Lord Sugar famously went from market stall seller to one of the UK’s wealthiest people. Chris Dawson, the billionaire owner of The Range, started out selling this way too. There’s no doubt that setting up a market stall can be a low-risk way to start your own business. If your pitch is in the right place, and the product is good, it can yield high returns and lead to great success. But you can’t just turn up and start selling. Getting a market trader licence is the first piece of red tape you need to get sorted. Read on to discover everything you need to do to get a market trader licence.
What is a market trader licence?
A market trader licence is an official document issued by your local council. It gives permission for you to trade at a registered market. It is different from a street traders licence.
There are three types of market trader licence. A casual licence, a temporary licence, and a permanent licence.
- A casual licence is suitable for someone who is not planning to be a regular trader. Note that pitch fees are often higher for anyone with a casual licence compared to a temporary or permanent licence.
- A temporary licence may be valid for just a couple of days or six months. It is often issued as a sort of trial before you are granted a permanent licence. You usually have to hold a temporary market trader licence first before you can apply for a permanent licence.
- A permanent licence is typically valid for 12 months.
How do I get a fixed pitch at a market?
You’ll typically be offered a fixed pitch once you get a permanent licence. If you have a temporary or casual licence, you may not be offered a set pitch.
Are there any restrictions?
Yes. Your licence will specify things like where and when you can trade. It will also determine what you can sell. If you do want to change what you sell, you need to apply in writing.
Where do I apply for a market trader licence?
You need to contact the local council where you want to set up your stall. You can find your local council here.
How much does it cost?
The cost of applying for a licence varies from local council to council.
What happens if I set up a stall without a licence?
If you don’t have a valid licence, you can be fined. Your goods can also be seized, leaving you severely out of pocket.
How long will my market trader licence stay valid?
How often you need to renew your licence depends on the type of licence you hold. For example, have you applied for a temporary licence or a permanent one? Different councils also have different rules on how often the licence should be renewed. Typically, a permanent licence will need to be renewed every 12 months. If you’re not sure if your licence needs to be renewed, contact your local council.
What do I need to apply for a market trader licence?
What you need to bring when you apply to the council for your licence can vary. It could include:
- An application form
- An application fee
- Passport photos
- Proof of your ID, such as a driving licence or passport
- Your national insurance number (you can find this on a Benefits Agency document or a payslip)
- Proof of your address, such as recent utility bills
- Samples of the product you intend to sell
- Proof you hold valid market trader insurance including public liability cover
Why do I need public liability insurance for market traders?
Many local councils will require proof that you hold valid public liability insurance before you can be issued with a licence. This insurance covers you financially if any member of the public is injured or property is damaged because of something to do with your business. It’s important because it protects you financially from expensive legal costs. And it ensures that the public can get the compensation they deserve if there is an accident.
If you’re not sure if your local council requires market traders to have public liability insurance, get in touch with them.
What other insurance do I need?
As well as public liability insurance, you may want to consider other insurance products to protect your financial situation. For example, if you use a van to transport your goods, you’ll need commercial van insurance. Money cover can safeguard your takings at your stall and on the way to the bank. And if you employ any members of staff, you usually need employer’s liability insurance by law, or you could be fined.
Where can I buy value for money market trader insurance?
Like all insurance, it pays to shop around when it comes to market trader insurance. If you don’t know where to start, use a specialist broker like Park Insurance to do the donkey-work for you. Park Insurance is an independent broker, which means our team will ring around some of the UK’s most trusted insurance companies to negotiate the best deal for you. If you’re not sure what cover you require, we can guide you, so you don’t pay for anything you don’t need. And if you ever do have to make a claim, you also have peace of mind that a dedicated claims manager will sort it out for you. That means no hassle so you can focus on your stall instead.
Get a free insurance quote
At Park Insurance we’ve been helping market traders like you to build successful retail empires however big your ambitions are. We understand your trade inside-out and know exactly what risks you face and what insurance you need legally and to protect yourself financially. If you do need to make a claim, rest assured that your dedicated claims handler will take control. They’ll sort the claim out quickly, leaving you to focus on getting back to selling again. Call our helpful commercial insurance team on 0117 9556835 or get a quote.