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Market trader Stall holder

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Market traders sell goods like food or clothing, or services like mobile phone repairs, from market or street stalls.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: Variable average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll find it useful to have experience in customer service and handling cash.

There can be a lot of competition for stalls on an established market. To get started, you could work on a stall part time or at car boot sales.

You'll usually need a driving licence and your own car or van.

You can get advice on setting up your own business.

Depending on where you work, you’ll need to apply to your local council for:

If you're selling food, you'll need to:

The Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS) has information about setting up and offers advice about driving licences and regulations for towing catering vehicles.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent sales and negotiation skills
  • the creativity to set up an attractive stall
  • business and maths skills  
  • spreadsheet or bookkeeping skills

3. What you'll do

You could work on a market managed by a local authority or a privately run market like a farmers' market.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • visiting suppliers to buy products and agree prices
  • unloading your van and setting up your stall
  • encouraging customers to buy
  • taking money for goods and giving out change
  • keeping records of goods bought and sold
  • packing up your stall at the end of each day
  • stocktaking

You'll need to keep up to date with trading laws and local regulations.

4. Salary

Income will vary according to your hours, location, type of goods or services, and how good you are at selling.

You'll need to pay pitch fees out of any earnings.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually start around 5am and finish around 4.30pm. You'll work Saturdays and possibly Sundays.

You'll also spend time travelling to buy and collect goods.

You'll be self-employed so you'll decide how many days to work. You may have a stall at one market for the whole week or different markets on different days.

You could work in an indoor market or outdoors. You'll work in all weather conditions.

The job is physically demanding as you'll need to lift and carry goods.

6. Career path and progression

You could expand your business by taking on staff and starting up new stalls.

You could also move into market management.

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Last updated: 11 September 2018