Working with Vendors/Consultants/Contractors

I have worked with a lot of vendors/consultants/contractors ranging from Copy Machine vendors, phone/wiring vendors,  to accountants, web designers, and more. So I thought I'd write a post about 4 steps I follow when working with vendors.

1. When researching vendors I get multiple quotes to make a comparison of prices and services and always ask for a list of nonprofit specific client references. Then I call the references. A lot of vendors say they work with nonprofits, however I like to verify that they have many nonprofit clients and those clients are happy with their work.

2. I am forced into making a decision with a vendor over the phone. Being Operations Manager I get all the sales calls...and I never make a decision about purchasing something for my organization over the phone, I always request something in writing. If my vendor can't give me something in writing then I don't purchase it.

3. When I receive an invoice from a vendor I carefully review it and verify the information is correct.  Vendors make mistakes too and it is always good to verify the bill. I specifically have had issues with my copy machine vendor over charging me numerous times.  Also, if a vendor over charges me, I dispute the charges and I don't give up until they are resolved. I have found that being persistent and following up with the vendor on a consistent basis works!

4.  I stay in the habit of providing prompt payment to my vendors. This is to keep the vendor happy and when a new vendor asks for a reference, I can easily call upon my current vendors who have received prompt payments from me!