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How to Be a Successful Street Vendor

To be a profitable business owner you don’t need a building; take your talents to the streets and become a successful street vendor.


  • TIP: If customers have to wait in long lines, consider giving them free samples.
  • Step 1: Expand your reach. Post specials, operating hours, and changes in location on social networking profiles. Set up at flea markets, street fairs, and private events on off days. As with most business ventures, the key to being a successful street vendor is to develop a loyal customer base.
  • FACT: In 19th-century London, street vendors were known as "costermongers," from "costard," a type of apple.
  • Step 2: Create a pleasant experience for your customers. Make your displays attractive, colorful, and easily visible to passersby. Be friendly to new customers; remember regulars to make them feel appreciated and keep them coming back.
  • TIP: Show respect for local businesses and law enforcement.
  • Step 3: Focus on a specific product. Develop expert knowledge and a creative approach to stand out from the competition.
  • Step 4: Find an area with heavy foot traffic and set up your booth. Stand up to any other street vendors who try to muscle you out of your territory.
  • Step 5: Contact your city government and obtain any paperwork needed to be a street vendor. Talk to other vendors, legal counsel, or advocacy groups that specialize in street vending about securing permits.

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