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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Unread 10-09-2013, 06:41 PM   #1
Sparkman
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Default Catering Invoice Question

OK, this BBQ thing is really taking off and it looks like catering is the direction I've decided to go. (Actually with all the phone calls it was decided for me). Anyway, I've downloaded a nice invoice template but I was wondering how some of you pros filled out your invoice in the "description" section. Do you itemize each item you cook or prepare individually or just put a total at the bottom. For Example, mine looks like this at the moment:

Trim, prepare, cook, & deliver..........

then I put underneath whatever meats and/or sides I have prepared. Then just total it at the bottom.

Any suggestions? This seems kinda lame to me.

Thanks!
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Unread 10-09-2013, 07:46 PM   #2
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Where did you get your template, and if you don't mind me asking what kind of advertising are you doing?
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Unread 10-09-2013, 07:53 PM   #3
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I got my template off Microsoft office online.

I'm not really doing any advertising. I cooked a couple of local events to get my name out there. I live in a small town and a lot of people know me and my family. Once folks tasted my Q word just got around and I started getting calls to cater parties and other events.
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Unread 10-09-2013, 08:07 PM   #4
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I don't do catering, but I am self employed in a service industry.

Your invoice can be pretty much whatever you want it to be. Mine is very simple. As long as my invoice is the same as what the customer expected it to be, my customers are fine. If you are thinking that you need to itemize the chit out of your invoice, to justify your price, you are more than likely over-thinking it. The important thing is to tell customers, up-front, what the gig will cost, and tell them, up-front, that if they ask for more than what was agreed upon, it will cost x-amount more.

From my experience being self employed most of my adult life, you only need to explain your invoice if it is more than the customer expected.

If you give customer an estimate, with clear boundaries, then you don't need to justify anything on your invoice.

Itemizing a gig is more important when you do your income tax return, than when you write an invoice, IMO.

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Unread 10-09-2013, 08:13 PM   #5
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I just list mine under Entree, Sides, Drinks, Rentals
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Unread 10-09-2013, 09:00 PM   #6
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We don't use a standard "one size fits all" invoice format. We tailor our invoices to the type of event we are billing for.

For catering our invoices are itemized and reflect the contract the customers signed up front. The contract lists the menu items, quantities, amenities (decorations, etc) and prices of what they ordered. The invoice is just a "bill" for the contract amount with the same data listed out and totaled up. Itemizing may be a bit of a hassle but it protects both you and the customer. Detailing the bill avoids assumptions on both sides.

I used MS Word to create a master document with Data Form Fields and have it linked to an MS Spreadsheet. The spreadsheet has the contracted items and they auto-fill into the word document to create the "invoice". A new document is "created" from the master for each event and archived, once payment is received, for future reference.

Side Note: We require 50% of the total contract paid upon signing of the contract. The contract states that this is non-refundable after one week before the event. If they call prior to one week before the event, to cancel, the contract states that 25% is non-refundable as a deposit. The reason for these non-refundable amounts is that we need to recoup the Cost of Goods and labor we will have expended in preparing for the event as well as possible loss of sales for that date (i.e. we may have turned away other sales for the same date). This is pretty standard in any service industry, especially the catering industry.

External Links for Invoice Templates & Apps:
www.invoicetemplates.org
www.sampletemplates.org
www.fileguru.com
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Unread 10-09-2013, 10:48 PM   #7
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I used Intuit QuickBooks when I did catering work.

When creating a detailed proposal for the customer, it would turn the proposal into an invoice which could be edited if needed. Deposits would go in and a statement of balance due would be created, all while keeping detailed books and tax collection records.

It also had an inventory module if you elect to use it. It calculates cost vs sales and maintains a record of profit by each job and in cumulative numbers.
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Unread 10-10-2013, 01:41 AM   #8
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quick books....if you were to itemize every detail, they will pick it apart, so I list items included, then price per plate / or package price

unless the fire company orders 400 chicken halves, so the line will call that out. You can set up quick books with out inventory and it will still itemize for you..
yearend totals, providing you suplied the info for it..
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Unread 10-10-2013, 01:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IamMadMan View Post
I used Intuit QuickBooks when I did catering work.

When creating a detailed proposal for the customer, it would turn the proposal into an invoice which could be edited if needed. Deposits would go in and a statement of balance due would be created, all while keeping detailed books and tax collection records.

It also had an inventory module if you elect to use it. It calculates cost vs sales and maintains a record of profit by each job and in cumulative numbers.
MadMan,

Does the inventory module of QuickBooks require separate licensing or a subscription? I know their Payroll module does. Just curious as it may be a budget issue for some small operations. The reason I am asking is that we are considering using QuickBooks. So far we just use Quicken to track our cash flow.
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Unread 10-11-2013, 05:55 AM   #10
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quick books inventory does not need a seperate deal, however the tracking is like the Peach Tree software and you MUST keep up the inventory just to do a simple invoice, so I do not use inventory control, however it will still track how many items of each are sold and it allows you to do a quick insert of product and will track several ways in reports.
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Unread 10-11-2013, 06:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
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MadMan,

Does the inventory module of QuickBooks require separate licensing or a subscription? I know their Payroll module does. Just curious as it may be a budget issue for some small operations. The reason I am asking is that we are considering using QuickBooks. So far we just use Quicken to track our cash flow.
No it is not a separate license, it is part of the program you can choose to use or not to use. You can set it up as item specific or as a general items.

It helps with estimating the purchase of items because it will list how many were sold / used. It is very similar to Quicken in operation. I always tell my clients the first time they use the program create a fake company and practice with it for a week or two until you are comfortable with the basic use. Then delete the fake company and create the real one.

It helps to track time, inventory, loss, costs, profit / loss, and cost of goods sold. It will also create balance sheets (assets vs liabilities) and it manages your checking account, credit cards, ect just like Quicken.

It's also great at tax time as it prints out income groups and expenditure groups.
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Unread 10-11-2013, 11:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IamMadMan View Post
No it is not a separate license, it is part of the program you can choose to use or not to use. You can set it up as item specific or as a general items.

It helps with estimating the purchase of items because it will list how many were sold / used. It is very similar to Quicken in operation. I always tell my clients the first time they use the program create a fake company and practice with it for a week or two until you are comfortable with the basic use. Then delete the fake company and create the real one.

It helps to track time, inventory, loss, costs, profit / loss, and cost of goods sold. It will also create balance sheets (assets vs liabilities) and it manages your checking account, credit cards, ect just like Quicken.

It's also great at tax time as it prints out income groups and expenditure groups.

I am glad to hear it. I obtained a copy last month and I have already created a "fake" company and have been messing around with it a bit but hadn't gotten into any of the other modules. After a cursory review I would say that it is definitely worth looking into for any small business. It appears to be a pretty robust app. Thanks again!!
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Unread 10-12-2013, 07:48 PM   #13
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It's only as difficult as you make it.

But you do need a basic understanding of bookkeeping to understand how it all fits together. When used properly it makes child's play of quarterly sales tax returns.
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Unread 10-13-2013, 01:56 PM   #14
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It is well worth the time to pay someone to setup your business in QuickBooks, if you want to get everything up and running right away.

For me, the contract is the big deal, that is where I would lay out EVERYTHING in clear terms. This is where the work goes. My contracts for my professional world take me three days to write, and specify everything I will deliver, including all services. If I were to get back into catering, I would do the same, right down to how many guests I will be serving, how many forks I am going to provide, even how many napkins I intend to provide. The more detailed the contract is, the easier it is to negotiate prices, get paid, make sure you are covered if things go wrong etc...remember...

"oh, I know we said 24 guests, but, my cousin brought her in-laws and we are now 32 guests, you said you would cover the party..."
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Unread 11-08-2013, 09:50 AM   #15
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Thought I'd throw this in- I'm using invoicedapp.com for all my invoices. It's $5/month and is a great service. It's in "beta" stage now, so they are still adding features, but it works great. You can save all your invoices & customers, add payment terms, and it will send off reminder emails to the customer once their due date is approaching. It integrates with a CC processing system so they can pay online, too. Definitely worth checking out.
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