Thinking about selling your goods at a farmers market, craft show, or flea market? There are a lot of steps, costs, and considerations you should know before you get started. Read how much the process really costs and how to properly prepare for selling at local markets.

Thinking about selling your goods at a farmers market, craft show, or flea market? There are a lot of steps, costs, and considerations you should know before you get started. Read how much the process really costs and how to properly prepare for selling at local markets.

 

If your small business doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar location, taking advantage of foot traffic to boost sales sounds like a far reach. But at local markets – such as farmers markets, craft shows, or flea markets – you have that physical store benefit without the expensive real estate commitment.

But selling local markets isn’t free or easy either. It takes a lot of research, time, and money before you can start reaching customers. The process doesn’t vary too much between different types of markets, so let’s take a close look at the true cost of selling at a farmers market.

How Much it Costs to Start Selling at a Farmers Market

As with everything you read online, take information with a grain of salt and make sure to do your own research specific to your state, desired market, and business industry. Here is a list of some of the costs you should be aware of before you start the process:

    • You’ll need to spend a lot of time visiting your desired markets, talking with other vendors, waiting for an open booth, and more. If you’re swamped with your business as it is, you might need to hire some help.
    • Application fees vary between each market, but expect to pay one even if you don’t get a spot. Sometimes you might even need to pay a processing fee that could cost you $100 just to get on the waiting list.
    • Permits can cost hundreds of dollars, and you might need to apply for more than one. Wait to apply for permits until you’ve been accepted into a market so you don’t waste your money. Permit requirements vary between states and counties, so make sure to check which ones you will need.
    • You might need to write off samples. Many local markets, especially non-produce goods for farmers markets, will require that you come and present samples of your goods before a jury of the organization. When you do finally get a booth, you will also get customers who want to sample your products at the table.
    • Stall fees are what makes selling at local markets risky because you pay a flat fee instead of a percentage of sales. Expect to pay anywhere from $20-$50 a week or $500 for a six month period at local farmers markets. Craft expos may charge upwards of $300 for the duration of each event. Spots are high in demand, so organizations want to make sure there aren’t any dead-weight businesses. The key is to balance how much inventory to bring and what price points to offer so that you don’t lose money each time.

 

  • Insurance is the invisible cost that many don’t think about until they need coverage. If there are any incidents from theft to injury, you’ll want to make sure your booth is covered by insurance before you set up.

 

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