Set up a pop-up shop

Five simple steps to set up a pop-up shop


Pop-up shops are known for brand and product driven short term sales. However, the same business fundamentals and regulations apply to pop-up shops as to any other form of business. Planning how to set up and operate your business can make the difference between success and failure.

It is important to consider:

1. Market research and business planning

Businesses succeed when they spot a market opportunity and exploit it fully. This requires careful research of the local market, to find out if demand for a product, service or business type justifies your investment - see research and develop your business ideas, new products and services.

Producing a business plan can help you assess if your idea is viable, and is a pre-requisite if you need finance to set up your pop-up shop. The short term nature of the business model can help to better define variable costs such as stock, but you should be prepared for high fixed costs - speedy connection of services and utilities at start up is essential. Find out more information on effective planning in write a business plan: step-by-step.

An important consideration when planning your business idea is VAT thresholds and rates. If your business is trading for a short time you may not meet the thresholds, but voluntary registration may be beneficial - see registering and getting started with VAT.

2. Choosing your location

Location and premises are vitally important to the success of your pop-up shop - see find the right premises for a pop-up shop.

3. Getting the finance right and protecting your business

Pop-up shops will generally require good levels of stock at start up, and responsive restocking to keep the business going. This may require finance facilities in your bank or other forms of finance - see choose the right finance when starting up.

A pop-up shop may find difficulties in stock storage and business security. Petty theft or even a major theft of stock could cripple a short-term business. Assess your risks and plan for the worst to ensure your business remains safe - see business insurance: the basics.

4. Employing people in the short term

Your pop-up business may require additional staff during its operation. Employment law still applies to this form of business, so you will need to think about how to manage your employees. A business operating for a defined term may require employees hired on fixed-term contracts, or part-time workers. For more information see taking on staff.

5. Complying with regulations and business licences

Pop-up businesses need to comply with the regulations in their particular business sector, and find out if a business licence is required before your business can operate. You can use our tool to find out if you require a business licence.