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Starting home businesses is more popular than ever. There are a number of reasons for this — some good, and some out of necessity. But the fact remains that there are more resources available today than ever that make home businesses startups possible. This is true about new home-based businesses of all kinds, but culinary and food-related businesses are on the rise more than any other.

The popularity of home-based food businesses means you will have a lot of competition. But it also means you will have plenty of examples to help you come up with a winning business model. That being the case, it will interest you to know that you could get around much of the home-food-based competition by starting a catering business from home. Home-based catering businesses are also popular, but you are likely to find the competition is far less fierce in many areas.

Once you get the legalities and the basics of your catering business set up, you will find that there are a number of relatively new services available that will make the rest of the journey a piece of cake.

How to Start a Catering Business from Home

As new business startups go, creating a workable catering business plan from home is relatively simple. Most startup consultants will advise you to start with your concept and business plan. But we think it is best to start by learning about local licensing requirements and other legalities. The reason for this is that if you come up with a catering business plan that is incompatible with your local laws, then you will have to go back to the drawing board.

Licensing & Legalities

Your first step should be to learn what the local and state laws regulating home-based, or cottage food businesses are. Staying in business means knowing and following the rules on selling food from home. Some states are very strict about what foods can and cannot be cooked and sold from home. Others are rather laissez faire. Your state website should have a page on cottage food laws which should tell you what the licensing requirements are, as well as what foods you may cook and sell from home. There are also resources available online which compare the cottage food laws of the states against one another.

Having done this, you will need to register your catering business and obtain all the applicable licensing and certificates. You will need an EIN and a business license. Your state government will tell you about any additional licensing you will need.

Write a Catering Business Plan

Now that you know what licenses are needed to start a catering business, it is time to start brainstorming catering business ideas. As you learn how to start an online food business from home, take the time to write down ideas on the business type, model, and branding image you want to create. Your brand image is what people feel when they do business with you, and it is something you want to create, control, and regulate carefully.

Your brand is your image, and everything you do should revolve around exuding a brand image that people enjoy.

Equip Your Business

Next, is to consider the applicable catering business startup costs. You will need to hire and train staff, equip your kitchen and your company transport. We cannot tell you how much these things will cost. It will depend on the size of the catering business you intend to create, and your commitment to quality.

It might be best to begin with a small job that can work as a baseline and you can expand on it to determine the cost of fulfilling bigger catering contracts. The bottom line is that your investment is likely to be bigger than you first imagine. This could make taking out a small business loan is necessary.

Marketing & Events

Your initial tester events are not just a chance to practice for the future. They are also your opportunity to get your name circulating and to make an impression on potential future clients. Do your best to make a great impression. Go above and beyond, maybe even expect to cater for a discounted price. This is your chance to make special offers to your first paying clients, establish your brand in your community, and outshine any existing competition.

Plan for Emergencies

Another good reason to take out a small business loan is the importance of having cash on hand the unexpected. Even if you have the money to pay for your equipment and licensing, there are always things that can and will put you out of business if you are not prepared. It could be an automotive issue, a bad batch of lasagna, and so much more. When things go wrong, you need emergency equipment, cash, and a plan to charge through it.

Consider Working With an Online App to Sell Homemade Food

Finally, consider working with an online portal app to get your foot in the door when it comes to your online presence. These kinds of services are full, turn-key solutions to selling your services online, and with all the competition out there nipping at your heel — you almost cannot afford to turn it down!

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