Market Stalls – A Beginners Set-up Guide!

Stall picture 

A guide to setting up your stall from purchasing the frame to selecting the correct cover.


Market stalls are a very popular and economical way of selling products; they are inexpensive and easy to run. The good thing is they can be set up almost anywhere and can be extremely portable and used in all weathers. A lot of business owners find the fact that, when compared with a static shop, overheads such as electricity and staff are drastically reduced. Of course you will need any applicable licenses; permission and paperwork from the relevant authorities will be requires to set up the stall at specific locations so please do not attempt it without them.

Here is a simple list of steps to setting up your shop; hopefully it will be a good starting point to work from.

  • The first step is to buy a frame. Make sure you measure the area in which you want to set-up; many people end up buying structures that are for too big for their purpose. Frames come in a huge range of sizes and each company differs in its approach to manufacturing.
  • It sounds silly, but please take advice from the company you purchased it from regarding setting the frame up. Often shipped out as do-it-yourself kits, the structures will have to be put together and it can be tricky so be sure to practice the steps involved before your first day of trading. Try not to modify it as companies will not accept returns if you have done so.Blue/White Tarpaulin
  • Finding a cover can be difficult; some bespoke sheets can be very expensive and cannot be used for alternative purposes. Manufacturers however do often do tops for their specific design. Make sure you find a decent grade sheet (at least 150gsm) as anything less will not tend to last very long. Covers normally carry a striped pattern (green, white, blue or red), however you do not have to stick to traditional methods; all sorts of patterns and colours can be used to help stand out from the crowd. If you wish to purchase a standard tarpaulin to go over your shop (it is very popular and usually the cheapest option) there there are a few simple rules and the diagram (below) can help you pick the correct one. Please make sure there is a water run-off when installing so that rain does not pool on top and cause damage.

Striped Tarps

Picking a Tarpaulin Cover

You need to know the length, width and depth (as shown in the diagram below) in order to work out the overall size of the sheet. Most will want to leave the front part of the shop open and therefore the sheet does not need to go over this part, unless you would like it to. The formulae for the correct size are as follows.

Side 1 – Height + Width + Height

Side 2 – Depth + Height

Market Stall Set-up Diagram

 Securing Your Tarpaulin

The suggestion is to use two methods. The first is using bungee/rope through the eyelets to secure the sheet to the poles of the frame. Once it’s secure you can then use metal clamps as extra protection, clipping any loose fabric to the structure.


The last thing to do is start selling. Good luck!

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