format_list_bulleted Topic Overview

Purchase Services

There are multiple, authorized methods of buying and paying for goods and services in support of the university's goals and mission. This page features common types of services, any special considerations and the recommended purchasing method. The Categories of Purchases page covers a broader view of types of purchases, including information about subawards, business and travel expenses, employee gifts, gift cards and leases. Some purchases require additional approvers or supporting documentation to support the university’s ability to meet compliance requirements. 

The Purchasing and Payment Methods page provides an overview of the various purchasing processes and resources to support using them. To drill down by expenditure type, visit the Buy & Pay Guide, which contains commonly-purchased goods and services, best purchasing methods and related expenditure types organized from A to Z. 

Generally, a contract is required when a department would like to hire a non-Stanford, outside company or individual to perform a service for Stanford. While the Stanford purchase order can protect the university from some risks there are times when additional risks should be addressed by issuing a contract. For both of these processes, refer to the Topic Overview: Selecting a Supplier for information about obtaining competitive quotes from suppliers.

When departments engage an individual for services, Stanford must ensure the person meets the university’s requirements for an independent contractor (also known as a consultant in this page). 

Definition of a Consultant

A consultant is exceptionally qualified, by education or experience in a particular field, to render services or give advice that is unavailable from an employee of the university. Consultants typically have more than one client. The university does not control where and how the work is performed but only receives a final deliverable. By contrast, the work and schedule of an employee (including a casual or temporary employee) is directed by a Stanford manager and Stanford supplies the employee  with tools or supplies (such as a computer or laptop). The determination of whether a worker is classified as an employee or as an independent contractor (consultant) drives whether employment taxes are withheld and paid by the university and eligibility for benefits including vacation, etc. Refer to IRS guidance at Employee versus Independent Contractor Status for more information. 

Independent contractors or consulting firms should be procured through the Purchase Order Process. if the supplier is an independent contractor, a signed Independent Contractor Checklist (IC Checklist) must be attached when submitting the requisition. Please note that if the consultant will use Stanford data, there are additional considerations.

University HR manages the university temporary staffing and contingent labor program, CardinalTemps, which is accessed through one of the tiles in iProcurement. CardinalTemps mitigates risks associated with hiring temporary workers by ensuring consistent background checks, appropriate classification of workers, proper insurance for workers and enforcement of Living Wage policies

While not considered direct compensation for a service, an honorarium is typically a one-time gratuitous payment made as a gesture of goodwill and in appreciation to speakers or participants in special Stanford events (e.g., symposia, lecture series or professional conventions). An honorarium is provided to help cover costs for volunteers or speakers. See Paying Honoraria for more guidance. If the fee is required by the individual or is negotiated, payment is no longer considered an honorarium, but rather a fee for service. This fee is processed as a service requisition through iProcurement.

Web development services should be procured through a Standard Non-Catalog Requisition. For an overview, refer to the Purchase Order Process for guidance about vendor selection and the overall process. Refer to Independent Contractors/Consultants on this page for additional considerations.

Web-applications are required to meet Stanford’s Accessibility of Electronic Content Policy. Suppliers providing such products through direct purchase should provide documentation as to how the product conforms with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, Level A and Level AA standard. Such documentation may include a VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template), Accessibility Conformance Report, accessibility documentation, or accessibility development workflow adopted by the supplier. To request assistance from a representative of the Office of Digital Accessibility, please submit a support request.

Stanford has discounted pricing on Shipping via FedEx Online at Stanford. When shipping internationally export control regulations may apply. Please refer to the Dean of Research’s Export License Review and Certification Reference Guide for more information.

Import Services

When an international shipment is sent to Stanford, customs forms and fees as well as freight forwarding services will need to be provided by a customs broker. JAS, the designated customs broker for the university, will need to be paid directly for any of their services, plus duties or taxes. Schools or units should send a copy of the purchase order for the product that required clearance into the country to JAS to ensure prompt delivery and invoice processing for any import services. Refer to How To: Create a Standard Non-Catalog Requisition for more details on how to send the purchase order to JAS.

Contact Information for JAS (formerly TIGERS):
PHONE 650-581-7230

If customs information was not included on the original purchase order, schools or units will need to pay the invoice from JAS by: 

  • Providing JAS with the original PO number for the product that required clearance into the country; or
  • Creating a non-catalog purchase requisition with JAS as the supplier for the import services; or
  • Using a Purchasing Card (PCard), as long as the purchase of the import services complies with PCard policy.

In cases where the school or unit receives free or donated international shipments, they will also need to pay the invoice from JAS either with PCard or by creating a non-catalog purchase requisition to JAS. 

Please refer to the Moving Services page for information about relocation to or from Stanford. On-campus office or lab moves should be coordinated with the appropriate facility manager. Office moves may also be accomplished through LBRE's Event Services

Stanford arranges for many events both on- and off-site. Some on-campus event space is controlled by Schools or Departments which may charge for use via an iJournal. 

The Office of Special Events & Protocol (OSEP) provides event policy guidance and information on many on-campus venues and services to assist with event planning. For on-campus events, many services can be arranged through LBRE's Event Services. The Faculty Club is another on-campus location for events. Residential & Dining Enterprises provides catering and event spaces. 

Stanford Transportation Services can facilitate event parking, or the rental of Marguerite shuttles or charter services for events. The Student Affairs party planning guide includes the student alcohol policy and OSEP provides information on alcohol service and licensing requirements. Regardless of venue, the business meal maximum limits apply to Stanford events. See more information in Administrative Guide Memo 8.2.1: University Events.

Off-campus event space, such as hotel conference facilities, requires a contract. In some cases, venue deposits are required and negotiated by Procurement. If required, PCards can be used for deposits for event venues; however, the remainder of the contract must be paid on a purchase order. Online event registration and management services are available through Certain or Eventbrite

A master agreement for lab coats (rental or cleaning) has been established. They can be ordered through Cintas via a Non-Catalog Requisition.

Last Updated: Nov 30, 2022