Start a fruit market business by following these 10 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your fruit market business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a fruit market business?
There are a few options for the type of fruit market you might open. Costs will vary accordingly, but should be relatively inexpensive to get started. If you set up a roadside stand, your overhead costs will involve the construction of the fruit bins, a temporary structure to cover your produce from the elements and the fruits you are selling. If you are operating from a farmer’s market or other permanent location, you will need to include the monthly rent on a stand location or an actual brick and mortar location. For all types of locations, your fruit costs must also be factored in, whether you grow your own or buy wholesale from other farmers. In addition, you will need a business operating license and business insurance.
What are the ongoing expenses for a fruit market business?
A majority of your operating costs will reflect the cost to stock your shelves and bins. If you are buying your fruits from farms and wholesalers, your overhead will be the market costs. If you are selling your own fruits from your farm and/or orchard, your costs will also reflect the money spent cultivating and growing your products.
Who is the target market?
Your target market will consist of consumers looking for fresh fruits and produce at low prices. You will attract both residential shoppers, as well as chefs and cooks, looking for fresh or local alternatives.
How does a fruit market business make money?
A fruit market makes its money from the sales of fruit and produce to retail customers as well as local and regional restaurants.
How much can you charge customers?
Pricing for the various types of fruits you sell will depend on seasonal availability and market or competitor pricing. You will want to research how much other fruit and produce markets are charging and look to match or beat those prices, when possible, while still maintaining profitability for your own business.
How much profit can a fruit market business make?
Fruit market profitability can fluctuate, depending on your location within the country, fruit and produce availability, and customer support. Annually, profits can range anywhere from $25,000-60,000.
How can you make your business more profitable?
In addition to selling fruits and produce, you can consider selling related foods and spices. Honey, cane syrup, fresh herbs, canned fruits, jams and jellies, and baked goods such as breads and cookies are also good ways to increase your sales. Ask customers what they want or are looking for and aim to fill that niche. Often, customers are searching for unique items not available in supermarkets or chain stores. Your market can begin to service the needs of the public and support locally owned business growth in your area.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Fruit Market Business Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your fruit market business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
Federal Business Licensing Requirements
There are federal regulations regarding what can and cannot be added to, sold as, and processed with food. Attached is a resource from the Food and Drug Administration detailing the process of starting a food business: How to Start a Food Business
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a fruit market business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Certificate of Occupancy
A fruit market business is generally run out of a storefront or standalone. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a fruit market business.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
- If you plan to purchase or build a location:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your fruit market business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
When selling food, you will need licensing from a local health department; all establishments serving food are required to pass a health inspection. Tips for faring well on a health inspections
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
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How to promote & market a fruit market business
As mentioned previously, advertising and marketing via social media and a business website gives you access to a large audience. You, therefore, have to make sure you make the most of your opportunities. Kink your website or Facebook and Instagram accounts with other local related retailers and entrepreneurs and any local or regional organizations who are active in your community. Remember, the idea with all advertising is to familiarize the public with your “brand” or name. Frequent activity on social media will help build the recognition factor and will help direct people to your location.
There is also the option of creating and buying signage and billboard space, if you have the finances in your budget. You can even print or paint your own signs as a-frame and roadside bandit and/or lawn signs. These can be quite effective locally, especially if you choose to operate a roadside fruit market. Either way, the additional signage will help potential customers find your location and shop your wares.
How to keep customers coming back
Your customers are your business’ life blood. Without a consistent stream of customers, your operation will suffer. That’s why it’s so important to build individual relationships with your regulars. By creating dialogue and familiarity with your customers, you will in turn build trust and a strong reputation for great customer service.
The other part of this equation is your fruit and produce quality. You should constantly strive to have quality fruits, a good selection, and fair, competitive pricing. Inspect your harvest or shipments and work as a quality control element for what you offer your customers. And, as a reward for their continued patronage, offer your return customers pricing specials or seasonal “freebies”, now and then. Small concessions can lead to big wins.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.
Start A Fruit Market Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
Individuals who have farming backgrounds or are currently farmers, have worked in grocery or produce markets, or have a passion for supplying fresh, local fruits and produce to the public will potentially find the greatest success in this business. It is critical that you understand the product you’re selling and have the connections in place to offer the best possible selections and quality.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a fruit market business?
Day to day activities at a fruit market are dominated by customer service and re-stocking your store’s fruit and produce. If you are selling fruit grown by other farmers and orchards, coordinating deliveries and orders will also be part of the daily schedule. If you are selling your own farm’s fruits, harvesting and stocking will be a large part of your day.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful fruit market business?
A successful fruit market owner should have great experience in the cultivation and preparation of fruits and vegetables. Education in or time spent working in the agriculture industry will be quite beneficial.
Since you will be interacting with the general public, experience in retail or grocery store management will also be helpful. You should also have experience in small business finances.
What is the growth potential for a fruit market business?
More and more customers are searching for healthy and cost effective options for their groceries. A fruit market offers both of these options to consumers. Fruit markets tend to also be fairly low cost to run. Additionally, many communities are trending towards support for local and regional businesses. As long as you have a regular supply of fruits to sell, growth potential should steadily rise.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a fruit market business?
Advertising is always a necessity for alerting the public of your presence. Make the most of social media and a business website. Both mediums give the ability to spread word of your business, both locally and beyond your regional area.
Consider joining fruit and produce associations, such as the National Association of Farmer’s Market Nutrition Programs or the Produce Marketing Association. Affiliation with these types of groups helps establish your reputation, as well as a networking system among other farmers and fruit and produce market owners.
How and when to build a team
For the fruit market, one or two people will be able to effectively run the shop successfully. You may want to add a few more employees, as your business grows, or you open additional locations. It’s best to operate with as few employees as you can, when first getting started, in order to maximize profits.