Pricing Your Services
Personal chefs usually charge by the day, and the rate varies according to where the chef works. In smaller cities and larger towns, rates are generally $175–$200 per day plus the cost of the food. The chef is responsible for doing the shopping; bringing the groceries to the client's house; prepping, cooking, and storing the meals; and cleaning up. In larger urban areas, a personal chef will charge $250–$300 per day plus the cost of the food.
The traditional personal chef package for clients includes five entrées with four servings of each entrée and two side dishes per entrée. Snacks, breakfasts, and desserts cost extra. The price for this standard package varies across the country, though the going rate in a large urban area is currently $395 per week (or per cook date at the client's house).
That equates to $20 per meal, a fair price for the client considering the time, effort, and skill put into the meal and its high quality. That price includes the shopping, delivery, storage, and cleanup, so point that out to your clients if they balk at your price. Twenty dollars is less than what it would cost the client to eat out at most decent restaurants in their area.
Most clients choose to eat out or cook for themselves on weekends, so most personal chefs don't include weekend meals in their basic plans. If a client wants meals for seven days, negotiate with him. You might have to cook for him two days during the week, depending on how much variety he wants and how large his family is.
Contracts and Price Sheets
Unlike catered events, detailed proposals aren't necessary for personal chefing. Since you won't be planning an elaborate event, you'll just need to prepare a general pricing and terms sheet outlining your cancellation and additional charge policies.
Computer software can help personal chefs keep track of each client's likes and dislikes. Whether you use catering-specific software or general office software, keep a list in Microsoft Word or in a spreadsheet that spells out each client's preferences for everything from her desired type of storage containers to her favorite types of fruits. By keeping a detailed list and referring to it before you cook for each client, you'll be able to deliver a very high level of customer service.