Market trader

Market traders sell goods like food or clothing, or services like mobile phone repairs, from market or street stalls.

Annual Salary


Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588
(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 4% fewer Market trader jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • visiting suppliers to buy products and agree prices
  • unloading your van and setting up your stall
  • encouraging customers to buy
  • taking money for goods and giving out change
  • keeping records of goods bought and sold
  • packing up your stall at the end of each day
  • stocktaking

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

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

  • Level 1 Business Start Up
  • Level 2 Certificate in 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 how they let their market stalls, licensing requirements and how to apply. For example, you may have to rent a stall on a casual basis before you can apply for a permanent pitch.

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.

Professional and industry bodies

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

Further information

You can get more advice about becoming a market trader and setting up your business through the National Market Traders Federation and Business is Great.

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

You could also move into market management.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

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