What's it like running a market stall?

David Ellis has been running a variety of music stalls in the East Anglia area over the past twenty years. On a cold day in November he said: "I'm afraid you haven't caught me at the best time of year, its cold and Christmas sales haven't really kicked in yet. But I will try not to be too pessimistic.

"I work in a few different markets around Essex. As I don't have to produce my own goods I usually work five days a week, including both weekend days. I turn up before 8:30 to set up and finish clearing the plot by 6."

"The biggest change recently has been the councils. More and more of them are getting better at knowing what we need. Most of them rent out the stalls and plots for long periods of time which means we can plan further in advance."

Other market stall owners across the country tell similar stories of working hours and the improvement in the treatment they receive from councils.

Claire Dawes, from Newcastle, has a different experience due to manufacturing the clothes she sells on her stall. "I only do two stall days in different towns during the week. I spend the rest of the time working on designs and making the outfits."

"A few of my friend's have given up running their stalls over this year but I am actually doing slightly better than I have done in the past. I'm going to see if things continue picking up next year and if they do I might take someone on to help me so I can do an extra stall day."

Most of those who spoke were optimistic about their experiences in running market stalls and their futures but a few were sceptical.

Roger Sellahewa's career has been in food stalls on London markets for fifteen years but he says things are getting harder for him. He believes what he sells has been more affected by the recession as customers switch to large stores in search of bargains.

Despite any fears, all market stall business owners say it is a rewarding and worthwhile venture if you are looking to become your own boss and get back as much as you deserve from the effort you put in.

To find out how to set up your own market stall, click here

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