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What are the start-up costs of a personal chef business?



A common reason some never start their personal chef business is that they are under the impression that a business loan needs to be taken out to begin. This couldn't be further from the truth. 


You can really start up your personal chef business for about $500. 


You could most definitely save $500 for your start-up income and not rely on a loan which would charge interest, ultimately paying back $600-$700. Small business loans are intended for those needing $5,000 to $50,000 and have collateral such as a home to back up the loan. These loans are not meant for service businesses which have very little overhead and can easily start tomorrow for as little as $500. 


The first two things you must have before going to a client’s home for your first day as a personal chef 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, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $25 to $500 for the initial license then renew at $25 to $100 a year. 


There is 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 went to the Business License Office with my two pieces of documentation above to finally obtain the personal chef business license. They provided it on the spot in exchange for $100.  


To figure out how to go about performing all the steps to obtaining a business license, you will visit your local county's website and follow the procedures as outlined. As an alternative, you could call your city or county Clerk's Office and ask what steps need to be taken to obtain a service business license or tax certificate (as it's called in some areas). 


Truly, a business license or tax certificate is really just sharing with the government that you're in business and ready to pay taxes to support the American system. 


Once your licensing is in place, 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. I haven't used this company and am not endorsing them but have heard that FLIP insurance specializes in the personal chef business. 


Another part of insurance you may want to think about is your home office space. As well, 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. 


Best Wishes & Much Success to You, Virginia Stockwell 

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