What Are Indent Sales?

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If you decide to try and earn money with a part-time small business or become an entrepreneur with a full-time job running your own company, you will enter into a variety of sales transactions. One of these transaction types might be an indent sale.


Indent sales occur when you use an agent or representative to place an order on your behalf and you attach specific conditions to the sale. Understanding indent meaning in business will help you avoid legal problems that might arise if you don't get the transaction correct.

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The Agent or Rep

An indent sale starts with the person making an order using an agent or representative to place an order with a supplier. As an example, if you want to sell purple widgets on Amazon, you might need to find a supplier who makes purple widgets, or who stocks them (purchasing them from a manufacturer).


If you can't or don't want to search for suppliers, negotiate prices and set up accounts, orders and payments, you can hire an indent agent, meaning a rep who specializes in this type of transaction. In some cases, you will need to give your agent something in writing that confirms with suppliers that this agent has the legal authority to enter into contracts on your behalf and that you are responsible for the transaction, not your rep.

In other cases, your agent might be your regular supplier. For example, your office store orders office supplies from XYZ Wholesale Supplies. You want a certain type of printer paper XYZ doesn't stock. XYZ doesn't want to stock this paper. You authorize XYZ to purchase this paper from ABC Paper Co. on your behalf so you can sell it in your store.


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The Purchase Order

With an indent sale, you create a purchase order. This is a written or digital document that outlines the terms of the purchase, including the item(s), amount, type, cost per unit, total cost, taxes, shipping, payment method, terms and payment date. An indent agent will know how to create a purchase order for a supplier. This will ensure that you have all the terms you want to be included.


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An Indent Sale

An indent sale occurs when a third-party agent places an order – typically with a supplier – on behalf of a client who will be the seller of the ordered item(s). Indent orders often occur during international transactions, with a retailer using an agent to order items from foreign suppliers.

An indent order includes terms of the sale, which might include payment on receipt and inspection of goods, or payment of half upfront and half on approval, or the right to return goods within 30 days for full payment.