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How to Start a Fruit Market Business

Fruit Vegetable Store in an Open Market

Do you want to start a fruit market? If YES, here is a 20-step guide on how to start a wholesale fruit & vegetable market business with no money or experience.

If you intend starting this type of business, it is advisable to first look at the existing laws and zonal regulations in the country or state you reside in to know what is expected of you. The bottom line is that you need to pay a visit to the regulatory bodies in your country to get all the information you need before you can legally open your fruit market business in your city.

You can start your fruit market business from a small town in the United States and if you are good at what you do, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes a nationally recognized brand especially if you go into franchising.

20 Steps to Starting a Fruit Market Business

1. Understand the Industry

Fruit and vegetable vendors sell a variety of produce, meats and other items through stands, farmers’ markets and retail locations where products are sold directly to the public. The industry’s permanent stands and markets are small and individually owned. This unique industry generates revenue from the sale of fruits and vegetables and excludes sales of produce from supermarkets, Grocery stores and mass merchandisers.

If you are a close observer of the fruits and vegetable markets industry, you will agree that the industry is anticipated to increase due to increasing consumer health consciousness, which has led to increasing demand for fresh produce. While per capita fruit and vegetable consumption has remained stable in recent time, the price of fruits especially organic fruits have increased as consumers demand premium, fresh fruits.

So also, the number of both small and large farms have been increasing. Small, local farms are benefiting from the organic, local movement, while large, commercial farms are improving labor efficiency. Going forward, players in the fruits and vegetable markets industry will continue to increase revenue generation for their business.

Interesting Statistics About the Industry

The Fruit and Vegetable Markets industry is indeed a fast – growing industry and pretty much active in all countries of the world. Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 12,376 registered and licensed fruits and vegetable markets responsible for employing about 30,828 and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $6 billion annually.

The industry is projected to enjoy 2.2 percent annual growth between 2015 and 2022. Please note that in this industry it is only California Farmers’ Markets Association, Dane County Farmers’ Market and Union Square Greenmarket that have a market share of greater than 5 percent.

A recent report published by IBISWorld shows that operators in the Fruit and Vegetable Markets industry tend to be small, local vendors that sell fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy and various frozen products predominately to households and individuals.

Industry revenue has increased over the five years to 2022 at an annualized rate of 2.2 percent to $5.6 billion. Demand for industry products has increased along with a rise in per capita fruit and vegetable consumption, even though their respective prices have increased as well during the period.

However, consumer spending and per capita disposable income are both expected to decrease due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, discouraging consumers to purchase organic and premium products with higher price tags. One thing is certain when it comes to fruits market, if you are able to conduct your market research and feasibility studies before choosing a location for the business, you are likely not going to struggle to grow the business.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those who buy fruits and vegetables from fruits market cut across all genders and age groups. Male and female, adults and children all consume different types of fruits and vegetables hence the demographic composition for the fruits and vegetable market is all encompassing.

So, if you are thinking of opening your own fruits and vegetable market then you should make target demographics all encompassing. It should include households, fruit processing companies, fruits and vegetables retailers and every adult in the neighborhood where your fruits and vegetable market will be located.

3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On

It is important to state that there are no niche ideas when it comes to fruits and vegetable market business because the business is a niche idea in the farmers market industry.

The Level of Competition in the Industry

The competition that exists in the fruits and vegetable market business goes beyond competition amongst fruit and vegetable markets in your location; you are expected to compete with farmers markets and any other individual farmers that decide to sell off their fruits and vegetables after harvest.

Thus, it will be right to say the competition in the fruit and vegetable market is tough. The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your products or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry.

Just ensure you always have a wide variety of fruits and vegetables; you can deliver excellent customer services and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market. There are several fruit and vegetable markets and farmers markets scattered all around the United States.

So, if you choose to start your own fruits and vegetable market in the United States, you will definitely meet stiffer competitions amongst fruits and vegetable markets, and any other outlets that also sell fruits and vegetables. Besides, there are larger fruits and vegetable markets that determine the trends in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for customers.

4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry

Here are some of the most popular fruits and vegetable markets in the United States of America;

  • California Farmers’ Markets Association
  • Dane County Farmers’ Market
  • Union Square Greenmarket
  • Ciolino Fruits and Vegetable Market
  • Joe Randazzo’s Fruits and Vegetable Market
  • Circus Fruits
  • Andrew’s Fruits and Produce
  • Manhattan Fruits Market
  • John’s Fresh Produce Market
  • Hunt Points Produce Market
Economic Analysis

If you are looking towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic and cost analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.

Fruits and vegetable market is not a green business, as a matter of fact; you will come across several fruits and vegetable markets and farmers markets, and any other outlets that also sell fruits and vegetables when you drive through town.

So, if you are mapping out your economic and cost analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of what is required to rent a space where you are expected to open your market and the amount required to purchase tables, storage facility and also the cost to successfully run the business.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to choosing how you intend starting a business. Basically, you should be guided by your overall business vision and mission statement. If you truly want to build your own brand after you must have proved your worth in the Fruits and Vegetable Markets industry, then you might just want to start your own market from the scratch.

The truth is that it will pay you in the long run to start your fruits and vegetable market from the scratch. Starting from the scratch will afford you the opportunity to conduct thorough market survey and feasibility studies. Please note that most of the successful fruits and vegetable market around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

If you decide to start your own fruits and vegetable market today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established fruits and vegetable markets, farmers market and other outlets that also sell fruits and vegetables.

The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market. Some other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face is economic downturn. Unfavorable government policies can also hamper the growth of your fruits and vegetable market.

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

Generally, you can either choose a general partnership, limited liability company which is commonly called an LLC, or a sole proprietorship for your fruit and vegetable market. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale fruits and vegetable market especially if you are just starting out with a moderate startup capital in a small neighborhood.

But if your intention is to grow the business and have chains of fruits and vegetable markets across the United States of America via franchising, then choosing sole proprietorship is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name

Normally, when it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Typically, it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.

9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policies that are required by the industry you want to operate from. Thus, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your business.

Here is some of the basic insurance policies that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own fruits and vegetable market in the United States of America;

  • General insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Risk Insurance
  • Workers compensation
  • Building/Property insurance
  • Overhead expense disability insurance
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance
  • Payment protection insurance

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

If you are considering starting your own fruits and vegetable market, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

But if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

When it comes to operating a fruits and vegetable market, you do not need to have any formal training or special certification before you can be allowed to open and operate a fruits and vegetable market in the United States of America.

All you need is informal training that will expose you to the in and out of buying and selling fruits and vegetables and also effectively running the business. On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can aid you to conduct your fruits and vegetable market, then by all mean try and pursue such certification.

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hands of the law catch up with you. These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own business in the United States of America;

  • DBA
  • EIN
  • Business and liability insurance
  • Federal Tax Payer’s ID
  • State Permit
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use (if you have a website)
  • Online Privacy Policy Document (basically for online payment portal)
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)

13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

Starting a fruit and vegetable market can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale by running a small market in a street corner. Securing a standard and well – positioned store/kiosk facility and purchasing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital.

If you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to go source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a large scale fruits and vegetable market. When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan.

If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business. Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your fruits and vegetable market;

14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

When it comes to choosing a location for your fruits and vegetable market, the rule of thumb is that you should be guided by the demand for fruits and vegetables and easy access to wholesale purchasing of fresh fruits and vegetables. Of course, if you are able to secure a central location for your market, it will give people easy access to your shop.

If you make the mistake of renting or leasing a facility for your fruits and vegetable market in a not too visible or hidden location simply because it is cheap, then you must be prepared to spend more in promoting the business and perhaps giving direction to potential customers.

It is important to note that a business facility in good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing/renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for your fruits and vegetable business, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor who has a full grasp of the city and perhaps country you intend starting your market.

Most importantly, before choosing a location for your fruits and vegetable market, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out.

These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your fruits and vegetable market;

  • The demography of the location
  • The demand for fruits and vegetables in the location
  • The purchasing power of the residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of fruits and vegetable markets, farmer markets and any other outlets that also sell fruits and vegetables in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community
  • Traffic, parking and security et al

15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

On the average, there are no special technology or equipment needed to run this type of business except for Storage hardware (bins, utensil rack, shelves, food case), Counter area equipment, Computers and receipt issuing machines, Point of Sale Machines (POS Machines), and CCTV Cameras. You will also need furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.

As regards leasing or outright purchase of a store facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standings, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short – term rent/lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long – term lease or outright purchase of the property but if not, then move on and source for other ideal location.

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard fruits and vegetable market with more than one outlet, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Shop Manager, Sales Girls and Boys, and Cleaners. On the average, you will need a minimum of 5 key staff members to run a small – scale but standard fruits and vegetable market.

The Service Delivery Process of the Business

When it comes to business services process of fruits and vegetable market, there are no hard and fast rules about it. Basically, it is the duty of the merchandize manager to help the organization purchase a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. They source for good purchasing deals and they also ensure that they only purchase at the right prices that will guarantee them good profits.

Once the fruits and vegetable market is in full operation, the goods are displayed and tagged with the appropriate price tags. Usually fruits and vegetables are sold in wholesale prices. So also, stocks are taken after the close of business every day and accounts are balanced. This will enable them place demand for more fruits and vegetables for the next day.

16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies

The fact that the entry barrier for starting a small – scale fruits and vegetable market business is not too high means that there is bound to be more players in the industry no matter the location you choose to start yours. In essence, you must come up with unique marketing strategies if you must carve out a market for yourself.

So, when you are drafting your marketing plans, make sure that you create a compelling company profile. Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state what you have been able to achieve in time past. This will help boost your chances in the market place.

Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your fruits and vegetable market;

  • Introduce your fruits and vegetable market by sending introductory letters alongside your catalog to schools, fruits and vegetable processing companies, fruit juice and smoothie shops, households and key stake holders in and around the location where your fruits and vegetable market is located
  • Print out fliers and business cards and strategically drop them in offices, libraries, public facilities and train stations et al.
  • Making your first impression count positively to those that patronize your fruit and vegetables for the first time
  • Make use of attractive hand bills to create awareness and also to give direction to your market
  • Advertise your services in community – based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business and products on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Leverage on the internet to promote your fruits and vegetable market
  • Engage in direct marketing and sales
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)
  • Leverage on the internet to promote your fruits and vegetable market
  • Join local chambers of commerce and industries around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your fruits and vegetable market; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks.
  • Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing for you.

17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products

One key factor that will help you sell your fruits and vegetables at rock bottom prices is to purchase your fruits and vegetables directly from farmers in pretty large quantities. The truth is the higher the quantity of items you purchase directly from wholesalers, the cheaper you tend to get them.

Another strategy that will help you retail your fruits and vegetables at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum, and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.

So also, if you are able to secure business partnership as it relates to getting referrals, then you will be able to get the right pricing and of course maximize profits from your business.

18. Develop an Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

The availability of a wide range of fruits and vegetables in your store, your business process and of course your pricing model are part of what you need to stay competitive in the industry.

Another possible competitive strategy for winning your competitors in this particular industry is to build a robust clientele base. Over and above, ensure that your organization is well positioned, key members of your team are highly qualified and your product can favorably compete with the some of the best in the industry.

19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your products and service delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service providers.

If your services and customer service fluctuate, you are likely going to struggle to get your customers retaining your services. Ensure that you offer your customers incentives if you want to retain them and of course continue to generate repeated sales from them and also attract new customers.

Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers and building a loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.

With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized e – mails and above all, you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).

20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

If you are in business and you are not conscious about boosting your brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend good money to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.

No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand and create a corporate identity for your fruits and vegetable market;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community – based events
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your fruits and vegetable market
  • Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
  • List your fruits and vegetable market business in local directories / yellow pages
  • Advertise your fruits and vegetable market in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
  • Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your fruit and vegetable market is located.
  • Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles are branded with your company logo.