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Writing an Invoice for Catering Services

Last editedMar 20222 min read

If you’ve just started a catering business, then the question of how you’ll be paid for your services is probably on your mind. Due to the nature of catering, invoices are a favoured way of receiving payments. In this guide, we’ll take you through how to go about creating an invoice for catering services.

Advantages of catering invoices

There are benefits to collecting payment via invoices in the catering industry. Some of these are listed below.

  • Formal prompting and reminder to clients to pay.

  • Provides clear information to clients on when and how to pay.

  • Allows for organised, thorough and official records for HMRC.

  • Can legitimise your brand identity.

Catering invoice software

Today, you can use invoice software to write your invoices. Solutions such as Xero or Quickbooks are great for this.

Invoicing software makes it a lot easier to accept online payments, send out automated invoices and set payment reminders.

How to write an invoice for catering services

Before you can begin creating invoices, you need to set your prices. In order to do this, you must first take into account the costs of the following:

  • Ingredients required

  • Equipment used

  • Rent/location costs

  • Employee wages

  • Transport and delivery

  • Advertisement and marketing

List all the costs that the above will entail and then decide on how much profit you wish to make after they are deducted.

Once your prices are set, you should display them clearly on your website or any flyers you distribute. Generally speaking, clients appreciate full transparency with regards to the costs of catering services.

For insurance, you may also ask for a deposit before carrying out your services. This can help improve cash flow, provide capital for the purchasing of ingredients and equipment, and prevent financial problems as a result of cancellations.

Creating your catering invoice

You can find catering invoice templates online and on various invoicing software solutions. However, you can also build a free catering invoice yourself using MS Word, Excel or Google Docs.

In your invoice, you will need to include the following information:

  • Your name, business name and contact details in the top right.

  • Relevant tax information.

  • A list and description of services and good provided and corresponding prices.

  • Any equipment or goods you require reimbursement for.

  • Your client’s name and contact details.

  • A total of services provided, hours worked and amount owed.

  • Information on the method of payment you accept.

  • A payment due date.

  • Optional elements to include:

  • Company logo or brand colours.

  • A unique invoice reference for your records.

  • A late payment fee.

How to ensure catering invoices are paid on time

Late payments can wreak havoc on your company’s cash flow. However, you can reduce the chances of being paid late by ensuring invoices are complete and correct with a due date clearly stated before they’re sent to the client. It also helps to have a contract or engagement letter set up with the client prior to entering into business with them. Additionally, including a late payment fee on your invoice can help incentivise timely payments. To determine how much this fee should be, consult with the 1998 Late Payments of Commercial Debts Act.

Invoice payments with GoCardless

With GoCardless, our pull-based Direct Debit solution, you can collect and reconcile invoice payments automatically. GoCardless offers a number of benefits for businesses in the catering industry, including: 

  • Advance knowledge of incoming payments, as well as visibility into the status of payments via the customer dashboard. 

  • Integration with over 200 partners, including Xero and QuickBooks. 

  • Quick and easy set-up process, with no set-up fees to deal with. Your client simply needs to enter their payment details securely online, which will then authorise you to collect payments by Direct Debit. You can add the customisable payment page directly to your website or send them a secure link. Next, you just need to schedule the payments and get paid automatically.

  • Merchants can ensure they get paid up to twice as fast by accepting GoCardless payments on their invoices. 

In short, GoCardless places businesses in full control of incoming payments, helping to eliminate late payments, cut down on awkward conversations with customers, and improve cash flow. It’s one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to collect invoices. 

We can help

GoCardless helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of admin your team needs to deal with when chasing invoices. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

Over 70,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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