I know this question sounds weird, but here's the information. I got an email from my apartment.

Dear Valued Residents,

Our vendor will be on-site tomorrow, Tuesday, April 25, 2017 to complete dryer vent cleaning for the entire community between the hours of 8 am to 6 pm.

No access inside your homes will be needed. Our vendor will be completing this service through the exterior vents in each building.

To me, a vendor means a person who sells on the street. But in this email, it seems a vendor means a person who maintains our dryer vent.

Is that correct?

  • 1
    Welcome to EL&U. One of the expectations of our site is that you have attempted some research on your own; for example, looking up vendor in the OALD provides a meaning of a company that sells a particular product. If the building contracts out its dryer vent maintenance to an outside firm, then that firm is indeed a vendor.
    – choster
    Apr 24, 2017 at 21:04
  • @choster A service is not a product. IMHO, if the building contracts out its maintenance to an outside firm, then that firm is a contractor. Apr 24, 2017 at 21:08
  • 1
    @michael.hor257k Contractor in reference to physical plant in the U.S. usually refers to construction and infrastructure engineering; I wouldn't refer to the companies that provide security, housekeeping, window washing, and so on as contractors outside of legal/contractual contexts.
    – choster
    Apr 24, 2017 at 21:12
  • in the world of independent contractors (any freelance work of any kind at all [I know, I am one: editor and translator]), a vendor and a contractor are the same thing. But here, they should have just our service provider or servicing company. Vendor was a bad choice of word here.
    – Lambie
    Apr 27, 2017 at 15:56

2 Answers 2


A vendor can also be a contracted service provider.

From wikipedia:

In a supply chain, a vendor, or a seller, is an enterprise that contributes goods or services. Generally, a supply chain vendor manufactures inventory/stock items and sells them to the next link in the chain. Today, the terms refers to a supplier of any good or service.

  • Thanks! I was confused at first, cause I thought it has some relations with the verb vent.
    – Shuo Peng
    Apr 24, 2017 at 21:11

I don't believe vendor here has anything to do with vent. It is simply a coincidence that the normal word meaning "seller" is so close in sound to "vent" - a part of the equipment they have sold. Vendor simply refers to the firm who has sold the equipment.

However, I wouldn't have written it like that, nor would I expect to see it written like that in Britain. Had I written the announcement I would have said

"The vendor's engineer will be here tomorrow to carry out cleaning of vents..."


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