All about westcorkmarkets.com
This website is a celebration of the great farmers’ markets here in West Cork, Ireland. West Cork has a flavour all of its own, with amazing scenery, weather that changes so fast you’ll never be bored with it, and a tradition of vibrant markets - showcasing local food and crafts, and providing a great day out!
We just wanted to share some of the fun with you - and invite you to visit your local market for a unique shopping experience
See you at the market!. ~ Adrian
How to become a market trader
You might be thinking
“Hey, this sounds like fun - how do I become a market trader?”
It very much depends on the type of thing you want to sell, and the market you want to sell at. Some markets are completely informal, others only allow new traders by invitation or prior approval.
If you are selling food products then you must comply with the relevant Health & Safety legislation. Some markets require you to have various insurances - others don’t - though you might want to get some insurance for your own peace of mind.
As a first step it’s best to visit your local market, and speak to the current traders. See if anybody else is selling the same products that you plan to sell. Is your idea sufficiently different?
You need to enjoy early-morning starts, hard physical work and being out in all weathers. (It’s not as easy as it looks!)
Waterproof clothing, sunscreen (as if!), umbrella, warm clothing, sandals,
wellies, weights to hold stall down,
ropes (see weights), deck chair, sunglasses, thermos, happy smile, gloves,
shorts, sun hat, sou’wester,
fleecy body warmer, snowshoes,
thermal underwear, tissues, wetwipes,
another thermos, a flask of something to keep the cold out, lipsalve,
and a good sense of humour!
By the way - it doesn’t always rain in West Cork!
(‘Another soft day’ bookmark from Chris’s Cards)
Essential equipment for stallholders!
IOMST - good information for market traders plus country-wide markets listing
MAST - a new organisation offering trader support & some great insurance deals
Food safety legislation
Guidance note on food safety for stallholders .
A Beginner’s guide to market traders’ insurance
All about Market Insurance
The whole topic of insurance for market traders can be a confusing one - and with the recent influx of insurers keen to separate you from your hard-earned cash - it pays to shop around.
Do I need insurance ?
Life's tough enough already - and you may be asking whether you actually need insurance. First off - ask the person who organises your market - some markets require that you carry Public Liability insurance in order to trade - so you may have no option. This can be a requirement of the market organisers, or the owner of the land on which the market takes place may be insisting on it - in either case there's no point in arguing!
If you are selling food or fast food, you may also be required by the local Health Authorities to carry insurance. There's a whole raft of requirements for food producers, and they are enforced by random spot-checks at markets - so, just because you've been selling hot-dogs for the past four years without certification or insurance, don't expect to get away with it forever!
You may want to carry insurance for your own purposes - even if your product or venue doesn't require it. Suppose a customer tripped over your stall, broke a leg, and had to be off work for months. In this new litigious society, with a horde of 'No win - no fee' ambulance-chasing solicitors poised on the starting blocks - you'd be amazed at how much an accident like this might cost you. And, make no mistake, if you aren't covered by insurance, the bill will end up with you!
Types of insurance
The two main types of insurance of interest to marker traders are Public Liability and Product Liability.
Product Liability covers you if a customer is hurt by your product (most likely applicable to food traders) - whereas Public Liability covers general accidents to the public while you are trading (- falling over your stall / boxes / umbrellas etc.)
Many policies will cover both types of insurance - and you need to ask the broker just how much cover is included for each event. You may also need Employer's Liability (if you're paying people to work on your stall).
Forms, forms and more forms!
All insurers will want you to fill out their Proposal Form. It may look daunting - but don't panic! - and, above all, don't stretch the truth. If you aren't honest with your application (particularly in the number of locations you attend, but also in what you sell) then your insurers may decline to pay out if you have a claim.
Your broker is there to help you - so if you don't understand a question - ask them!
Until recently, there were only a couple of options when shopping for Market insurance. However, as markets have continued to expand, the insurance industry has suddenly caught on, and now a number of companies are vying for your business - so it pays to do some research.
The basic split is between traditional insurance brokers, and 'membership-based' organisations.
The brokers will sell you insurance, plain & simple. The membership-based folks are specific to market traders and can also offer advice with developing your business, talking to the authorities and the taxman, and may even be able to offer discount schemes or stock supplier networks.
Ten minutes with 'Golden Pages' or Google ('market trader insurance Ireland)' will find you a selection of insurance brokers all eager for your business. Traditionally, FBD would offer insurance for farmers selling at Markets for a small add-on cost. If you aren't a farmer, you might find their quotes to be less competitive - but it's worth phoning your local office for a quote. Some brokers also have online quotation systems - which can be useful for getting a quick comparative quote.
Membership-based organisations / sector discounts
Until recently there used to be just one of these - operated by IOMST
- but a new organisation (MAST) has just started offering some very good prices for insurance. Both of these companies offer more than just insurance - when you buy their insurance you also buy membership of the organisation, which unlocks access to a range of support services for market traders.
If you are a member of a sector-specific group (for example the Crafts Council of Ireland) then you may also find that they are offering advantageous insurance deals - it may even be worth joining the group in order to avail of the cheap insurance
So - in summary
Your personal guide to the Farmers markets of West Cork, Ireland
find out what insurance you must have, and what insurance it would be nice to have
(beware of brokers selling you more cover than you need - it all adds to the price)
shop around each year - don't just send a cheque when you get the invoice - it's a dynamic market (!) and new deals are being set up each year
ask around your fellow traders, see what good or bad experiences they may have had with specific insurers