For guidance and support on insurance cover/payments during COVID-19, click here to read our FAQs

How much can you earn on a market stall? A complete guide to market stall selling

How much can you earn on a market stall? A complete guide to market stall selling

Are you looking to become a market trader and set up your first stall?

One of the first questions you will likely ask yourself is ‘How much money can I earn?

But when you’re just starting out, there’s a lot to be done before you can start turning a profit.

This guide will take you through each step of the process, from start to finish. In the following order, we’ll cover:

 

With a can-do attitude and this information to hand you should be able to operate your dream market stall successfully, securely, and safely.

 

Coming up with ideas for your first market stall

Before you can start selling and begin earning, you first need to come up with an idea for what you’re going to sell.

For a small number of people, the answer will already be obvious — such as a family business which can be expanded into new locations. But for the majority of new traders, there will be a lot of uncertainty about where to begin.

As a starting point, we suggest turning to your hobbies and interests. Consider whether there’s anything you enjoy doing in your spare time that you’d be happy to turn into a business.

Food is often a popular choice — with many traders successfully turning their passion for, for example, baking artisan cakes into a successful market stall offering. Food can be especially popular when the stall holder has a particular niche, such as providing a regional speciality — pasties, paella, asian cuisine, et cetera.

If cooking isn’t your thing, don’t worry. There are many other hobbies which can be turned into successful market stall offerings. Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

 

  • Handmade knitwear/crochet: scarves, gloves, etc
  • Artwork: sketches and paintings of the local area and landscapes
  • Handmade jewellery
  • Handmade soaps and sanitary products
  • Craft beer
  • Crafted trinkets for travellers and tourists
  • Local rocks and crystals

 

If you don’t have any hobbies or interests which would translate well into a business offering, don’t worry. There’s nothing wrong with simply selecting a product which you think works, buying it cheaply enough that you can turn a profit (such as via a wholesaler), and reselling it.

Don’t forget — when you're deciding on an idea, it’s important to consider any additional factors which may positively or negatively affect your potential success. For example, the location of your stall is very important, as you’ll want to ensure what you’re offering will be received well in the local area and aligns with local tastes. Consider also the seasonality of your offering — can it easily be impacted by the weather? It’s a silly example, but if your business is selling woolly hats, it might be wise to have a different product line for use in the summer months!

 

How to set up your first market stall

Now you’ve settled on an idea, it’s time to start thinking about how to set up your first market stall. The team here at Marketline have a lot of experience dealing with both new and veteran sellers, so we’ve outlined four initial steps you will likely need to take when starting out on your journey.

Step 1: Ensure your finances are in order

Specifically, checking you can actually afford to set up your stall (and be comfortable financially before you start to see a return on your investment). Take into account everything that will cost you money: all the equipment you will need, such any materials, produce or products you will need to buy (your stock); the stand itself, such as the table and any marketing banners; your means of transport to and from the market; insurance cover to ensure you’re protected; and of course your time.

Step 2: Create a purchase list

Once your finances are in order, it’s time to create a purchase list and begin ordering everything you will need to operate your stall. Don’t forget to order spares of key items and delicate items likely to break — this will help you avoid future delay and disruption.

Step 3: Check market rules

Once your finances are in check and you have everything you need, it can be a good idea to speak with your local market about any rules or regulations you need to be aware of, or any licenses you may need (more on this below). This will allow you to ensure you’re perfectly prepared for trading day when it comes to the paperwork and avoid any setbacks.

Step 4: Make it look attractive

Next, you’ll want to ensure your stall looks attractive! Think about your brand image, and then build from there — colours, textures, et cetera. The goal is to make your product stand out for the right reasons, so that someone will want to buy it. One of the most important questions you can ask yourself here is ‘Would I buy from my stall if I were a member of the public?

Bonus step: repeat the process

As a bonus step, it can be beneficial to think through the entire process again. This will help you spot any small mistakes, so you can feel certain you have all of your bases covered. For additional help, read our separate blog 10 Things You Should Know Before You Become a Market Trader.

 

How much does a market stall cost?

Setting up a market stall initially comes at a cost. So before you calculate how much you can earn, you first need to calculate how much you will have to spend. Consider it an investment, as many of these costs are simply unavoidable, and they will help you to have a successful business in the future.

Stock

When running a market stall, one of your key outgoings will be paying for your stock – a cost that must be incurred before you can start to make a return. It is often helpful to chart exactly how much stock you will need in advance, keeping in mind it will need to be refreshed consistently, so you know how much you will need to spend. Being aware of the price you will need to pay will help you plan running the rest of your business.

Read our guide: What is stock insurance?

Equipment

When running a market stall, there’s a good chance you will need to invest in some equipment. This could be equipment used to produce your stock; for example, if you produce chocolate, you might need a tempering machine and a whisk. The tempering machine will be a big upfront investment, but shouldn’t need to be replaced often, while the whisk will cost a fraction of the price but will need replacing periodically — which is worth keeping in mind. Or it could be equipment for the stall itself, such as the table, payment machines, and similar.

Travel

When thinking about the cost of running a market stall, don’t forget to consider the cost of travel and your vehicle. You will need to pay for travel to and from the market, and for any required trips when collecting e.g. stock. So, think about total petrol costs, costs of the vehicle itself, any potential repairs, and insurance.

Licenses and stall hire

To legally run a market stall, you will need to obtain a license from your local council. We have covered this in further detail below, but note prices are typically around the £1000 mark per annum. Also note that many markets may require you to pay for stall hire — prices at smaller markets can be as little as £20 per day, while the most popular locations (think Old Spitalfields Market) can cost up to £100 a day, depending on the time of year. Note that these prices are just typical examples, and there will be many factors that can influence the cost — such as opting for a permanent stall, which will be a cheaper option if you are trading very regularly.

Marketing

You will need to pay for the cost of any physical and digital marketing materials. For physical marketing, typical options include business cards, banners to decorate your stall, and any additional visual promotion such as decorated vehicles. For digital marketing, typical options include social media channels with paid adverts to reach a wider audience, and a website.

Insurance

Without the correct insurance protection, just one unfortunate circumstance could ruin your business. That’s why we recommend always having the necessary cover in place before you start trading. Read more about this in our section dedicated to insurance, below.

Staff wages

If you run a busy market stall, you might need to employ staff to help you manage. This might not be an immediate requirement, but do consider that hiring staff may become a very helpful solution in the long run as your business grows. The cost behind hiring staff will of course depend on the hours you require them to work, and the type of work they will be required to perform.

Here’s a comparison of two market stalls at two different cost points, using typical figures for one year. Remember these figures are not necessarily an indication of profitability.

 

Fruit & veg stall

Bespoke jewellery stall

Stock

£3000

£8000

Equipment

£500

£1000

Travel

£500

£500

Market stall license

£1000

£1000

Market stall hire

£5000 (typical location)

£17,000 (premium location like Spitalfields)

Marketing

£200

£1000

Insurance

£200

£200

Staff wages

Dependent on hours

Dependent on hours

Total

£5,400

£28,700

 

How much does a market stall license cost? 

To run a market stall, you will need to obtain a license from your local council. You can do this by visiting GOV.UK. Prices differ depending on area, but typical costs are in the £1000 mark, paid annually. If you fail to obtain a license, the Government notes “you could be prosecuted for trading illegally. Your goods could be seized and you could receive a fine”.

How much money can you earn running a market stall?

When it comes to how much you can earn running a market stall, you are only limited by the popularity of your product and the amount of stock you can turn over. This means that if you have a very popular product, and you have the necessary stock and man-power to handle demand, the sky really is the limit.

Remember the importance of locating your stall somewhere with high footfall, the impact the time of year can have on the popularity of your product, and how the prices you set can impact demand and final profit.

For more information about salary, hours, and what it takes to be successful see this helpful article from GOV.UK

How to insure your market stall, and the types of insurance available

Without the appropriate insurance cover in place, just one turn of bad luck could cost you your business. Fortunately, arranging the necessary insurance for your market stall is easy — just click here to get a free quote online from Marketline. Cover can be arranged online or over the phone, and if you have any questions or concerns, the Marketline team will be happy to help.

When deciding what insurance works best for you, you first need to learn about the different options available. We look at each type of insurance you can arrange through Marketline briefly below, but for a more in-depth take check out our separate blog — Do I need insurance for a market stall?

Public Liability Insurance

If a person suffers an injury or damage to their property as a result of your market stall, they could pursue legal action against you. Public liability insurance can protect businesses against the costs incurred when this happens.

Stock Insurance

In the unfortunate event your stock becomes damaged, your Stock Insurance will cover the cost to replace it. Given how vital stock is to market traders, this is an essential form of cover for many businesses.

Van & Truck Insurance

If your van or truck experiences a fault, with Van & Truck Insurance you’ll be able to get back to business quickly and without incurring significant financial loss. In certain circumstances, the cover can be used to rectify the fault, or for a temporary replacement vehicle to be arranged.

Car Insurance

Car Insurance works much like Van & Truck Insurance but for your motor car instead — because here at Marketline we understand many traders make use of a car as their primary vehicle instead. In certain circumstances, the cover can be used to rectify the fault, or for a temporary replacement vehicle to be arranged.

Household Insurance

You can also arrange your Household insurance through Marketline, with cover for both buildings and contents!

 

 

 

Any views or opinions expressed above are for guidance only and are expressed in generic terms. They are not intended as a substitute for readers taking appropriate professional advice relevant to individual circumstances. We would always encourage readers to seek professional advice.

 

 

Written by : Luke Glassford

Please note that we are closed on Sundays
Please note that we are closed on Saturdays
Apologies! We are having problems with our phone lines. If you can’t get through please email hello@marketline.co.uk and we will call you back!