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Food & drink

Market trader

Market traders sell goods such as food, clothing and crafts and offer services like mobile phone repairs.

Annual Salary


Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

44 to 46 variable

You could work: in your own business; managing your own hours

Future employment

There will be 2% fewer Market trader jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

On a typical day you might:

  • visit suppliers to buy products and agree prices
  • unload your van and set up your stall
  • encourage customers to buy
  • take money for goods and give out change
  • keep records of goods bought and sold
  • pack up your stall at the end of each day
  • work out if you need to buy more stock to sell

Working environment

You could work on a market stall.

Your working environment may be physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers.

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly
  • training with a business organisation

You could do a college course, which may help if you're setting up your own business.

Courses include:

  • Level 1 Award in Principles of Business Start Up
  • Level 2 Award in Setting Up Your Own Business
  • Level 2 Certificate in Aspects of Preparing to Set Up in a New Business

For more information

You could start by working on a stall part time or at car boot sales. You'll learn on the job from experienced traders, sharing their knowledge and watching their sales methods. Once you've got experience, you could apply to set up your own stall.

Direct application

You can contact your local council for information on licensing rules and how to apply for one of their market stall. For example, you may have to rent a stall on a casual basis before you can apply permanently.

Other routes

You could contact your local further education college as they may run short self-employment courses. They can also direct you to community organisations in your local area that help people who want to start their own business.

If you're 18 to 30 years old, you may be able to find help and support to set up a business through the Prince's Trust.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Career tips

Do your research on what sells well. You may have an advantage if you're offering something different from other traders.

You can find useful short courses and free resources to help you start your own business on sites like:FutureLearn; Barclays Lifeskills

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the National Market Traders Federation for advice and training to support your business.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a market trader and setting up your business through the National Market Traders Federation.

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

You could also move into market stall lettings and management.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • the ability to work well with others
  • persuading and negotiating skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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