Setting up a market stall is a fantastic way for budding entrepreneurs to enter and test out a market, regardless of the level of experience they have. Setting one up is relatively straight forward and the barriers to entry are considerably lower than many other types of business. Moreover, a stall can be run as a hobby rather than a full time vocation, meaning there is no need to take the risk of prematurely quitting an otherwise successful career.
These lower risks coupled with the lower barriers to entry mean that market stall selling is an attractive proposition to many would-be business men and women. However, as most have little to no experience of selling at a market, understanding the costs involved (and hence accurately budgeting) can be difficult to new market traders. This guide aims to address that issue and detail the costs involved with setting up a market stall.
The first thing to establish is that a lot can be achieved from a market stall on a relatively tight budget. Most costs can be kept to a minimum, meaning most of what you take goes on purchasing new products to sell or can be retained as profit. It is important to stress however, that setting up a market stall is no easy street to a profitable business and one should not rely on a market stall business as their sole source of income when first starting out.
The Pitch Cost
The cost of renting the pitch is the first fixed cost that a new market trader is likely to encounter. The price of hiring a pitch will be dictated by a number of factors, not least the popularity and location of the marketplace itself. Other influencing factors include the days of the week the pitch can be used, whether the market is indoor or outdoor and the size of the market as a whole.
Whilst many marketplaces will provide a basic stall to set up on, there are several other costs involved with setting up the actual stall. The cost of display boards, lighting, decorations and furniture are all things that need taking into account.
If the marketplace does not provide a stall, this should also be factored into the cost. Bear in mind that markets that do not provide their own stalls often charge lower fees; something potentially beneficial for traders who wish to move around from site to site.
The type of product on sale will dictate the licenses a market stall trader needs to have in his or her possession, each of which will come at a cost. Many councils require market stall traders to have a specific license to operate in their authority and things like food stuffs and alcohol require further licenses on top of that.
Setting up as a sole trader or small business, keeping accounts and ensuring enough tax is paid is also a necessary evil of trading on a market stall.
The most obvious variable cost for any market trader is the cost of their products. It goes without saying that the more one sells, the more one has to spend on new goods. The size of the margin between cost price and the price at which a product sells will determine how much is left over for fixed costs such as rent and of course, how much is left over as profit at the end of the day.
Finally, the cost of marketing is one that is sometimes overlooked by market traders despite being a near-essential operating cost. Without a well-managed marketing budget it is incredibly difficult to grow as a business and attract new customers, as well as retain existing ones.
Marketing should take place both online and offline to attract the widest possible array of customers and now, more than ever, a social media presence is incredibly important to new market traders just starting out. Fortunately, marketing can be done on a tight budget as many social media platforms are free and website hosting is as cheap as it has ever been.
On the other hand, a market stall is very much an offline business and so offline marketing should not be completely abandoned for the digital world. Even simple avenues of advertising such as banners, boards and fliers can all attract new customers and should not be ignored.