Wondering how to handle markup in QuickBooks on small jobs, a reader writes:

I am a contractor that does jobs anywhere from 1k to 500k. Small jobs are often billed at a set labor rate with materials which are marked up 15%. I cannot find any easy way to track materials and add a simple % markup under items. I buy tons of oddball items, and doing set pricing for every item would be impossible. I have been through a couple quickbooks experts, yet no one seems to have any good solutions. They are all either very time consuming or very error prone.

There are a couple of ways QuickBooks offers to handle markup, neither of them useful to this reader:

  1. At the very bottom of Edit > Preferences, under Time & Expenses, QB gives you the opportunity to set a Company Preference for the markup to add to Expenses when creating an Invoice.
    I never recommend that a contractor invoice “Expenses” to a client. If you are doing Job Costing right, QB Expenses are overhead, not Job Costs, and shouldn’t be added to an Invoice.
  2. As you create an Item under Lists > Item List, if you follow my advice all of your Items are two-sided, and you can add a cost and a price to each. The problem for most contractors is that we have too many, as the reader says, “oddball items,” and we don’t put price or cost on our QB Items.

Read on for the answer for those of us who need a third option. { Click to continue… }

I’m back, and my QuickBooks job-costing training videos are done!

by Muriel Murray August 15, 2014 Job Costing with QuickBooks

I’ve finally created my awesome training video about how contractors should use Items in QuickBooks. It will teach you a lot about Items, how to make QuickBooks work for YOUR business, and Job Costing. All these things are related, and for contractors they are at the core of what makes QuickBooks so helpful, but also […]

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Where have I been?

by Muriel Murray August 15, 2013 QuickBooks for Contractors

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted in several months. I have not disappeared off the face of the earth, I promise. I’m working on an awesome training video about how contractors should use Items in QuickBooks. It will teach you a lot about Items, how to make QuickBooks work for YOUR business, and […]

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How do I print my company name and address on the QuickBooks Statement?

by Muriel Murray April 16, 2013 QuickBooks Accounting 101

My company name and address prints on the Invoice but not on the Statement. In QuickBooks, the formats for Statements and Invoices (as well as Credit Memos, Sales Receipts, Estimates, and Sales/Work Orders) are managed under Templates (Lists > Templates).  The templates can also be re-formatted by clicking Customize when you are editing an individual Invoice or […]

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(Why) Should I use account numbers in my QuickBooks company file?

by Muriel Murray April 11, 2013 QuickBooks Accounting 101

QuickBooks, unlike some other accounting software, does not require you to assign numbers to your chart of accounts, and doesn’t add them by default. I have no opinion whether your contracting business should use account numbers in QuickBooks. Your CPA may care, however, so check with her/him. If you decide for whatever reason to assign […]

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QuickBooks Items: Is there a benefit to using Non-inventory Part Items in a construction business?

by Muriel Murray March 26, 2013 Job Costing with QuickBooks

A reader asked this question about using QuickBooks Items in his contracting business, and went on to say: “It is counter-intuitive for me to call materials I purchase then resell a “service.” Would I benefit listing the materials purchased as Non-inventory Parts? Would this categorization help me with use tax tracking?”   I’ll talk about […]

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QuickBooks Items: What does “double-sided” Item mean?

by Muriel Murray March 21, 2013 Job Costing with QuickBooks

You won’t find a reference in QuickBooks Help to “double-sided” or “two-sided” Items, but the terminology is common among QB experts and experienced QB users, especially in construction. In brief, it means that an Item is designed for use in Cost of Goods Sold transactions as well as Income transactions; that is, the Item is […]

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Why should I back up my QuickBooks file?

by Muriel Murray March 19, 2013 QuickBooks for Contractors

Back up your QuickBooks file. This advice may seem obvious, but I mean it in a very specific way: Use the QuickBooks File > Create Backup… menu function to make a backup. On the form that opens, click the Options button, and select Complete verification (you have to be in Single-user Mode to select this […]

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QuickBooks Premier Contractor Edition: Do I really need it for my construction business?

by Muriel Murray March 19, 2013 QuickBooks and Workers Comp

The short answer is No. The QuickBooks Premier Contractor edition includes some reports and forms customized for contractors, and a specialized menu that pulls together in one place several things that contractors might want to do. In theory, you can create any of these reports and forms yourself in QuickBooks Pro. The one function missing […]

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