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30 October 2020

How to Start a Market Stall

by User Not Found

You may have recently left an employed position and be considering going into business for yourself, or maybe you’re looking to set up a source of additional income. Whatever your circumstances, injecting some more life into the UK’s marketplace scene with the presence of your brand-new market stall may be a good place to start. But what should be considered before you begin? Here at Brightside Market Traders Insurance, we have put together this guide on how to start a market stall business, from all the legal prerequisites, to tips on what to consider selling and how to get your market stall in the eyes and minds of your prospective customers.

1. How to Start a Market Stall

First of all, you will need to look at yourself and consider why you want to open a market stall. Will your market stall be a full-time endeavour, or just an additional way to pocket some extra money on the weekends? Some periods of the year are a lot busier than others. Are you excited about the busy bustle of the Christmas period? 

You will need to interact with customers in a friendly manner while still being able to entice and close sales. If you are a personable go-getter with an entrepreneurial spirit and a positive attitude, you are already well on your way.

2. What will you sell from your market stall?

The products you sell from your market stall will be the biggest factor in determining its success, so you will need to have a good idea of what you intend to sell before you start. Will you be selling a brand-new product of your own creation? Or will you be selling a wide range of goods sourced from top suppliers? Either way, you will want to ensure also that your products are of the best quality possible. Therefore, if you will be sourcing your stall’s products from suppliers you will need to make sure they are reputable and trustworthy for quality.

3. Where will you set up your stall?

Figuring out where to set up your market stall is another important factor when starting out. You will need to apply for a pitch at a marketplace, either from the local authority or the market themselves if it is run privately.

 If you decide to sell from multiple marketplaces, you will also need to factor in the costs related to transporting items, from the vehicle’s running costs to the protection of the items themselves while in transit. For example, the value of goods damaged in transit could be reimbursed to you if you had a goods in transit insurance policy, the cost of which you would also need to factor in when projecting your business’s overall profit margins.


4. How are current markets performing?

While you are checking out market stalls near you, building relationships and integrating yourself into the marketplace community, research how are they performing. How has business been lately? When is footfall the busiest? Would this be the right place for your market stall or could another marketplace further away see more business for you? Investigating what other stalls are selling at your chosen marketplace(s) could also help you identify product gaps and inform your decision on what you should be selling to fill those gaps.

5. Get your market stall licences and relevant registrations

Once you have decided where to set up and what you’ll be selling, you’ll need to get the relevant licences and certificates required to start trading from your market stall:

  • A market stall licence or street trader licence from your local council
  • Registration as being self-employed with the HMRC within 3 months of beginning trading
  • If you will be selling food, register with your local environmental health service at least 28 days before starting your stall
  • If selling food, you will also need food hygiene certificates for any staff and completed COSHH assessments (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health)

It is also advisable to research and keep up to date with legislation such as the Trade Descriptions Acts, the Sale of Goods Act and, if applicable, general food hygiene legislation. This will help to avoid preventable incidents through best business practice.

If in the future your stall’s turnover reaches the VAT registration threshold of £85,000 for any 12-month period, you will also need to register for VAT, which can be done through the UK Government website.

6. Get covered with Market Stall Insurance and other insurances

Accidents can happen even in the most cautious of workplaces. To ensure your market stall will be protected in the event of an incident, it is recommended to pursue the following insurance types:

7. How will you draw customers and keep them coming back?

By now, you should be fully ready to start trading from your market stall – congratulations! But now you have started, how can you drum up business and keep your customers coming back? Set incentives such as 2-for-1 offers, vouchers, loyalty schemes like stamp cards, etc. Utilise social media to spread awareness of your market stall business and drive physical footfall through advertising online on local community groups. Be friendly and sociable. Keep your stall looking attractive, clean and tidy.

Follow basic steps such as these and hopefully they should help your stall to get a foothold in the marketplace! From there, continue to work hard and provide top products and service for your customers and, with any luck, you will reap the rewards.


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