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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 01-17-2008, 12:03 PM   #1
slat
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For those of you that cater. Do you have federal and state tax id's? Do you collect sales tax on your sales? I am giving some thought to catering and don't want to make any goverment offices mad at me. Fines cost more than doing it right. Need some insight to keeping it legal.

Moderators if this needs to be moved please do so.
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Unread 01-17-2008, 12:22 PM   #2
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yes to all ofthe above & don't forget to have your health dept. permit plainly visible to customers in your booth or trailer. i include the sales tax in the price of the plate or the total price of the gig so i don't have to make change so much-that burns a lot of time when i could be doing other things. the health dept. will be your biggest worry. i also suggest letting a cpa do all your books-then any mistake is on their shoulders not yours. hope it helps.
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Unread 01-17-2008, 01:39 PM   #3
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Slat,
We have as follows;
Insurance, Health Department Permit (Franklin and St. Louis County), Serv Saf Certificate, Taxpayer ID's, and am an LLC to limit liability.

Cost's about $1200 a year, plus a little more first year to set up the llc and take Serv Safe.
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Unread 01-17-2008, 01:51 PM   #4
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We have to keep track of sales tax two different ways-
When we are in city limits we pay a higher rate. If we cater, it is assumed the contract is was made at our business address (home) which is in the country, thus a lower rate. we also formed an LLC. Do it online yourself. Todd did his own and saved $650 over me having an attorney do the exact same thing.
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Unread 01-17-2008, 02:45 PM   #5
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You can use your ss number instead of having a fed number. I just use a DBA and get extra liability insurance which is cheap and the DBA allows you to play with and keep more of you money.
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Unread 01-17-2008, 03:23 PM   #6
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I had a DBA, but my lawyer / friend talked me out of it. Explained it like this;

Somebody chokes and dies on a chicken bone. Insurance get's sued first. That money runs out, now your up at he plate. If you have a DBA the judge can attach your house, or anything else you have. If you have an llc, all they get is what the business owns.

Ps - My buddy did the llc for a brisket, so his decision was not money motivated.
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Unread 01-17-2008, 03:26 PM   #7
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jbrink01 brisket- priceless!
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Unread 01-18-2008, 09:13 AM   #8
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I have 5mill in additional liability insurance and it's realitively inexpensive. The cost savings of a DBA far out way the insurance cost.They will only go after your house if you have some major equity in it our it's paid off. I guess it's a calculated risk as everything is and for now this works good and allows me to more capital to build my business quicker.
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Unread 01-18-2008, 11:36 AM   #9
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smokinit,
Makes sense to me.

Randy,
Gotta love a lawyer who's hooked on bbq. Hate to think what it would cost though if I ever got into real trouble. I'd be his indentured BBQ guy for years.
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Unread 01-18-2008, 07:42 PM   #10
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I am sure the answer to this question varies by jurisdiction and food service level, but I'll ask it to those that do licensed catering.

Do you typically have the facilities required by the health department (just for example, 3 bay sink and hand sink) at your catering location (in a trailer for example), or do you use a base of operations (certified kitchen). If you use a base, is it your kitchen, certified, or do you use a commissary?
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Unread 01-18-2008, 09:13 PM   #11
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My county inspector has never mentioned a commisary. I know some counties require it. When I cater it is almost always in a hall or community center. If you cook on site for a private party they don't have jurisdiction. You are still liable though. What's amazing to me is none of these places have a triple sink. I hope to have a commisary soon so I don't have to haul so much stuff to the venue.
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Unread 01-18-2008, 11:42 PM   #12
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It really depends on where you are at. A 25 minute with your health department will straighten everything out. For example, in my county - a table with 3 basins filled with water qualifies for the sink. THe challenge really is the storage. Any meat stored post cooking pre-serving has to be stored at 145 degrees.

Tax-wise - Take out food here is not taxable. So it varies.

I would say first and foremost - find insurance. Can't say it enough.
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Unread 01-19-2008, 08:14 AM   #13
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I could of started out with the primitive setup but being in business for many years it has tought me to have the proper equipment to do the job right and your business grows functions as it should. So I waited until I could get my catering/vending truck built to get it started and I am glad I did it. I know not everyone can afford something like this write off the batt but get as much equipment as you can to make your job easier and your business sucessful.
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Unread 01-19-2008, 09:50 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PigBoy View Post
My county inspector has never mentioned a commisary. I know some counties require it. When I cater it is almost always in a hall or community center. If you cook on site for a private party they don't have jurisdiction. You are still liable though. What's amazing to me is none of these places have a triple sink. I hope to have a commisary soon so I don't have to haul so much stuff to the venue.
PB, are you saying that in your jurisdiction, you don't need a catering license, etc, because you are not vending to the public? (The point about insurance is well understood and can not be stated enough)
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