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5 min read

How To Become A Market Trader

Becoming a market trader can be an exciting and lucrative business, not to mention being a very sociable job where you meet new people from all walks of life in each working day.
Written by
Joanna Clare
Content Manager
Published on
January 16, 2024

Becoming a market trader can be an exciting and lucrative business, not to mention being a very sociable job where you meet new people from all walks of life in each working day. Working for yourself and doing something that you are passionate about can feel immensely liberating and satisfying. However, it does hold certain challenges such as extremes of weather, long days with early starts and the constant financial unpredictability of if you can reach your targets and sell what you intended to eager customers. It can also be physically demanding as you load and unload your goods each time that you trade.

You will need to register with HMRC to become self-employed as soon as you can - there is quite a lot of information on this topic on the government website so you can refer to this if you are feeling uncertain about what to do.

To trade at a market stall you will need a licence from the local council of the area in which you will be trading from. The licence, which will need to be renewed from time to time,  can be temporary or permanent, usually starting with a temporary one first but it will hold certain restrictions such as when and where and what you can trade. Check with your local council as their terms and conditions may vary.

You may also need to have adequate stock insurance, public liability insurance and employers liability insurance as well as a right to work within the UK. If you decide to sell food items then you should have a food hygiene rating (again, check with the local council what their requirements are) and have undergone food hygiene training to a specified level. Sometimes when selling food, you may need to have a vehicle specifically for catering and these must be compliant with current regulations, as should all equipment that you are using.

Decide what you are going to sell and what will set you apart from others. Visit markets and see how traders attract their customers and what strategies they use regarding how they sell their goods. Look at the layouts of the stalls, the packaging, note if free samples are available so customers can try before they buy and then take some time making your own notes to see what you could do better.

Research suppliers and ensure that if you need to purchase items, that it will prove to be cost effective for you. Take into account factors such as bulk buying discounts and delivery fees and don’t always opt for the cheapest option - you need to be happy with what you are selling if this is to be a successful and worthwhile business.

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