Caterer doing personal chef meals- how to cost out

Joined Feb 22, 2014
I am a small scale caterer, I have no staff, do everything myself--mostly small parties, lunches, etc.

A family has asked me to make some vegan meals for them--everything from dinners (with leftovers for lunch), snacks (cut up veggies and fruit) dip, etc. Basically they want to eat healthy, but don't have the time to do ANYTHING. They have the money, so I am happy to do it. My question is, how should I go about charging them for this? 

One idea I had was charge them by the menu category. So a flat rate for each mail, side, snack--though this will vary greatly by what each one is. It is only for 2 people, and this will be a lot of work.

If I charged for ingredients plus labor (only me) I could, but not sure what my hourly rate would be. I am am a quick worker...

Thanks for your help.
Joined Feb 8, 2009
Vphil, Welcome! I wish the conversation with the client would start off with them saying " I know it's not going to be cheap and it wouldn't cost as much if we did it ourselves,but, would you or could you provide some vegan meals and snacks for my family". They need to know that just because the ingredients aren't expensive doesn't mean you and your time aren't worth something. Your acting like a personal chef more than a caterer. In todays world I'm not sure there isn't anything a person can't buy at Whole foods that isn't already cut up ready to eat. I really feel these people are asking for things that when they see the cost they will think it's not worth the price. I'm not saying your not worth it, it's just so simple they most likely won't see the value. I can already hear them saying " GGEEEZZZZZ all this is is a veggie try and he/she charged us $25. I know it's hard to turn down anything when your a small caterer,but, somethings should be turned down. I don't think either side will see this as being a good idea in the end. I would concentrate on building your business......take care.........Chef Bill
Joined May 5, 2016
Hi Vphil,

To give you a rough guideline, personal chefs charge about $300 (plus or minus $25-$50) to prepare 3 meals. One meal consists of an entree dish and a side dish, so 3 meals means a total of 3 entrees and 3 sides. This $300 fee DOES NOT include the cost of groceries.

Just remember, you're providing a service. If this family wants steamed broccoli for a side dish, don't lower your price because it's steamed broccoli. They're hiring you to shop and prepare healthy organic meals in their home and that's the service you're providing.

Good luck! Sounds like a great gig!

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