Markets are popular for having a different variety of businesses in one place with items you may not ordinarily find at your local shopping centre. Due to this, markets tend to draw significant crowds making them a perfect place for anyone looking to sell or promote their goods. 

In this article, we’ll go through everything you need to know and how to sell at a market stall.

What Is A Market Stall? 

A market stall is a temporary setup allowing its owners to sell their products to visitors. It is often aligned with a set of other stalls, in a larger area that has been set up for a commercial event (such as hosting a market).

It’s similar to a pop-up shop, in the sense that it can be situated anywhere for a short period of time. 

As these events tend to attract large crowds, market stalls are often used to test out a product to see how well received it is with the general public. Additionally, business owners can sometimes set up market stalls to promote their products.

How To Sell At A Market Stall 

The process of setting up your market stall will depend on the market itself. Most markets will require you to book a spot for your stall ahead of time and pay a fee. This can usually be done online or by making a phone call. 

It’s wise to go in person to check out the spot you will be selling at as well, so you can prepare for it. Be sure to ask about the nearest bathroom stall and things like access to water supply. 

It’s also important to decide on your prices, payment options, stock and potential sample offerings before the big day!

Rules For Selling At Markets 

Another crucial aspect to running a market stall is understanding the rules. Every market will have a different set of rules. To avoid violating any policies, make sure you understand and abide by them. 

For example, some markets may have a ban on certain items, types of advertising or a pricing maximum. Beware of the rules and adjust your conduct to meet their requirements if necessary.

What Legals Do Market Stall Holders Need To Be Aware Of? 

Aside from market rules, there are some legal regulations markets stallholders will need to keep in mind. We’ve listed some key considerations below.

Australian Consumer Law

Regardless of whether you are selling at a brick and mortar store, online or at a market stall, Australian Consumer Law (ACL) regulations apply all the same. This means you will need to ensure your practices are in compliance with the legislation and don’t bring harm to your customers in any way. 

Some main areas of the ACL include:

If you need more clarification regarding your obligations under the ACL, contact us today for a chat!

Insurance

You may be required  to have insurance by some market hosts in order to set up a stall at their venue. If this is the case, then look into the type of insurance that is more likely to be appropriate for your business. 

Common options include public liability insurance, product liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance.

Licences and Permits For Market Stalls

Certain industries require both individuals and businesses to obtain licences and permits before they begin selling certain products. For example, selling food at market stalls will require a licence (more on this later). 

Licences are likely to depend on your state and local council regulations, so it’s important to research them and get licenced or qualified before setting up your stall to ensure you are operating legally. 

We’ve written more about which licence you may need for your type of business

Do I Need An ABN To Sell At Markets? 

Whether you need an Australian Business Number (ABN)  to sell at markets depends largely on your reason for being there. Essentially, if your purpose for selling at the market is simply recreational and more of a hobby rather than a business, then you are unlikely to require an ABN. 

Hobbies are done in an individual’s own time for personal reasons and the prices charged to customers is simply to make up for the cost of production. This means there is no need for formal registration or business structures.

So, at what point does a hobby become a business?

A business, on the other hand, is purposed towards making a profit. If you are running a business, then you are required to have an ABN to sell at markets (you may even already have one). 

A business is distinguished from a hobby largely by its processes. This means that regardless of whether  you are keeping books, the planning and organisation of your venture will determine whether it’s a business or not. 

To learn more about distinguishing between a business and hobby, click here

What Can I Sell At Markets? 

You can find almost anything at markets, from food to hand crafted jewellery – there’s often room for all kinds of goods! However, each industry has their own requirements and considerations when it comes to selling those products to the public. 

We talk about a few of them here – keep reading to know more. 

Selling Art At Markets

If you’re an artist thinking of selling your art in a market stall, it’s good to be aware of your rights regarding resale, ownership and copyright. As long as your work is completely original (if not, you may need permission to licence the IP), then you are within your rights to sell it or make copies of it for selling. 

Copyright is applied automatically to all original works. However, sometimes additional steps are needed to secure greater protections.  

If you are making copies, then you may want to enforce your intellectual property (IP) rights by registering your work as a design through IP Australia. It can be a complex process, so it’s best to talk to an IP lawyer  for this. 

Selling Photos At Markets 

Another relatively common stall at markets is for the sale of photos. These can be photos taken by digital camera or even live sketches and paintings. 

When conducting this kind of stall, you might want to consider getting your clients to sign a Model Release Form. This way, if you want to continue to use those photos for promotions or commercial purposes (for example, displaying it to other customers), then you are legally covered to do so. 

Selling Alcohol At Farmers Markets

Alcoholic beverages are sometimes sold at markets, either with food or on their own. You will need to obtain a liquor licence to sell alcohol at your stall. 

The kind of licence you need will depend heavily on your individual circumstances and it’s essential to get the right one in order to legally sell alcohol. 

Liquor licences also vary by state. For example, in NSW, you can get the pop-up bar and events licence which will allow you to sell alcohol for up to 12 weeks. In order to be sure, it’s advisable to have the help of a legal professional

Selling Plants At Markets

If selling plants at markets is something you’re interested in, then you need to be aware of plant breeders’ rights. Much like trade marks and other forms of IP, the rights to a particular breed of plant can be registered with IP Australia, giving the owner exclusive rights to use that variety. 

When other people use it without their permissions, this will be seen as infringement of plant breeders’ rights

In order to see what plants you can use or you might want to register the rights for a plant yourself, click here.

Selling Food At Markets

Food is one of the most popular items to be sold at markets. In order to sell food at  a market, you will need to obtain a licence that allows you to sell food at temporary events (if your stall is there to stay for a while, then you will likely require a different licence). 

Food licences are issued by the state, so check out the requirements for your respective state to attain a licence. Local councils also tend to have their own regulations so it’s important to be up to date with them as well. 

The kinds of food you sell are also likely to impact the regulations you are obligated to. If you are selling packaged food such as baked goods and jams, it’s your duty under the ACL to label these foods correctly. Be transparent regarding any ingredients and the source of them so consumers can make informed decisions.

Like other products, you also want to make sure you are not misleading consumers about what you’re selling simply to induce a purchase. Again, this is a breach of the ACL. 

If you are selling food that is ready for consumption, you will need to comply with the Australian food safety standards. In addition to this, your market organiser may also have their own regulations regarding food, so it’s your responsibility to familiarise yourself with these requirements. . 

Selling Dog Treats At Markets

Selling dog treats at markets also requires you to meet the labelling requirements under the ACL. Under the law, you are required to be transparent about the ingredients and manufacturing of the treats (as well as any other information you think may be relevant). 

The Pet Food Industry Association Australia (PFIAA) has compiled guidelines on pet food safety. If you’re selling dog treats at any type of market, it’s best to be on the safe side as you don’t want to be held liable for the effects of your products. 

Selling Cosmetics At Markets

Cosmetics such as makeup, cleansers, cream or face rollers can find a good audience at markets.  Before you begin counting profits though, it is necessary to keep in mind the regulations when selling cosmetic products.

Firstly, as we have mentioned before, your products will need to be labelled appropriately in accordance with the ACL.

Secondly, it’s vitally important to make sure the chemicals and other ingredients in products are in line with Australian regulations. That means not using materials or ingredients that are considered dangerous or have not been approved. Key legislation to look out for include the:

There can be a lot of information to process. If you have any questions, reach out to a legal professional. Alternatively, read our guide to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) if you’re unsure about your obligations here. 

Additionally, you may want to consider adding a disclaimer to your cosmetic products. Despite fulfilling all the labelling requirements, there’s no guaranteeing what consumers may do with the products after they have purchased it. 

As an additional security measure, some businesses add a disclaimer to limit their liability. For example, a face cleanser may have a disclaimer stating the product is not for consumption and the business takes no responsibility for anyone who doesn’t use it safely. 

If adding a disclaimer to a product is something you’re interested in, talk to one of our legal experts today to have one drafted!

Selling Jewellery At Markets

Jewellery can usually be found being sold at markets, either handmade or purchased wholesale. Much like other items, it’s important to be clear and transparent to consumers when selling them a product. 

Jewellery is an item where it is pretty easy to have a misunderstanding! Therefore, if stones are ‘opal inspired’ but not actually made out of real opal, it is crucial to be clear to customers about this in order to avoid getting accused of misleading or deceptive conduct.   

Key Takeaways

Selling at markets can be a worthwhile experience. However, it’s important to go about it in a manner that is compliant with all rules and regulations. To summarise what we’ve discussed:

  • A market stall is a temporary shop set up a larger location
  • Every market stall host has their own way of taking on bookings, as well as regulations for stall-owners
  • Consider getting insurance (some organisers will require this)
  • If your stall is a hobby and not a business, then you will not require an ABN
  • You will need to apply for relevant licences and permits, which usually depends on state and locality 
  • There are a number of different things you can sell at markets, from food to cosmetics! Each category of products has their own legal considerations. It’s vital to be aware of them and follow through accordingly

If you would like a consultation on selling at markets, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or team@sprintlaw.com.au for a free, no-obligations chat.

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