Income & expenses running a market stall

Who doesn’t appreciate something made locally, by hand? With buzzwords like ‘artisanal’ and ‘bespoke’ still dominating shopping trends, many look to their local weekend markets to see what people in their area are doing.

More and more people are interested in exactly what ingredients are going into the food and products they buy. There’s a renewed appreciation for handmade items, full of craftsmanship and with fewer processed and artificial ingredients - often with more appealing prices.

Many sole traders and small businesses don’t start with a brick-and-mortar location. Many launch online and rely on strategic marketing and word of mouth. But becoming a market stall trader can be a great, relatively inexpensive way to sell your products in person and meet your customers.

Working in your market stall

While exciting for those who have started with an online shop, for example, running a market stall isn’t always an easy day spent chatting with customers. While those wonderful moments do exist, it’s best to prepare for a long workday.

It isn’t just the day-of that should be considered. Preparing for a market can also involve long working hours in order to ensure that you have enough products available without compromising your budget.

Getting started with a market stall

When we think of a market, we usually picture a sunny day, with each market stall almost overflowing with lovely products and crowds of people smiling as they peruse the stalls and make their purchases.

But running a market stall involves a number of other factors. Understanding the guidelines before getting started will set you off on the right foot:

The rules of the market: each market will have its own set of rules for market stalls to follow. These typically include:

  • The general conduct of those running a market stall

  • Sanitation and waste regulations

  • Insurance and fees payable

  • Setup guidelines

Ensure that you understand the rules outlined by the market organiser and follow them carefully. This will ensure that you and other vendors have a positive experience.

A successful market stall

In addition, there are some factors that can have an unexpected impact on your success at the market. Some of the main factors to think about when preparing:

  • Weather. It’s unpredictable. Have a few useful materials to help protect your goods and get through sudden showers or autumn winds.

  • Your pricing. Inevitably, determining the right price for your products in the market setting can greatly influence your success at a market. Not only do your prices need to appeal to customers, but they also need to allow you to cover your costs.

  • Stall location. Another one that seems obvious, but can have significant effects on your market experience is where you set up your stall. While you might not have all options, aiming for somewhere where people will gather such as near food stands or near the entrance, for example, can spell more business. Visibility is your friend.

  • Networking. Your relationships with customers are important. But in the market setting, building positive relationships with your market stall neighbours can not only mean a better experience but can also result in future opportunities.

Of course, your market stall experience will likely vary (even from market to market). While there are inevitably obstacles such as getting the best stall location or ensuring that your pricing is competitive yet appealing, it’s an endeavour that can instantly boost your business and give you that valuable face-to-face experience with your customers.

Managing payments and future orders

With all of the preparation involved in running a market stall, the hope for any stall owner is a successful (profitable) market day. Yes, interacting with your customers, with other market stall owners and being outdoors - this can all make the market experience very satisfying. But at the end of the day, there’s not one market stall owner who doesn’t also want to see a profit.

Staying on top of your sales and future orders can seem like a big task. But with the right tools, it can be easy to both accept payments and invoice future orders.

SumUp Invoices is free invoicing software that helps you create professional invoices in under 1 minute and accept both in-person and online payments

With our simple and intuitive software, you can add new contacts, create and send invoices for future orders, and accept card reader payments. All without leaving your stall.

Start invoicing for free