Starting a small catering business can be a lot of fun. If you do it right, it can also make you a great deal of money. However, there are a lot of things that need to be done initially before you get carried away. If you do not follow the right procedures, your whole business could wind up in jeopardy.
The first thing that every small catering business needs is a name and a business license. You will also want to determine how you will form your business entity such as an LLC, sole proprietorship, or corporation.
After that, you'll want to get a tax ID number from the IRS. Be sure to look into which agencies handle the licensing in your state. You may be able to get some tips from other small business owners, since the process is similar for a lot of business owners.
One area where your small catering business may differ from other businesses is that you will need food service and liquor licenses.
The government takes food service very seriously and monitors the food quality, storage and preparation facility of every business where food service is involved.
Although a liquor license is not a requirement for a small catering business, it is a requirement for anyone who serves alcohol. Since most catered events involve alcohol, it would be in your best interest to get a liquor license. In fact, it could mean the difference between having a small catering business that flops and having one that thrives and grows into a large successful enterprise.
It is easy to become excited about the prospect of owning your own business, but remember that even a small catering business involves a lot of work. You may feel that you can juggle many tasks, but sometimes there just are not enough hands or enough hours in the day.
If you think about it, it really makes good business sense to hire some extra help, or at least line up some on-call assistants that you can bring in when you're in a pinch. After all, larger events are going to require a lot more people to make things work efficiently.
Starting any business can be a strain on your wallet, so it will pay to remember this before you even begin. You may need to take out a loan. You can expect it to cost a few thousand dollars to get the right equipment and licensing, and insurance you will need.
Also, consider the costs of advertising and marketing, such as a graphic designer, newspaper or TV ads, or a company website and web master.
All of these things and more need to be considered before you ever try to get a small catering business off the ground.