What is a market stall?
A market stall is a temporary structure that you set up to sell your products or services. They are usually set up for a short period of time at a particular market or event, before being taken down and removed.
Setting up a market stall
Whether you're selling cupcakes at your local farmers' market or beaded necklaces at the weekend craft fair, it's likely that you'll need some type of registration, licence, permit or insurance to run your stall.
Licences and permits are important to help protect you and the investments you've made in your business. To help you get started, we've put together some information on common licences you may need to run a stall at your local market.
The information is intended as a starting point. It's important to do your own research to ensure that you're compliant with the state, territory or local council you're operating in.
Footpath usage/obstruction permit
If your market stall obstructs the footpath, you may need to obtain a footpath usage or obstruction permit from your local council. This permit helps to protect public safety and ensures that the natural environment is cared for.
You can find out from the market organiser if they obtain this permit on your behalf, or if you'll need to obtain one yourself.
If you do need to obtain the footpath usage/obstruction permit to hold a market stall, you can search the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) to find one relevant to your local council.
Insurance for market stalls
Many market organisers require you to insure your stall in case things go wrong. You may need both public and product liability insurance to make sure you're covered. You might also consider professional indemnity insurance.
- Product liability insurance covers you for any damage or injury caused by a product you sold.
- Public liability insurance protects you against claims for property damage and bodily injury such as a product you've sold negligently causing a fire.
- Professional indemnity insurance protects you if your client suffers a loss as a direct result of advice you gave.
Some insurance providers will sell insurance packages specifically for market stall holders (sometimes called 'Market Trading Insurance').
If the market you're intending to sell your goods at offers insurance as a part of the registration fee, make sure you understand exactly what you're covered for. You may feel more comfortable obtaining your own insurance in addition to the insurance on offer from the market. You should also make sure that your set up and pack down time is included as a part of your insurance package.
Read more on liability insurance and professional indemnity to understand your options.
Selling products at the market
If you're selling products you're legally required to sell goods that are safe to use and free from defects that may cause injury.
Head to our product safety rules and standards page for more information about product safety requirements.
Measuring and labelling your products
If you're selling fruit, vegetables, or other goods by measurement (e.g. weight, length or volume), you need to comply with trade measurement laws. Trade measurement laws cover how you measure and label your goods, and the measurement tools (e.g. scales) that you can use. Your legal requirements may differ depending on the type of product and quantity you sell.
For example, whether you sell your baked goods pre-package or unpackaged, and the quantity or weight of each item, may determine your measurement and labelling requirements.
Read our Australia's trade measurement laws page for more information about measurement requirements of different products.
Temporary food stall licence
Whether you're selling your prize-winning 'cronuts' or freshly blitzed organic smoothies, you'll likely need a temporary food stall licence from your local council.
Temporary food stall licences are available from most local councils for a set period of time. For example, the Brisbane City local council offers one-off temporary food stall licences (for multiple consecutive days) or an annual licence that covers a single location for weekends and/or public holidays.
To find the temporary food stall licence you need for your local council, search the ABLIS Find a form search tool.
The food you sell at a market must comply with the Food Standards Code (the Code).
Food safety standards make sure that the food supplied is safe and suitable for people to eat.
It's important to familiarise yourself with the Code, in particular Food Safety Practices and General Requirements Standard 3.2.2, to make sure you're meeting your obligations.
These can include meeting requirements on:
- temperature control
- hand washing
Some temporary food businesses may be able to apply for exemptions to some of these standards - check with your local council to find out if you're exempt from any of the requirements.
It's also a good idea to contact the market organiser in advance, and find out what facilities and practices they have in place for food safety, such as:
- where the closest bathroom is
- what kind of access you'll have to water at your stall (for example, food handlers may require warm running water to wash their hands)
- how to dispose of food scraps and food waste.
Some local councils make inspections at market stalls to check that good food safety practices are being followed. Be prepared and make sure your stall complies.
Food safety in your state or territory
Regulations and licences can vary with each state, territory or local council, so make sure you're aware of your obligations!
Try these resources to get you started:
- Food safety requirements for temporary food stalls - ACT (PDF 3.9MB)
- Guidelines for food businesses at temporary events - NSW (PDF 296KB)
- Food safety - NT
- Food business - QLD
- Health and hygiene responsibilities for food business - SA
- Guidelines for Temporary Food Stalls - TAS (PDF 2.6MB)
- Temporary and mobile food premises - VIC
- Food regulation in Western Australia - WA
Find out more:
- Use the ABLIS search tool to find out what licences and registrations you'll need to run a market stall in your local council.
- Understand the Food Standards Code and familiarise yourself with the Food Safety Practices and General Requirements Standard 3.2.2.
- Check out our Product safety rules and standards page for more information about product safety requirements.
- Read the Guide for Market Stallholders and Roadside Traders on the National Measurement Institute website.
- Find out about liability insurance and professional indemnity to understand your options.
- Read more about starting your business, including Registering for an ABN.
- Read our Tax information to understand your tax obligations.