How did I start my own small business in mobile catering? Actually it was the last thing on my mind as I was pursuing a path in I.T
As it happens a friend of mine had started her catering business making sandwiches, rolls, and cakes. She was doing very well out of it by selling this type of food to offices, businesses and a local construction site.
I found this idea very appealing and wanted to get involved but not really with this type of cold food business. For some reason I was more interested in selling hot food and drinks! So for me this was the beginning and the way I got started in mobile catering
I thought about providing hot food and drinks possibly for workers in a remote location and where my services would be appreciated. At this stage I wasn't sure but after some research decided that a mobile catering trailer was a good option, since it would be cheaper than renting a shop and I wouldn't be tied down by a long term lease, business rates or location.
I had no experience of cooking what so ever, never mind cooking for people. Still this didn't put me off and I saw this opportunity as a challenge and really wanted to find out if I could start my own small business rather than day dreaming about it!
I have always wanted to start my own small business and something that was mine. So buying a catering van or trailer was a no going back decision and as the saying goes "Put your money where your mouth is”.
I found that the difference between a catering van and a catering trailer was simply the catering van you could drive and the catering trailer had to be towed using another vehicle. Apart from that they share the same purpose.
I didn't know what I needed as far as cooking equipment was concerned but with some more research and through talking with other mobile catering business owners I found the following equipment to be essential for me to start my own small business in mobile catering.
I had a budget of around £3000 pounds to start my own small business and a lot of the catering trailers that I viewed were either too small or not right. I was eager to get started and really wanted to find something suitable. Then one day when browsing through Ebay a catering vehicle caught my eye it read something like this "catering truck substantial vehicle paid £10,000 good condition hand built by local coachwork's company quick sale wanted and the price was £4500.
I was tempted but it was still out of my price range so I decided to leave it. Three weeks later the vehicle was still on Ebay however on this occasion the priced had dropped to £3500!...but I wanted to take a look before an offer was made.
The morning we left for the viewing was a horrid, dark and rainy day not great driving conditions and it eventually took us 4hrs to get to the destination. My sister and brother also accompanied me for support and I also wanted a second opinion from them. Finally arriving
I remember seeing the truck for the first time and my initial words were "Errrr what a horrible! Looking thing, it was painted beige all over no wonder no one hadn’t brought it I thought to myself.
Disappointed I parked the car and was then greeted by the individual selling the van. The owner proceeded to show us around the catering van. It was a substantial vehicle no doubt about that and specially built (not a converted van with the bits thrown in) it had all the required equipment that I needed including a generator and an extra drinks display fridge which was very useful
I was still in two minds and the colour being a light beige had really thrown me off. My sister and brother seemed to like it.(don't know why)so we negotiated the price down to £3200 and I brought it. It was delivered the following day...what a monster truck!(can't believe I brought it) but it's definitely grown on me.
Well it's got me one step nearer and allowed me to start my own small business. Read the next chapter getting ready to trade where you can also see a picture of the beast (catering van)