In the United States, there are about 140,000 different catering businesses.
If you’re interested in starting your own, you’ll definitely have some competition. But where do you even start?
Keep reading to learn how to start a catering business at home!
Find a Niche
The first step is finding a niche market where there isn’t a lot of competition. Make sure it’s something you’re passionate about so that you can feel motivated to keep working on your business.
When considering a niche, think about how much capacity you have for events. Can you only cater to small parties? Or do you want to do larger ones? Then try and think of creative ideas for a menu that you can offer to your clients.
If you still aren’t sure, do a little bit of research to see what your competitors are offering. This should give you a good idea of what the market niche wants and what the pricing is in that range.
Choose a Business Name
Once you’ve figured out what niche you want to be in, it’ll be easier to come up with a business name. You might want to choose a name that is available in the state you’re opening. You can always check the available names online through the secretary of your state.
You’ll also have to figure out what business entity your business will fall under. For example, if you’re going to be the sole proprietor, then your business will be unincorporated and you will be the only owner.
However, if you want to have a partner, then you’ll be a general partnership or a limited partnership.
Get Proper Insurance and Licenses
Next, you’ll have to get insurance and licenses to be able to legally operate in your state. The first thing you need is food liability insurance.
This will protect you in the unfortunate case that someone gets sick from eating your food. If you’re operating a home-based business, you may even need home insurance as well.
On top of that, your states will need you to have different business licenses, but each state is different. Look up the requirements in your state to see if they’re required.
You can also go to the Small Business Administration to figure out if you need a license and what fees are involved if so.
Register Your Business
Once you’ve done all the paperwork and got everything covered, you can register your business with the state. If you want a different name than what’s under your business, you can put in a “Doing Business As” name instead.
For a catering business, you’ll also have to work with the health department since you’re handling food. The health department may want to see where you’re cooking and preparing the food, but again, this requirement varies depending on what state you live in.
You’ll also need an employer identification number (EIN). You can apply to get one on the website for the IRS, and you can get it in just a few minutes. It’ll also last for years and act as your business tax ID as well.
Keep it handy so you can use it when applying for a credit card or paying your employees.
Focus on Marketing
Now that your name is picked out and you’ve got everything set up, create a marketing program that will reach your clients. You should design business cards, brochures, ads, stationery, and anything else that will grab people’s attention.
Make sure you have high-quality photos of your food to share as well. You’ll also want to upload these pictures onto a social media site or a website.
To generate interest in your new business, you may also want to consider hosting a launch party. Offer incentives and promotions for people to spread the word and attend your event. Plan to make some food for the event as well so people can see just how tasty your food is!
Now you can start buying catering supplies as well. Make a list of everything you’ll need before you can start catering and shop now!
You may need a bigger dishwasher, a way to transport and serve the food, ways to keep the food hot or cold, or even cooking supplies to make the food.
Figure Out Pricing
Next, figure out how much you’re going to charge for everything. The pricing will depend on where you’re operating your business from and what niche you chose to cater in.
A lot of catering companies make a tiered pricing range where they can provide different services for different amounts. If you still aren’t sure what to price your food at, do some research on other local caterers in the area. You want to be somewhere in the middle of those ranges.
If you’re too low, you may not be making enough money for yourself. If the price is too high, no one will want to use your service and will just go with one of your competitors.
Learn More About How to Start a Catering Business at Home
These are only a few things to know about how to start a catering business at home, but there are many more tips and tricks out there. We know that becoming the best catering company and starting a business is stressful, but we’re here to help you out.
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