Your mobile catering business number one priority is for you to find and secure a pitch (location) from which you can start trading your business.
This can either take the form of a static site
where your trailer is permanently placed, or a temporary site where you
trade from daily and at the end of your trading day you take your
trailer home with you.
How do you secure a site? Good question and below are some suggestions for you to think about:
- Ask at the local Sunday Market
- Find a Spot On An Industrial Estate
- Try Your Neighboring Car Boot Sale
- Train Stations, Bus Stations
- Most DIY Stores Provide Spaces For Catering Trailers
These are just a few locations to get you thinking. When you start to look around you will be surprised where your food services might be needed, and how many possibilities are present. Don't forget your business is mobile...so if it's the pitch is not that busy, just move on!
Please Note: Most people do the opposite and buy a trailer first then have nowhere to trade. Important- Try to secure a pitch first, then buy or rent a catering trailer.
Legal Requirements, Hours of Work
You will need to have a current Food and Hygiene Certificate to cook and sell food to the public; this is a document that shows you have passed a test on Food and Hygiene. You are then issued with a certificate and by law you must have it displayed on your catering trailer.
You will also need an LPG Test Certificate (gas) and an Electric Certificate to legally trade from your catering trailer. (this ensures appliances, LPG, pipes etc are safe) Again this shows you have conformed to Health and Safety Practices You should also be registered with the local council who will visit you and inspect your trailer to make sure you comply with the food and hygiene laws.
Location as with any brick and mortar small business opportunity is important and the same applies for this particular business, but in a slightly different way. You don't really want to have your mobile catering business near other food service providers if possible.
This is your unique advantage after all your business is mobile... and can within reason go where the money is just make sure to obtain a license (if required) or have the relevant permission from the land owners.
Your hours of work are determined by the location or local area that you service. So if you work on a Sunday Market obviously you probably work for just the one day. However if you are catering for people who work on Industrial Estates, then your trading days (5-6) will be substantially longer.
Pros and Cons of Starting a Mobile Catering Business
- Cheaper start-up costs compared to a shop
- No business rates (for now), or lease to tie you down for x amount of years
- Cash business
- No real competition RIGHT! you picked the location
- You are in full control, your business
- Can be very lucrative
- Servicing your local area
- Expand your catering business at your own pace
- Shorter trading hours compared to other food retailers
- Personal satisfaction is high on the list
- Initial outlay can be expensive
- Finding a catering pitch can be difficult
- Your site may not have long-term prospects
- Very hard work and early start required
- You are directly responsible for cooking and food preparation
- Very hot during the summer especially with the added heat through cooking
- Trailer left over night could be stolen
- No real time off except for Christmas unless you employ staff
- Working on your own, can be a little lonely
- If you are sick or do not work you will not get paid
Mobile Catering Business - Conclusion
So now you've been briefly introduced
to the mobile catering business opportunity, we have also touched on
some basic start-up steps. Now that you have a little more insight you
can make up your own mind and see if this kind of small business is right for you.
I have tried to be honest with most things here, but there is a lot more detail that I have not gone into on this page. So if you would like to know more or are considering the idea of starting your own catering business but lack the courage to take it any further.
Read Chapter 1 and discover how I got started with no experience and a tiny dose of courage... my own small business in mobile catering.
Don't forget take a look at my getting started mobile catering eBook pack it's packed with tips, advice, profit/loss worksheets etc and will provide you with full start-up information.
Chapter (1) Read How I Got Started
Chapter (2) Buying My 1st Catering Van
Chapter (3) First Day of Business
Return To Mobile Catering Homepage