How it Works
The Sidecook platform allows you to search for a nearby Sidecook to prepare an affordable meal in the comfort of your own home. Or perhaps you're renting a vacation home for a few days. A Sidecook would be great while traveling too!
1. Create your account.
2. Post your profile as a Sidecook or a patron.
3. Summon your Sidecook (or find a cooking job!). Search by location, cuisine, price range, or dietary needs.
4. Refine the details of your visit using our messaging system and confirm your booking online.
*Be sure to rate your experience! Honest reviews help keep Sidecook safe, reliable and fun for everyone!*
Tip for Sidecooks: To help increase your bookings as a Sidecook, upload high quality photos of yourself and various dishes you like to create.
Be sure to research your state's licensing regulations regarding the provision of personal chef services. Personal chefs typically must hold a state-issued catering license if meals are prepared in a kitchen outside the clients' home. For any cooking done outside a client's home, you must use a commercially licensed facility or obtain state certification and consent to health and safety inspections to use your own kitchen. Food and safety certificates are issued by state public health departments following successful completion of a food safety seminar and exam.
Tip for patrons: To help increase your chances of booking a Sidecook, upload high quality photos of yourself and/or your family and the kitchen/dining area where your Sidecook will be preparing your meal.
- Be Responsive. Responding quickly to a request shows the other party that you are a considerate Sidecook and/or patron. We ask that you respond to requests and messages within 24 hours.
- Accept Requests. Make sure your calendar ("listing availability") reflects the times you're able to accommodate a request. If your calendar shows you're free, we expect that you accept most requests. You can use your calendar to block off time between jobs, or to prevent requests for bookings too far in the future.
- Avoid Cancellations. We take cancellations seriously. Please refrain from cancelling unless you have an extenuating circumstance. You may be subject to financial penalties if you cancel a confirmed booking.
Treat your fellow Sidecooks and patrons with respect. Make sure to be on time with all materials ready to go and proper hygiene in practice. Communicate ahead of time to ensure all ingredients, tools and a proper workspace are available to prepare the meal successfully. Once the Sidecook has finished cooking the meal, it is their responsibility to clean up after themselves. If you decide to use the Sidecook platform, you will likely meet people who look or think differently than you. Please respect those differences. We want this to be a fun, engaging experience for all involved.
Safety is of the utmost importance at Sidecook. We have a self-reported screening process in place for anyone who would like to post a profile on the site. Although this screening may indicate past crimes or other red flags, it is not an official background check and does not guarantee that a person will not break the law in the future.
We strongly encourage all users of the site to only work with individuals who have a posted profile, which is the indicator that they have made it past our preliminary screening. It is your responsibility, however, to conduct any background or reference checks of other users. You can get to know your Sidecook or patron prior to, and when confirming, a meeting via the Sidecook messaging system.
In order to maintain your privacy and account security, we ask that you refrain from sharing personal information like your email address, phone number or any financial information with other members of the platform. We strongly encourage you to use the Sidecook messaging system to communicate with fellow members of the Sidecook community.
We request that Sidecooks and patrons provide feedback and ratings once a transaction has been completed. Feedback and ratings are not only measures of the quality of Users, they are safety measures as well.
A clean workspace, sharpened knives and proper cooking equipment is essential for a safe working environment. Patrons, please show your Sidecook around your kitchen upon their arrival and have a first aid kit as well as an up-to-date fire extinguisher on hand in case of an accident.
Sidecooks will expect the clean and tidy kitchen workspace shown in your listing photos. Make sure to tidy up before their arrival. It is their responsibility to clean up after themselves, but they should arrive to a space which is ready for them to create. Sidecooks will have the opportunity to review patrons after a completed transaction. Multiple low reviews of patrons may result in penalties.
Privacy and Personal Space
Communication is key to ensure that everyone has a good experience. Some Sidecooks will be comfortable teaching or working closely with their patron(s), while others will prefer to have more space to create a meal. It is important to establish this preference ahead of time to maintain a comfortable atmosphere.
Please do not ask about the relationship status or comment on the looks of your Sidecook or patron(s). You should not touch or flirt with a Sidecook or patron. Ask permission before you photograph or film your Sidecook. Be professional but have fun!
If agreed upon ahead of time between parties, it is perfectly acceptable for a Sidecook to prepare a meal with no one else in the residence. However, children must be supervised by a parent or caregiver at all times.
How Users Can Lose Access to the Sidecook Platform
Our goal is to make Sidecook a fun, positive experience for the entire community. We will investigate anyone who has received poor reviews or complaints, which could result in a ban from the site. Examples of behavior which would warrant a ban include:
- Breaking the law while using the Sidecook platform. For example, carrying drugs into a residence; being intoxicated while cooking; or using Sidecook to commit a crime, such as drug or human trafficking or sexual exploitation of any kind.
- Attempting to go around the Sidecook platform. Members may not link to a separate personal or professional website and may not request to be contacted outside of the platform to conduct a transaction. Anyone who connects through the Sidecook platform must perform their transactions through Sidecook.
- Unwanted contact with a Sidecook or patron after the visit has ended. For example, contacting or visiting someone in person once a meal has been completed. Keep in mind that you can message your Sidecook or patron directly from the Sidecook website, so your phone number and private information can remain anonymous.
- Damaging personal property. For example, damaging any cooking equipment or breaking other personal property belonging to either the Sidecook or the patron, or intentionally spilling food or drink or smoking in a residence.
- Fraud. Do not pretend to be someone you are not, or claim to have experience you do not have.
- Hygiene and cleanliness. Since we are dealing with food, it is imperative that proper hygiene and cleanliness is exercised. Sidecooks should have long hair put back, short, clean fingernails, well fitted clothing and a working knowledge of food safety. Patrons should make sure the surfaces and equipment which will be used for meal preparation are clean and that the food intended for consumption is fresh. Multiple complaints regarding hygiene or cleanliness may result in penalties.
- Discrimination. Sidecooks come in all colors, shapes and sizes. We have a zero tolerance policy for discrimination based on age, race, gender, sexual identity, disability, nationality, creed or any other characteristic protected by local or federal law. Any members of Sidecook found to have engaged in discriminatory behavior towards another member will be banned from the site.
What if there aren't any Sidecooks listed in my area?
Start the trend and spread the word! By being the first Sidecook in your area, you can quickly gain jobs and reviews, helping to launch your future success!
Who can join?
Anyone can join! However, we do have a basic screening process in place for anyone who wants to post their profile on the site. We will continually pour over reviews, transactions and listings in order to maintain legitimacy and trust within the community. We believe Sidecooks can be great for the whole community and we need your feedback to make sure that the right people are involved.
How much should I charge my clients?
Make sure your price reflects your cooking ability and offerings. You can set your hourly rated based on details such as your experience level, the type of cuisine, or whether you will be bringing your own equipment. In the end, the price should simply be the amount that makes it worthwhile for you.
Keep in mind that Sidecook charges a per-transaction fee of 15% of the total cost to keep the service up and running. PayPal charges 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction in the United States.
Example 1: A Sidecook charges $35.00 per hour. The patron books one hour of help. The Sidecook site will keep $5.25 and PayPal will keep $1.32. The Sidecook will keep $28.43 ($35.00 -5.25 -$1.32 = $28.43).
Example 2: A Sidecook charges $35.00 per hour. The patron books two hours of help. The Sidecook site will keep 15% of the total, which is $10.50 and PalPal will keep $2.33. The Sidecook will keep $57.17 ($70.00 -$10.50 -$2.33 = $57.17).
Example 3: A Sidecook charges $65 per hour. The patron books three hours of help. The Sidecook site will keep 15% of the total, which is $29.25 and PayPal will keep $5.96. The Sidecook will keep $159.79 ($195.00 -$29.25 -$5.96= $159.79).
How can I rate my experience?
We encourage everyone to leave a review of both Sidecooks and patrons to maintain legitimacy and trust within the community. In order to leave a review, you must complete your transaction via the Sidecook platform. Once the request has been completed, both parties are able to review one another. In a review, you might note the timeliness, friendliness, professionalism, or meal quality of your Sidecook; or the accessibility to necessary kitchen equipment and food, cleanliness of workspace, or friendliness of your patron(s).
Is there an app I can use?
Not yet! Sidecook is brand new, so we have to work within some limitations for now. Our website works great on any device, however, so just log in through your mobile browser!
Patrons can dispute a paid transaction after the transaction request has been approved and before it is marked as “completed”. The dispute feature is a way for patrons to clearly communicate to Sidecooks that they are not happy with the way the transaction was handled.
Disputing a transaction does not refund the payment. When a transaction is disputed, the status of the transaction changes to cancelled. Both users can review each other after a dispute. When using PayPal, only Sidecooks can issue a full refund to the patron from their PayPal account. This means they need to log in at paypal.com, find the correct transaction and click full or partial refund depending on the case. PayPal will refund their transaction fee of 2.9%, but will keep their fixed fee of $0.30 USD.
The Sidecook team should be notified immediately, via the Sidecook website or at firstname.lastname@example.org, of any disputes or requested refunds. We cannot guarantee the patrons will receive a full refund, though we will do our best to assist in resolving all issues. Any member who abuses the cancellation/refund policy will be banned from the Sidecook platform.
I'm a Sidecook. How do I file my taxes?
As a Sidecook, you are responsible for claiming all earnings on your 1040 tax form. If you earn more than $600 USD from any one patron (per year) as a Sidecook, they will need to provide you with a 1099-MISC tax form.
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