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(Oct 4, 2020) How long can I work under the table before making my personal chef business legal?

You're killing me here. You should never work under the table when doing something as risky as cooking food that others are eating.

You MUST protect yourself with liability insurance. What if you're cooking at the client's home and burn the house down? What if your client has a lethal allergy and you forgot to read the label on the mustard container to see if it contained the allergen? What if you cut off your fingers, don't have medical insurance, and can't work for a year?

You MUST be a true professional and run your business while holding a business license or tax certificate. A business caught operating without a license could be forced to cease operations. In some instances, a business might have to wait out a mandatory probationary period or worse, a city can refuse to grant a license to the business.

When running a service business, your reputation is everything. Clients are less likely to refer an unprofessional business.

You can't post about your illegal business on social media, because trust me, other personal chefs are watching. No matter how large your community, it becomes even smaller when you're running an illegal business. 

To legally operate, you will need to obtain a business license (also called a tax certificate in some areas) through your city/county Clerk's office. Some areas also require a health safety certification.


It's wonderful to see perspectives on how others run their personal chef business. If you'd like to share your personal chef journey, I'd be honored to have you as the next guest post. [email protected]

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