Setting up a farmers’ market booth can let you turn your interests into a business. Recently, there has been a greater appreciation for locally sourced produce and craft products. This means that going to the market could be an excellent opportunity for you. There are some things that you need to consider, though, so this guide will share some tips to help you get started.

Learn how to start a farmers’ market booth. This article covers:

  • Choosing what to sell
  • Planning your start
  • Licences and food safety
  • Budgeting your stall

Choosing what to sell

The first thing you will need to do to prepare your booth is deciding what you would like to sell. This isn’t as simple as it sounds, though. You have to think about where you will get your produce from, if there’s a gap in the market for it and whether it will sell.

Sourcing the product

To decide what to sell, you need to be sure that you will fill your stall every time you go to market. This means choosing products where you will have access to reliable sources. 

Many farmers sell their own vegetables, for example. You could also purchase produce from farmers and change it in some way to sell at the market. An example of this could be buying potatoes, turning them into chips and packaging them as a more convenient thing for people to buy.

Unique selling point

For a new product, it’s important to have a USP (unique selling point). This means finding a way to sell something that is either different or better than other products on the market. 

Your USP could be the product or what you have done to it. For example, instead of just selling a punnet of strawberries, you could identify that there aren’t many desserts being sold. With that, you could decide to cover them in chocolate and sell them one at a time.

Target audience

When you choose a product, identify a market for it. Carry out research into who attends the farmers market you want to sell in. You could do this in person by going there and asking customers to do a short survey, where you ask them about themselves and what they like to see more of. 

Alternatively, you could ask other sellers at the market what they have noticed about the people who buy their products. You will increase your chances of selling out your booth if you choose to sell a product that people who attend the market would like to purchase.

Planning your start

Before you open your booth, make sure that you have a plan in place for how you intend to begin. This plan should include the amount of inventory you will start with and promote what you are offering.

Inventory

When you decide on your initial inventory, starting with a limited amount of stock might be helpful. This way, you avoid being stuck with a lot of products that didn’t sell.

If you start with a limited inventory early, you will learn what the popular products are so you can start building on them. Eventually, you can always begin bringing more with you to the market when more things sell.

Promotion

It may be helpful for you to carry out some marketing for your booth to increase your likelihood of success. After choosing your product and audience, you can give your stall a name to help your customers remember it. All of your promotion is likely to be local, so use community channels.

Some examples include posters in libraries and community centres, taking out advertising on local radio stations or posting on community pages on Facebook. With a localised approach, you can make your marketing relatable by including terms and language often used in your area. 

Licences and food safety

An essential set of priorities for setting up a booth at a farmers market is ensuring that you have the correct permissions and assurances. Two of the most vital are having the proper licence and following food safety guidelines.

Market stall licence

You need to get a specific licence from your local council. There are different options which include temporary, casual, and permanent permits. 

Many councils require you to display your market stall licence at your booth. Not having one means that you can also be fined and have your goods seized to stop you from illegally trading. To apply for the licence, you can use the UK Government site.

Food safety

Many farmers’ markets also include health inspectors to check you follow food safety guidelines. 

To adhere to the Food Standards Agency advice, consider:

  • Cross-contamination
  • Cleaning properly
  • Chilling safely
  • Cooking appropriately 

If you can guarantee that you are going to follow these points, then it should mean that your stall will be able to safely operate within the market.

Budgeting your stall with Countingup

Before you open your booth, set a budget and monitor whether you can stick to it or not. To do this, put together a year-round plan for the expectation of your business and use a separate current account to manage your finances.

Sales forecast

To set up a plan for the year ahead, you can put together a sales forecast for your stall. This means estimating the number of customers you expect to have and the amount each will be spending.

With the year ahead laid out, you can benefit from cash flow insights if you use the Countingup accounting app. These will routinely allow you to check your stall’s performance and how closely it matches your initial expectations.

Managing your finances

To keep track of your business’ costs, you should open a separate business current account like the one offered by Countingup.

The Countingup app means that your account and accounting features are all in one place. So, for example, when you spend money on promoting your stall, you can use the expense categorisation feature to see how much is spent on marketing. By having the ability to easily manage your business’ finances, you are in an excellent position to carry on growing it.

Start your three-month free trial today. 
Find out more here.