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Top Tips for setting up a Market Stall

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by Startacus Admin

Whether you view it as the start of a retail empire or simply a way to earn a bit of extra money, running a market stall successfully requires a bit more prep than simply turning up at a stall and selling your wares. market stallSo if setting up a market stall is on your mind, here are a few of the main things you ought to consider:

Decide what you’re selling

There are all sorts of markets these days - from food markets and and craft markets through to second-hand markets and general markets selling a little bit of everything. There is therefore limitless potential with the types of products and goods that you can sell. To be successful though, you’ll still need to choose your products and goods wisely and try and identify a niche or a gap that will in some way make your stall stand out from the rest. There is no sense in you selling exactly the same things as several other stalls on the same market, particularly if they are already well established traders. Your aim is to offer something that will make people stop and buy - something that they can only get from you - therefore originality is key. Also, make sure that your products are relevant to the type of customers who normally frequent the market and of course to the time of year or season. Christmas stock in June? Perhaps not...

Sort your stock

Unless you are planning to have a market stall as a one-off, you will need to work out where you are going to get your stock and supplies from. You will need to spend time sourcing suppliers, finding wholesalers or if you are making the products yourself, building up sufficient quantities to meet the potential customer demand. You may need to buy in bulk if you are realistically going to be able to have a stall each time the market is held. Of course there are other practical considerations too with regards to stock - such as storage for example. Many market traders have to start their businesses by storing their goods at home, in a spare room or a garage. Will you have the space to do just that? If not, you’ll need to look into finding a unit or lockup which can effectively become your warehouse.

Keep on the side of the law

Although a market stall is very different from a ‘bricks and mortar’ retail outlet, you are still bound by lots of similar legislation and rules and regulations. For example, if you are selling food, you’ll need to ensure that you comply with all the required Food Hygiene legislation. Your local Council’s Environmental Health department will be able to keep you right on this. You’ll also need to ensure that the goods you are selling meet the expectations of Trading Standards - no counterfeits or fake goods allowed! To help protect any customers who visit your stall, you’ll need to have Public Liability Insurance. Also, you may need to obtain a licence from your local council for trading in the first place. Your council or the market management company should be able to advise you on this.

Money matters

Although most of us view market trading as being a very cash-dominant environment, that is no longer always the case. It might be beneficial therefore to hire or rent a chip and pin machine so that you don’t lose out on any potential sales. Giving customers choices when it comes to paying can be a real advantage. Of course where cash is concerned, you’ll also need to think practically. Ensure that you have a good float ready to begin your day’s trading. Running around looking for change from another stallholder is hardly a professional thing to do from the off.

Chat and connect

Let’s face it - if you’re the type of person who is quite introverted and uncomfortable when meeting strangers, market trading is probably not for you. Having the gift of the gab is essential. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to become a Del Boy type character, but you should be comfortable in chatting, engaging, bantering and bargaining with potential customers.
Likewise you should also be able to connect and network easily with your fellow market traders - receiving and sharing tips and advice can be invaluable. Markets are communities in themselves so if you’re going to be successful, you’ll need to immerse yourself fully in it.

These are just a few of the basics you’ll need to consider if you’re thinking of going down the Market Stall route. Got any other tips you’d like to share? Why not let us know over at the forum…

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Published on: 10th September 2013

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