Steps to Start and Setup your Farmers Market Business

  1.   Decide on your Signature Product

Start with ONE product and get really good at producing and selling that ONE thing at a profit. It better to have more demand than you have product before adding another product.  Many small businesses think if they aren’t selling enough of one product, they add another to diversify but it becomes more challenging and exhausting until they quit.  

  1.   Know the Law has all the Information you need. 

Some homemade food products require approval from the County Health Department under the Cottage Law.  You’ll need a Idaho Sales Tax number either as a Temporary Seller Permit (if you do 3 or less events a year) or a Permanent Number where you submit Sales Tax to the state on a regular basis. 

Of course you’ll need an EIN or use your Social Security Number to register your Business with the Secretary of State office, online.

  1. Open a Separate Business Banking Account

Makes things easier for taxes and to pay required sales tax.

  1. Set Up a Payment Processing System

Most customers want to use Venmo, Apple Pay or Square.  Be sure to link your POS (Point of Sale) system to your Business Banking Account.  Square can accept ALL types of cards including Apple Pay, if you get the tap feature.  Remember credit card fees are part of doing business.  

A business Venmo account and Square have fees, around 3%, so you’ll need to absorb the cost or increase your prices (they are a tax write-off).  It’s illegal to charge the customer additionally for that fee.  

Also have Cash on hand to give change back because people still use cash at Farmers Markets.

  1. Liability Insurance is required if selling food.

This one is self-explanatory. Check with your favorite insurance agent for details.

Create a Welcoming, Attractive and Inviting Vendor Space 

1. Arranging your products is important
Use shelves, racks or boxes to display items at varying heights to create visual interest.  Group similar products together and use signage with prices because people don’t like to ask about pricing.

 2. Create an Inviting Atmosphere:
Use table clothes and colorful signage. Every booth needs a sign to identify your business. There are many online printing services or Zippy Ship N Copy in Rexburg next to Little Caesar Pizza is quick and adequately priced.   

3.   Use Signage
with clear, easy-to-read fonts to display your business name, product prices, and any special offers or promotions.  

4.  Engage with Customers:   
Smile. Stand and put down phones when customers approach. Be ready to provide information about your products, ingredients, or production methods.  Above all, be friendly. Customers want to create a relationship with the vendors and want to know your story.

5. Keep Your Space Clean and Organized
Regularly restock products, tidy up displays, and dispose of any trash or debris left behind or dropped in the fairgrounds. 

6. Promote Your Brand: 
Business cards are helpful.  If you’re on social media or have a website, ask people to follow you.   It’s a way to reinforce your brand identity and encourage repeat business. 

7. Consider offering discounts or loyalty incentives
Offer something for your customers who sign up for your mailing list or follow you on social media.  People love a ‘deal’ even if it’s just a $1 savings.