How Much Should You Charge for Your Personal Chef Services

Figuring out what to charge can be a challenge.  I know that many personal chefs struggle with this when they first start out, and once they have been working with clients for a while they still aren’t always sure about their fees.

Two things I know you shouldn’t be doing to determine your fees are the following:

  • Looking around to see what other personal chefs charge in your area and then charging the exact same thing
  • Starting with very low fees just to get business quickly with the thought that you will gradually raise your rates as you get more clients and more experience

Here’s why you don’t want to do the above-mentioned things to set your prices.  You are a unique person with unique talents and training when it comes to being a personal chef.  Who you are, what you offer and how you offer your services will be different from someone else.  Therefore, what you charge should be different.

In addition, it is important for you to know what YOU want to make and what YOU need to earn in order to achieve your financial goals.  You can’t simply look at what someone else is charging and copy it to be sure you have set your pricing right for yourself.

If you charge very low fees, you will soon feel resentful of the business you do get because you won’t feel like you are being compensated fairly.  Additionally, lower fees convey lower value just what you don’t want to convey.  The kinds of clients you attract with low fees are less likely to be your ideal clients, and if you work with them, you won’t have room in your schedule for clients who will pay you what you are worth.

So how do you come up with a price to charge?  Take a look at this simple method:

Step #1:  Set a Revenue Goal for the Year and Make it 50% Higher Than What You Made the Year Before

That’s right.  I want you to stretch yourself.  At this stage don’t worry about how you will achieve this goal.  By setting your sites higher, you are psychologically removing the mental cap you may have on how much money you can make.  Once you remove the mental cap on your income, you can open yourself up to new ideas on how you can reach that financial goal.

If you are just starting out, set your revenue goal for the year by adding together your monthly household expenses, estimated business expenses plus some amount more so that you have extra cash to do with as you please then set a yearly earnings amount based on this figure.

Step #2:  Divide by 12 to Get Your New Monthly Earnings

With a clear yearly earnings goal now in your mind, you will tend to make different and better decisions about what you should work on in your business and the actions you should take.  Remember that to achieve any goal, you must be able to visualize it first.  You will attract what you focus your attention on especially if you take actions that support your vision too.

Step #3:  Use Your Monthly Earnings to Determine Your Business Building Actions

Now, it’s time for you to sit down and figure out what you need to do to achieve your monthly goals.  How many networking events do you attend?  How many consults or assessments do you need to give?  Can you raise your prices?  What about possible passive income streams?  You need to come up with a plan that makes it possible for you to achieve your new financial goals.

And what if you don’t achieve your new financial goals using this strategy?  It may happen, but I am willing to bet that by taking the above steps, you will generate more income than you would have otherwise because you will be taking more high-payoff actions that will attract more clients and opportunities on a regular basis.

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  1. Thank you for this info as I am just starting my personal chef business and I didnt have a clue as to what I should charge.

    • Glad you found the info helpful, Patricia! If you’d also like some tips on the fastest way to get your first clients, consider attending the free training call I am leading this Tuesday, April 16 at 8pm eastern called “Keep Your Calendar Fully Booked: Discover 3 Easy Steps You Can Take TODAY to Attract More Clients”. You can learn more and register at

  2. April Pippins says:

    Im just starting out. I decided to put up an ad for a private personal not really thinking i would get a response. Well, i happen to get 2 in a pretty Affluent neighborhood. The person asked me , how much do i charge and would i be preparing the meals at home and delivering them to her house. The thing is i have NO CULINARY DEGREE . Ive also told them this. So im just lost in how i should answer her. I had to step out of the restaurant cooking for i have slowed down due to my Lupus. I would like very much to try my hand at this. I know i will do well. Im very experienced with cooking, the different tecniques and most of all the sanitation and health aspect. I need information of how to charge, where i should cook and how to come up with a price. Is it daily, weekly? Please help me for i want to be fair but not taken advantage of. Id let to get back to this person with a quote but at the sametime i need to make sure she is serious. Please help me.

    • Congratulations, April, on getting 2 inquiries for a private / personal chef. I recommend we set up a free Client Attraction Phone Consult so we can discuss your situation further. Please understand that the purpose of this consult is not free coaching or advice. In our conversation, we’ll uncover where you are right now and where you want to be with regard to your culinary business, what your specific concerns and challenges are, and how I can help you overcome your challenges and achieve your goals. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, you can set up a time to talk here ==>

  3. Thanks for the advice, this is really helpful. I’m a culinary student and I need better income than what I make at the restaurant I work at.

    • Glad you found the blog post helpful, Josh. If you also feel you could use some support around getting ideal clients who will charge
      you what you are worth, you may be interested in a free audio e-course I offer called “5 Secrets to Keep Your Calendar Fully Booked”.
      To learn more and to subscribe visit

  4. I am a caterer, a client wants me to offer meal services over the Thanksgiving holidays for up to 30 persons, im not sure how to charge

    • Sandra Hoedemaker says:

      Hello, Vanni. I have a wonderful program called “How to Charge What You Are Worth and Get It” that I offer as a VIP Day (a 1-Day intensive). Would you be interested in learning more about it?
      You will walk away with a clear understanding of what and how to charge not only for your upcoming catering event but for all of them thereafter. We will also review how and when to have the money
      conversation when you are talking to prospects. If interested, please reach out to me at so we can pick a date and time to have an initial talk.

  5. Hi sandra i love that ive come across you in my search on exactly how i need to start a personal chef career! I just started culinary school in august, its fast paste but i like that and im learning. Im almost halfway done, and i work at a chilis as a cook. Ive tried to set up a phone consult but it seems on the e- calender we cant talk sunday or mondays…the days i do school and work is all thats open. Id love to speak with you more about how im planning to be successful and more of your input

  6. Sandra Hoedemaker says:

    Hello, Jesseca –

    Thanks for reaching out. I am glad you are enjoying your culinary training. I’d be happy to set up a special time to have a phone consult with you on a Monday. I’ll follow-up with you via email so we can pick a specific time for us to talk.

  7. Hello there I am so excited I found your site, I really found you by mistake,
    while I was looking on Digg for something else, Anyways I am
    here now and would just like to say thank you for a incredible post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it all at the moment but I
    have saved it and also added your RSS feeds,
    so when I have time I will be back to read
    much more, Please do keep up the fantastic work.

    • Sandra Hoedemaker says:

      Glad you are finding the site useful. I hope you had a chance to read more of the blog posts. Y

  8. Hello Sandra. So happy I came across your site. As a personal chef i’m having trouble knowing how much to charge my best friend who also invited me to the party. Of course I worked the entire time but had no staff. They paid for some of the ingredients themselves and then I paid for some of the ingredients. It was a bit of a mess but came out successful. After all costs have been paid I’m wondering how much to charge for my time. They paid to fly me to the event which I don’t think I should consider but all the pre-planning took much longer due to working in an unknown environment that wasn’t ideal at all. Ugh!

    • Sandra Hoedemaker says:

      Thanks for sharing with me your particular pricing story. There are a number of factors to look at in order to come up with pricing that is right for you and the people who you want to target. I help my paying personal chef clients price their services all the time. If you are serious about getting support around this topic, you can schedule a complimentary Price Right Discovery Phone Session with me so we can discuss in more detail. Click here to schedule a time to talk ==>

  9. Chef Travis says:

    Hello Sandra, I have decided to start my own catering co and now have back to back weddings. I am cooking for the client, butt the events are booked through a hotel that will pay me as a independent contractor. The hotel will be compensating me and my crew. The first wedding is an appetizer cuisine that they now want buffet style for 136 people. How much should I tell the hotel that I need for compensation for myself and how much for my 3 man crew? Should I do a by head charge, a percentage of sales charge, or a hourly charge? and again if hourly, how much would you suggest?
    Chef Travis

    • Sandra Hoedemaker says:

      Hi Travis –

      Thank you for reaching out. I have a program you may be interested in called “How to Charge What You are Worth and Get It”. Perhaps this is something you’d like to learn more about? If yes, let me know. You can reach me at We can then set up a date and time to have a free initial Price Right Discovery Phone Session during which we can talk about your biggest pricing challenges, how I can help you overcome them, and what it would cost to get my support.

      Let me know if you’d like to take this next, no obligation step.

      Warm regards,


  10. Shamikia Kirkland says:

    Thank god I found your blog site. I have been struggling for the past 2years with clients who were either trying to negotiate my price or would try to tell me that my cost was too expensive. I have taken clients that I knew were not worth my time because they were headaches from the start , just so I could gain exposure and more experience. I found myself throwing my hands up and wanting to give up on my career. I have done research to see what other chefs were charging to see if I was in the right ballpark of my pricing. I never want to rip people off or over charge them , not to mention cheat myself and my personal chef business. I found out that I was in the right ballpark , I just charge different for certain things. I try to keep things as simple as I can when it comes to pricing for the clients that I do have because I am totally not a numbers person I’ve always struggled with math, but I do know how to count my money lol. I need help with sticking to my guns when it comes to my prices because I want a different type of clientele from what I’ve seen. I want to set an example for my daughter and have financial freedom and fun while doing what I love. Any advice you can lend me I will greatly appreciate it.

    • Sandra Hoedemaker says:

      Thank you for sharing your story, Shamikia. There are several things that can help you charge what you are worth and get it. They are – having the right money mindset, choosing the right niche or ideal client group, communicating your value effectively, and branding yourself and your business. I can help you with all of these things. If you’d like to set up a complimentary Client Attraction Discovery Session I can share with you in more detail how I can help. Click here to set up your complimentary Discovery Session ==> I’ll reach out to you by email as well.

  11. Good advice u are offering….am signing up!

    • Sandra Hoedemaker says:

      Glad you are finding my blog posts useful. Are you signing up for the audio training 5 Secrets to Keep Your Calendar Fully Booked? I also offer a free Client Attraction Discovery Session if you are interested in finding out what it would be like to get in-person support.

  12. Hello,
    Did not know u had an audio session on 5 secrets to keep ur calendar fully booked.

    • Sandra Hoedemaker says:

      If you look at my website there is an opt-in box on the right. If you enter your name and email you can sign up for the audio session. Or, for convenience,
      go to and you can sign up for the free audio e-course there.

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