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Working with Independent Contractors/Outside Vendors

When working with an external vendor to secure goods or services, please read the following information and be sure your vendor understands the campus processes and timelines. Paying external vendors using University funds is a lengthy and multi-step process that can be frustrating for a vendor who is not sure what to expect.

It is the responsibility of the affilated faculty member so ensure they are communicating often and in advance with both the vendor and department staff to ensure this is a smooth process.

Finding a Vendor

Most faculty will connect with vendors recommended through their personal or professional relationships relating to the specialized goods or services that need to be provided. If you need a vendor and are not sure where to begin, consider looking at the website for the Small Business Development Office. This office works with diverse small businesses to become established as approved UCSD vendors. Working with these pre-vetted companies can reduce the administrative steps needed to pay the supplier. This is also a great resource for you to direct your respected suppliers to so that they can secure more buisness across UCSD.

International vendors take much longer to pay and can have additional policies and restrictions. Domestic vendors should be used as much as possible. To fully understand what is required, please review the UCSD procedures for hiring Independent Contactors/Consultants are here.

Do not hire previous or current UC students/employees without receiving campus approval first. This is seen as a conflict of interest often and it may not be possible to pay them or to reimburse you.

Before Working With a Vendor

Before any work has been performed or services provided, follow these steps:

1. Complete the Reimbursement and Payment Request form for the Department of Visual Arts. Select the 'No work has been completed and/or purchases made' and then  the 'Have a person/company set up so that I can later have them paid for their Goods/Services ' reason code. Provide information regarding the vendor you plan to work with. This submission needs to include:
  • expense total
  • funding source (project number and name). This can be found via the monthly Faculty Funds Report that you receive the 15th of each month
  • vendors full name and/or company name
  • email address 
  • Project Scope (detailed explanation of the work to be completed, milestones, project outcomes, etc)
  • Describe how you identified this vendor to perform the work (this is not what you expect them to do but how you selected them)
  • Where will the work be performed
  • Any Supplies or Equipment from UCSD needed to perform this work
  • Date(s) the work will be performed
  • Workers citizenship
  • any conflicts of interest
  • an attached quote from the vendor for their services. For vendors who do not have experience providing a quote for their goods/services, they can look at a sample quote for reference.

2. Department staff will prompt the vendor to register themselves via PaymentWorks.  

3. If the quote is agreeable to the faculty member and aligns with campus policies, department staff will create a purchase order.

4. Department staff will provide the purchase order identifying number to the vendor. This must be included on the final invoice. 

5. Once work is concluded, see the 'Paying a Vendor' information below.

Paying a Vendor

Once work has been completed or services performed, follow the steps below.

  1. Ask the vendor for a final invoice. This invoice must include the purchase order number provided to them by staff. Without this, the payment will be delayed. For vendors who do not have experience providing a final invoice for their goods/services, they can look at a sample invoice for reference.
  2. Provide the final invoice to staff via the Reimbursement and Payment Request form.
  3. Staff will submit the invoice to campus for payment. If there are questions or concerns, the vendor will need to respond before campus will more forward with issuing a payment. 
Campus will not initiate any payments until work has been completed. If this is a long-term project that needs to have funding provided along the way, contact fiscal staff at to discuss your needs.

Types of Payments

Virtual Card: this is the preferred method of campus for paying vendors but requires additional steps on the part of the vendor. While this allows faster payment, there are more actions needed of the vendor and this cannot be initiated by staff. Most vendors working with our department do not choose this option for that reason. For those who would prefer an electronic payment, they can follow the instructions here to get set up in Payment Plus.

Check: most vendors working with our department will choose this option. Once an invoice has been submitted, staff will initiate the payment with no additional steps by the vendor needed. A check will be mailed to the address listed on their invoice. Payment is received within 30 days. 

Wire Transfer: for vendors with foreign bank accounts. This is a slower payment method and requires many additional steps and forms depending on the payment, bank and campus requirements. This often requires a lot of back and forth messaging with staff so these vendors should be aware of that.