You can really startup your personal chef business for about $500.
The first two things you must have before going to a client’s home are a business license and liability insurance.
For a personal chef business license, the fees are different in each city, county or state so I can’t provide an exact number of the cost. In my county, I paid about $150 to start then renew at $100 a year.
There is also no set procedure to obtain a business license. For example, in my area I had to apply for a home office meaning I had to agree that I’m not going to have clients or employees visit my home (which would take up neighborhood parking) and I’m not going to put a sign in the yard saying, “hi, I’m in business!” The home office permit was about $15, which was really a zoning permit.
Next, I left Zoning and went to a different government office, the Clerk's office, to obtain a fictitious name permit for about $15 more. I provided them with the name of my new business and they checked it against all the other businesses in the state to see if there are any conflicts. If another registered company has the exact same name, they would deny my business name request.
From there, I had to go to the Business License Office, yet another office, with my two pieces of documentation to finally obtain the personal chef business license. They provided it on the spot in exchange for $100 and also renews at $100 a year.
To figure out how to go about doing all these steps, I visited my local county's website and followed the steps they suggested as well as asking questions when arriving at the government office.
After you have your business license, you'll set up liability insurance. Liability insurance is not a legal requirement, but sure would be helpful to have in case of emergency.
Imagine the possibilities of what COULD happen while working in a client's home. You could burn down their house. You would not only burn down the house, but you would have to pay for the house, the items in it, and you could also injure someone, each of those costing hundreds of thousands of dollars if you didn't have insurance. You could potentially chop off your fingers and be out of work for a long period of time. Liability insurance may cover this as well.
The first place to ask for an insurance quote could be your current car or home insurance provider. You'll probably pay anywhere from $20 to $50 a month for business liability insurance depending on your coverage.
Many insurance companies don’t have a personal chef policy, but instead offer catering or restaurant policies, which is NOT what you need. You really should have a one-on-one discussion with your provider to ensure all your needs are covered. When the paperwork arrives, you'll also want to review them carefully. This should all be completed before ever entering a client's home.
Another part of insurance you may want to think about is your home office space. Also, if you store any kitchen equipment or serving platters, you'll want use your business insurance to cover that part of your home or discuss it in conjunction with your homeowner's or renter's policy. If something happened to your home and you lost your computer and cooking equipment, these would be covered under your insurance policy.
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.