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Bussines Froms

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Bussines Froms
on Sep 7, 2006 at 3:28:38 am

Can anybody knows where find bussines forms for graphics artists, videographer, ect. I start my own bussines and the clients needs a invoice for each work.

Thanks in advance

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Nick Griffin
Re: Bussines Froms
on Sep 8, 2006 at 9:02:58 pm

Invoices aren't anything special. The simplest way to create one is to simply take a piece of letterhead -- for for that matter any piece of paper with your name, address, etc. printed on it and put the word "Invoice" on it. Then you should briefly describe the service(s)/ product(s) followed by a cost. It's up to you how much detail you want to provide.

For example:

Production of 6 Minute 30 second Sales Video, including 1/2 day location shooting, tape stock, opening title sequence animation, 22 seconds of product animation & editing ... $7,500

You could also break out each of these items and list an individual costs. (I don't recommend that because it just opens a Pandora's box of dumb questions like "What if we bring our own tapes? Will that save us this money?")

An invoice should also have a date and terms: "30 days net."

When you get down to it, an invoice is really a matter of faith. The recipient has to believe that you are accurately describing a service or product you provided for an amount you both had agreed upon. This is partially why many companies create another form labeled "Estimate" that the client agrees to in advance. The estimate can be essentially identical to the one you send at the end of the process only at the end it's labeled "Invoice."

Hope this helps.

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Tim Wilson
Re: Bussines Froms
on Sep 9, 2006 at 1:40:39 am

I've received 2 handwritten invoices in the past couple of weeks. I read them, saw that they accurately reflected the services performed, and I paid them without blinking.

If you'd rather have more professional looking forms to print from your computer, there are 2 basic approaches.

1) Create a template in a word processing application, the professional version of Adobe Acrobat, or similar desktop software. Simply fill in the blanks for each new invoice. You'll almost always have to do the math yourself.

2) Get dedicated bookkeeping software like QuickBooks -- very inexpensive for a small business, but worth its weight in gold. You can also track expenses, so you have some idea of whether you're making a profit, and with one click can output statements and other tax documents. It does all the math for you, even for invoices.

Needless to say, I'm a big fan of QuickBooks. We can discuss the relative merits of software for 3D, animation, video editing, music composition and the rest...but The COW is not just for creative people -- it's for creative PROFESSIONALS.

If you want to actually earn a living with this stuff, this will be by far your best software investment. I genuinely can't imagine running a business without QuickBooks.

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Steve Wargo
Re: Bussines Froms
on Sep 9, 2006 at 7:48:07 am

Great advice. But actually, Quicken Home & Business is cheaper to buy ($80) and there's your book keeping system. Here's the link to the Quicken website. Look for deals from the on-line software companies or discount stores.

Another thing to think about buying would be a dictionary or some spell checking software. Everyone in bussines should have these, especially if they're doing froms.

Lastly, on the advise given previous to my post, scratch where it says "Net 30 days" and make it "Payable upon receipt". There is no reason in the world why you should become a bank and loan people money. When you start working with corporations where they have a system of accounting that has no provision for paying cash, then you'll need to consider giving them time to pay. As a matter of fact, if it's a big job, ask for 1/2 up front.

Last year, I had Albertson's Grocery for a client and they wanted to be able to pay in 60 - 75 days. But, when I need a loaf of bread to put on the dinner table, it's cash, right now. Nobody needs 60 days to pay.

Good luck,

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona

It's a dry heat!

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Nick Griffin
Re: Bussines Froms
on Sep 9, 2006 at 11:21:03 am

Steve Wargo: "...they wanted to be able to pay in 60 - 75 days."

The real question, Steve, is did you take the gig? I don't know if the concept was invented in the 80s or 90s, but somewhere along the line financial brains in many big corporations figured out that they could boost the performance of their own companies simply by holding onto their payables longer. This practice is rampant in some sectors.

Very large retail, like the one you mentioned pushes this on smaller vendors because there's so little push back. What're you gonna do? Walk away from the business? My solution, when I can identify this in advance, is to build in a small amount of money which well exceeds the cost of my having borrowed the money for 60 - 90 days.

And while I do use Quickbooks Pro to run the business, the invoicing and statements which go out are created in Filemaker. It gives a LOT more flexibility in the look and format and, afterall, invoicing can sometimes be one of the month's most creative tasks. ;)

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Tim Wilson
Re: Bussines Froms
on Sep 9, 2006 at 1:47:25 pm

Sure, I didn't mean to say QuickBooks/Quicken is the only way. There are others. But keeping track of all this is too much to do alone. ANY software is better than none.

I always went by the half up front, half on completion rule on the first job for a client, then got more flexible. By letting them pay later, I was free to say that cashflow is a little tight, can I get this next gig paid up front. Didn't happen more than once or twice, but being a little flexible can get you some in return.

Not with a major corporate client though. :-) Set your terms up front, and stick to them.

And note that you have to be very clear about defining what "completion" is. When you turn it in? After you've made all requested changes?

The most fun I had with this was doing business with the federal gubmint. I did a TV show paid for with tax dollars for a couple of years (140-ish episodes), and the government has their own way of doing things. No funds paid until completion. Payment usually 90 days after, distributed from the US Treasury in Lawrence, KS. (In other words, can't ask the client to hurry up.) The most fun was when Newt decided to shut the government down for a month...which meant I didn't get paid for more like 150 days. The good news is that once you get in the queue, you WILL get paid...eventually.

Oh, and they're free to redistribute your work, since it's now in the public domain. :-) A story for another thread....

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Re: Bussines Froms
on Sep 10, 2006 at 9:52:01 pm

[Steve Wargo] "cratch where it says "Net 30 days" and make it "Payable upon receipt""

Where I live in B.C., Canada it is law that contracts have up to 90 days to pay. What I learned from my bookkeeper is you offer a 3% discount if payment is recieved withinin 15 days of the date on the invoice, even the government wants to take advantage of this 3% savings! You are allowed to charge the going rate of interest after 30 days at 30 day intervals. Most of my clients pay within the 1st. 30 days.

Knowing bookkeepers like I do, his 3% discounted rate is actually his real rate, the hourly rate he must charge and he's actually inflated his fees to allow him to offer the supposed 3% discount. Although we all know it we still must pay within 15 days to avoid paying another 3% using this method.

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