Market traders sell goods and services from street stalls or indoor markets.

What does a market trader do?

This role will vary depending on location and what is being sold. Typically, this job will involve some of these tasks:

  • make early morning trips to a wholesale market to buy fresh produce
  • visit other suppliers or warehouses and agree prices for goods
  • unload the van and set up the stall
  • stand behind the stall and encourage customers to buy
  • take money for goods and give change
  • pack up the stall at the end of the day
  • stocktake and decide what replacements are needed
  • keep records of goods bought and sold

What do I need to do to become a market trader?

You don’t usually need any academic qualifications to become a market trader, although for some food sales you may need a qualification in food safety for retail or catering. Basic maths and English skills are useful and previous experience in retail or customer service can help. Your personality and ability as a salesperson are more important than qualifications.

Market stalls are usually rented from the market operator, which may be the local authority. It can be difficult to get a regular stall on an established market, so you could start by helping out on a stall on a part-time basis or by doing car boot sales. With this experience you could become a casual market trader, arriving at the market early and queuing for an available pitch. This may lead to getting a regular stall.

You could also contact your local authority to find out how they let their market stalls. You may stand a better chance if you’re selling something different from other traders, as authorities set limits on the number of stalls selling the same products.

To be a market trader, you’ll usually need:

  • a driving licence, and a vehicle such as a small van
  • money to buy stock
  • public liability insurance
You may also find it useful to take a short business start-up course run by a local college, adult education centre or enterprise organisation.

Related skills

  • Business management
  • Creativity
  • Interpersonal skills
  • IT
  • Numeracy
  • Physical fitness

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

Local authorities often run large outdoor or covered markets, town square and high-street markets, and indoor markets with permanent units. Other market venues include privately-run markets that operate only at weekends, Sunday markets, farmers’ markets, special bank holiday fairs and tourist markets.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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