Making purchases on clients behalf?


Hi I wondered if you are buying or booking something on behalf of your client, do you have a company credit card you use on their behalf or do you just have the seller invoice your client?



I have a personal credit card and just invoice the client with enough notice so they pay me before my credit card statement. However, I only do this with clients I trust. New clients are told I don’t make purchases for them so they have to transfer the money in advance if they need me to spend money on their behalf. OR… more satisfactory for both parties, is that I have access to their credit card details and purchase online using that.



A big no-no even if you get paid in advance from the client - here’s why:

Let’s say the client says “Oh can you buy me XYZ, I’ve put the money in your paypal account” so you pay for the stuff and have it shipped to them. Then they raise a dispute with Paypal, who raid your bank account because they more or less always side with the customer, even if you have a Small Claims Decree against them for the amount!!!

Secondly let’s say you’re booking flights and mistakenly press a wrong number or screw up the dates… who’s liable? You. Or let’s say you pay on your credit card, it’s all perfect but the airline requires the actual credit card holder to be present in order to let them on the flight. So on travel all I ever do is supply flight times / details and then forward them the link to book it on. Also: if using their credit card, you need to be aware of your insurance for holding those details and check whether you are covered for this - a lot of professional indemnity policies and data protection laws will outlaw this arrangement.

The only exception I’d make is if it was something under £50 that I was using for a job which wasn’t normal stationery supplies - so say green envelopes or star shaped mailing labels.


Ditto what Caroline said. I’m happy to make stationery or other purchases necessary for the completion of a particular job, having submitted costings to the client and obtained their agreement, in writing, for said purchases to be made. On one occasion I asked for payment of half the cost of the project to be made up front, which paid for the necessary stationery. I haven’t had any problem with client resistance to this.

I have set up an account with a travel agent for a client who required frequent travel bookings. They sent their invoice direct to the client, and eventually the client dealt with them directly. Much easier all round!