What is a Job Order?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A job order is a written document which contains orders to perform a job. Job orders are also known as work orders, work tickets, or job tickets. They are usually used in settings where people complete tasks in the form of projects, whether these projects are repairs, routine maintenance, or creation of new items. Job orders may be internal and used for organization within a company, or external and used by customers.

Job orders may be issued for routine maintenance work.
Job orders may be issued for routine maintenance work.

The details provided on a job order vary, depending on the company and the type of work. In a simple example of a job order, the maintenance staff of an office building might receive a job order from one of the offices in the building requesting that the lightbulbs be replaced. The job order would indicate where bulbs require replacement and the time frame in which the order should be completed.

It is not uncommon for job orders to be processed through a central office or scheduler to streamline the workday. In the example above, for example, instead of having someone in the office take the job order directly to a maintenance worker, someone in the office would contract the maintenance department to alert them to the need to replace some lightbulbs. The person in charge of scheduling would take down the information, generate an order, decide when the work should be done, and then pass the job order to a maintenance staff member. When the work is complete, the order would be signed and filed.

Situations in which a customer interacts directly with a job order are common when people work with contractors and mechanics. The job order usually spells out what kind of work is being done, how much it should cost, what kinds of materials will be used, and how long it should take. The customer signs the document to indicate understanding of the facts. This is designed to reduce liability, as the customer knows exactly what is going to happen and when, and the person providing the service knows to call if a situation arises in which the nature of the work needs to change.

Job orders provide clarity by clearing indicating what needs to be done, who is expected to do it, and providing other information about the details of the job. They can also be used for recordkeeping. For instance, people can check old job orders to see when a routine maintenance task was last performed, or they can use information from a prior order to replicate a job. At a printshop, for example, a job order provides information about the color of ink used which will allow another person to make a second print run which will be close to identical to the first.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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