the posts. A PO # system can also help you get paid a little quicker, and helps you "prove" to accounts payable that you were authorized to do the work. I personally like to have PO before I do work for a company. This lets me know that the work I am about to preform is budgeted for, and approved. When I send invoice with the PO referenced they can look back on their PO, see it was an approved purchase and go ahead and cut the check, MOST of the time.

This really protects both sides. Say a company has a remote branch. A person from the remote branch walks in and says "I need 20 shirts." I'd say "I need a PO from corporate." You'd hate to make the shirts, invoice corporate and them be like "Who are you?" then you spend a week ping ponging between accounts payable and the remote branch you made the shirts for trying to get your money. That's why, to me, PO's are well worth the little bit of extra tracking.
 

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Since we're not talking about school budgeted money but instead money paid from the players parents why should there be so much hoops to get the money to me?
I suspect that since the school is writing the check it doesn't matter that the money is just flowing through them. They would still have to follow standard district purchasing policy.

One advantage to this is that you probably would not have to charge sales tax since the school is likely tax exempt.
 

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Organizations set aside a portion of their budget for printing, so if the org has a $10,000 budget for printing and they are spending $2000 of that with you, the accounting office will earmark $2,000 to pay you and issue a PO#. That PO# means that you will get paid (of course the PO is only as good as the organization). Otherwise they would quickly overspend their budget and someone is going to end up waiting a long time to get paid not to mention the budgeting headaches it will cause.

When working with larger organizations you will either take a PO# and wait for the money or some organizations will pay by credit card. Naturally a school isn't going to use a credit card so you'll have to wait for your money. The upside is that the school will cash the checks, pay you and they worry about any bounced checks from parents.

The other way, if the school is willing, is to have the parents write the checks to you in which case you want all the money up front.
 
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