Starting your own business doesn’t always need to be risky. Though many individuals taking the leap into business ownership put a lot on the line in order to make their dreams a reality, it is possible to begin this new chapter in your life by making it a side project initially and expanding operations as and when you choose to.

In recent years, the focus has been centred all around investing in a food truck or pop-up operation, but during such unprecedented times as these, one of the most affordable and practical ways to start-up is to do so from your very own home.

There are many people out there at the moment who for one reason or another can’t afford the luxury of going “all in” with a business. It may be because you or a member of your household is in a high risk catergory when it comes to Covid-19 transmission, redundancy looms and you’ve not got the savings to invest much, or simply that you feel safer working from home right now; whatever it is, starting your own business from home is a great solution if you have the skills and passion for food or beverages and want to earn some extra income.

If this appeals to you so far, here’s just a few key things you’ll need to do in order to get set up.

Step 1: Register as a food business

One of the most crucial stages of starting your own business is getting approval from the local authority to trade. This is a really simple process and ideally, you should do this at least 28 days before you plan to officially open your business.

To register your details and find out more, simply visit the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website.

One thing to note is that the local authority in which you register with should be in the area in which your food business is based as opposed to your home address. Once you’re fully registered, you may be inspected by a local environmental health officer (EHO) to establish a food hygiene rating under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.

Step 2: Undertake Food Hygiene Training

If you want to demonstrate to an environmental health officer that you have the skills and know-how to earn a 5 food hygiene rating, your best bet is to undertake specialised industry training.

NCASS Training food hygiene courses are all Environmental Health Officer Approved and triple accredited, giving you the knowledge you need to be able to run your home business safely and legally.

Our most popular course is the Food Hygiene Level 2, acknowledged as the most reputable course out there amongst enforcement bodies. For more information on training courses and which ones are most suitable for your start-up business, visit NCASS Training.

Step 3: Carry out a Risk Assessment

Ensuring you’re working in an area that is hygienic and free from hazards is crucial before you even think about firing up the ovens and baking the goods. EHO’s will want to see clear evidence of how you manage food hygiene within your business, including your storing and transportation processes, personal hygiene and more.

Risk assessments may seem daunting when you’re starting out in business, but we’ve put together a pack of useful documents to help you with streamlining the process. Our Coronavirus Hub hosts a range of useful documents to get you safely through the Covid-19 pandemic. You can get access to them right here.

Step 4: Get to grips with Food Hygiene Ratings

An EHO will inevitably visit your premises at some point during your first few weeks / months of being in business and the event should be no call for alarm if you’re doing everything right.

The NCASS Due Diligence System will be issued when you sign up as a member and this hefty pack contains all the details, resources and documents you should ever need to stay on top of food hygiene within your business. Wondering what’s included? Click here to find out more.

Step 5: The 14 Allergens

Any business making food on site is required by law to produce information on which of the 14 allergens are contained in the item for sale. Allergens are serious and failure to follow labelling legislation could result in dangerous, and sometimes life-threatening, situations for your customers.

Our Allergen Hub contains useful information and important documents required for you to trade legally under allergen labelling legislation. Visit The Allergen Hub

Step 6: Keeping a record

By law, you are required to have a Food Hygiene Management System in place. When an EHO visits your premises, they may want to see records of your risk assessments, fire safety temperature checks, suppliers, allergens and more.

To make the task of keeping records up-to-date a lot simpler, we provide all our members with a Due Diligence System, which includes cleaning schedules, a daily recording diary, risk assessments, health & safety policies, complaints procedures and much, much more.

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Step 7: Selling food to consumers

There are certain legal requirements you will have to adhere to if you want to either sell food online or via a delivery courier. For example, you should have a section on your website stating how customers can go about obtaining allergen information, how they can report faulty products or contact you as a business.

Food that needs refrigerating must be kept cool whilst transporting and equally, food that needs to be kept hot should be delivered in an insulated bag. For more information on delivering safely during Covid-19, download our Covid-19 Compliance Documents.