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A personal chef goes to a client’s home and prepares restaurant-quality meals without the client ever setting foot in a food service establishment. As a personal chef, your rates might determine whether or not you’re hired. Charging too much could make clients shy away, while charging too little might make clients assume you don’t have the experience to create the dishes they desire.
If you select an hourly rate, you’ll want a fixed hourly amount that covers your time during menu preparation and actual cooking. On average, most personal chefs charge anywhere from $35 to $50 per hour. This range reflects experience, the type of menu items you create and any specialty services you may provide. For example, if you offer special dietary menus – such as a diabetic-friendly menu – you could charge on the higher side of that hourly rate compared to a chef who prepares general meals.
Some personal chefs choose to charge a flat fee rather than an hourly rate. Flat fee amounts vary depending on the type of personal chef service requested. For example, you can offer different flat rates for couples' dinners versus family meals or weekly meal services. Your flat fee can be for the service or per meal per person. According to HCareers.com, most personal chefs charge anywhere from $14 to $20 per meal per person, depending on the service requested.
If you’re looking for a full-time personal chef position with a single employer, he'll likely want to pay a salary rather than hourly rate or flat fee. A salaried position might reflect the number of hours you work in the week or each day, multiplying those hours by an hourly rate. Most salary positions average $30,000 to $40,000 per year for live-in and live-out personal chef positions.
When setting your personal chef rates, your experience and training should be a factor. If you have years of restaurant experience and a formal culinary training background, you can charge more for your services due to your experience. In addition, you’ll need to factor in the additional charges, such as ingredients, time you spend planning menus, time spent grocery shopping and cleanup. For one-time employers, charge your flat fee or hourly rate in addition to the cost for groceries and ingredients. For salaried positions, you might want to set a monthly grocery budget for your employer to pay in addition to your salary so that ingredients and food items don’t come out of your profits.
Shailynn Krow began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous online and offline publications. Krow holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and an Associate of Science in pastry arts from the International Culinary Institute of America.