So you're not filthy rich. You might be after you start one of these 10 hot businesses-and it won't cost megabucks to do it.
So you want to start your own business, but you don't have megabucks? News flash: You don't need megabucks. All the businesses we spotlight here can be started for $10,000 or less-in most cases, a lot less. We're talking $5,000, $3,000, even $1,000-amounts you should be able to scrape up from your bank account, borrow from Mom and Dad, or put on plastic.
Now, before you get nit-picky about numbers, a few ground rules: Costs cited under "Gear Guidelines" are estimates based on interviews with experts and entrepreneurs, and may vary. For a reality check, we asked actual entrepreneurs what they spent to start. In many cases, it was substantially less than our experts' estimates. If you've already got some of the essential start-up stuff, your launch costs will be lower, too....
... Personal Chef
For many of America's 50 million working men and women, dinner often means hastily gulping a prepackaged frozen meal from a plastic tray. If only someone could prepare tasty, nutritious, home-cooked meals like Mom used to. If only . . .
Well, professional personal chefs might not prepare the food with as much TLC as Mom-but they come pretty darn close. And they don't remind you to sit up straight while you're eating.
For about $300, entrepreneurs like Nadine and Tom Manning-the 31- and 34-year-old co-owners of Truly Unique Personal Chef Service in Medford, New Jersey-shop for groceries, come to clients' homes and (using their own equipment) prepare nine or 10 restaurant-quality meals of their clients' choice. All clients need to do is take the food out of the freezer, heat and enjoy.
The 10-year-old industry may be considered new, but it's growing fast, says David MacKay, founder of the United States Personal Chef Association and owner of Personally Yours Personal Chef Service in Albuquerque, New Mexico. By next year, MacKay estimates there will be about 4,000 personal chefs nationwide.
While having worked professionally as a chef isn't required, you do need excellent cooking skills, lots of energy and a desire to please. The Mannings, who started in 1992 and now earn sales of $90,000 a year, say although their schedule is hectic, there's nothing else they'd rather be doing.
"We have enough recipes to make clients a different meal every night of the year," Nadine says. "They're so appreciative because they're bored with frozen dinners."
GEAR GUIDELINES: You'll need standard kitchen equipment (like pots, pans and spatulas). A batch of 550 recipes is available from the United States Personal Chef Association as part of its $1,700 training package. Budget $2,000 for marketing efforts, and don't forget a business phone line. A PC and printer are nice, but not essential. Total cost: $4,000
WHAT THEY SPENT: $2,000 for marketing, stationery and a phone line.
NOTE: Businesses and Chefs mentioned in this article are not affiliated with The Chef Alliance
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BACKGROUND: The Chef Alliance is a membership organisation for Personal Chefs, Private Chefs, Chefs and Caterers, Artisan and Cottage Industry food producers and bakers, Home Cooks, Culinary Instructors, Food Stylists, Chef Instructors and other foodservice professionals across Canada. We support our members in growing strong, successful businesses, through mentorship, peer support, marketing, business savings and liability insurance. We have member Chefs in Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton, Burlington, Montreal, Quebec City, Vaughan, Markham, Ottawa, Vancouver, Victoria, Richmond, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Halifax... and many other towns and cities in Canada.
DISCLAIMER: INFORMATION PROVIDED MAY BE INCOMPLETE. THIS ARTICLE SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL, LEGAL OR FINANCIAL ADVICE. EACH BUSINESS SITUATION IS UNIQUE AND THE ADVICE PROVIDED IS INTENDED TO BE GENERAL. PLEASE CONTACT A LEGAL OR FINANCIAL PROFESSIONAL FOR ADVICE THAT IS BEST SUITED FOR YOUR BUSINESS AND TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF YOUR LOCAL/REGIONAL GOVERNMENT LAWS AND BY-LAWS.