Will My Mobile Catering Idea End Up Costing Me a Fortune For What Little Profits I’m Expecting to Make?

by titley
(wolverhampton)

Hi David.

i would like to start selling tea and coffee and pre bought cakes also retro and hippy clothes all from the same shop. 'my camper van'

the plan was to boil water for hot drinks on a camping gas stove and sell pre bought cakes from my local bakery. all under cover of a canvas shelter 'outside' my bedford camper. Using the canvas cover as a ambiant shelter for the customer where they can relax on cusions and small chairs while my clothing range is on display. This is purley a weekend idea through the summer months and will not be a dayjob. does this sound possible ?

1. will i need some sort of catering qualification/certificate ?

2. is there a legall requirment to modify anything to my van, i.e refrigerator to keep cakes/milk ?

3. is it legall to make and sell hot drinks in this basic camping fashion ?

4. this is purley for fun rather than making huge buisness profits and will only be done for the summer months. will i need to submit my small profits and under go all the tax and buisness regulations ?




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Nov 12, 2010
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Mobile Catering From Camper Van
by: David

Hi Titley,

Your idea sound very relaxing, laid back and cool but ultimately you will still have to meet all the legal requirements to launch your business.

Please see more detail below.

Q.Will I need some sort of catering qualification/certificate?

A.If you plan on selling food to the public in any capacity you will need a food and hygiene certificate to show you are competent in handling, cooking and serving food.

Q.Is there a legal requirement to modify anything to my van, i.e. refrigerator to keep cakes/milk?

A. I don?t think that you can simply use your van as is, if you intend to sell food to the public albeit on a regular temporary basis. I suspect that you will need to have more or less the same set up as other catering trailers and van, so modifications will be highly lightly

To make sure contact your local environmental health officer and explain the types of foods you intend to sell. They should be able to give you good idea of your vehicle requirements. Here is a leaflet that may be of help.

Q. Is it legal to make and sell hot drinks in this basic camping fashion?

A.Again you will need to make sure your vehicle is fit and legal to sell food to the public. Once this need has been met, how you serve your customers and in what theme should not be a big issue.

Q.This is purely for fun rather than making huge business profits and will only be done for the summer months. Will I need to submit my small profits and under go all the tax and business regulations?

A.Yes! whether for fun or for a full time commercial business the same procedure of paying taxes applies to everyone.

You still have to register as self-employed and declare your earnings, although you may find that you have to paying less tax. As I am not an expert always consult with an accountant who will give you expert advice.

The idea is great is but the reality of having to make sure that you and your vehicle are legal is not a cheap option. Especially if you only intend to this during the summer months, I hope this has given you a better understanding.

Best of luck
David
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