Some states require that you take a course and become a certified food manager, or hire one to prepare and serve your food. To determine what it will cost to start a catering business and what it will cost to run it once you are open for business, create a budget.
Our recent installment on Small Business Budgeting for Beginners tells you everything you need to know about projecting your expenses for a new small business.
Set multiple deadlines to finish each section of your business plan, or you might never get started or finished—but don’t set just one end date with no road map to get there.
Work on your plan when you’re excited and interested in doing the work and you’ll be surprised at how soon you can determine what it will take to launch your catering business.
Find more tips on small-business startup basics with our guide, How to Write a business Plan the Right Way.
In addition to these general tasks, you’ll need to contact your state department of health to determine how to get a food service license and what you need to make sure your kitchen, storage, transportation and serving equipment meet the necessary standards.
These include getting a business permit from your town or city, getting a post office box, setting up a website and email address, looking into setting up a corporation and buying liability insurance.
You’ll need to check with your town to see if your business will meet any zoning requirements and check your home owners’ association rules, if you’re part of an HOA.
A written business plan is not a difficult document to create if you work on it one piece at a time.
Don’t reinvent the wheel—just follow the steps in How to Write a Business Plan the Right Way (mentioned before) to learn how to create a biz plan that will answer all of your questions before you risk your first dollar. Researching how to start a catering business doesn’t mean you have to commit to doing it.