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5 Ways to Prepare for an Outdoor Vending Event

Amanda is the owner and operator of a small business called HB Creations where she attends vending shows, big and small, on a regular basis.

Canopies are a good way to safeguard your products from unpredictable weather.

Canopies are a good way to safeguard your products from unpredictable weather.

Be Prepared for Any Whether at an Outdoor Vending Event

No matter what you are selling, if your booth is outdoors, you'll want to be prepared for any kind of weather. Rain, wind, and other unfortunate elements can hamper your ability to have a successful event and make sales. Read these five tips for advice on how to ensure you're prepared for anything at your next outdoor vending event.

1. Check Weather Often but Prepare for Everything

Leading up to the event, it is important to get a feel for what the weather is going to be. Check the weather often using multiple sources. If it's the middle of Summer and there hasn't been any rain in the forecast for multiple weeks, it'd probably be safe to say that there wouldn't be any rain.

Despite this, it's always good to prepare for anything. Bring a canopy to cover your stand. A 10' by 10' canopy should be a safe bet for your stuff. This will help shade you and your stuff from the sun, keep things dry in case of rain, and if you also purchase walls for your canopy, it can help protect you from the wind and rain as well.

Even if you don't think it's going to rain or be windy that day, it'd be good practice to bring stuff anyway and keep it in your car for easy access. You don't want to be stuck in weather that will damage your stuff unprepared.

2. Invest In a Wagon for Transporting

When you're doing any show, investing in a wagon is a great way to transport your stuff from your car to your spot. A canvas wagon that folds up is optimal because you can store it under your tables during the show.

Research to find which one is best for you. There are many wagons with different features that might suit you more than other features. A lot of the wagons have cup holders and pockets on the outside for small things. Other wagons have two layers for extra transport room. These are good for carrying canopies along with boxes and inventory you may have.

These wagons range from $80 to about $150. A lot of the time, you can find these used in online marketplaces for cheaper as well.

3. Invest in Water Resistant Totes

If you're doing a show that is outside where rain could be a possibility, it is a good idea to invest in some water-resistant totes. These could be just storage containers that are made of plastic.

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When starting out with outside shows, tote bags and cardboard boxes were a go-to. But, when it rains, and your supplies are under the table, there is a risk that these items could get damaged if your items aren't in water-resistant totes.

Having plastic totes not only protects them from the rain, but it can also keep things try in case of spills, and they are more durable.

Using plastic storage bins to transport and store items during a show is a great way to protect your stuff from getting damaged.

Using plastic storage bins to transport and store items during a show is a great way to protect your stuff from getting damaged.

4. Get Weights for Canopies

Something that should really be invested in are weights for canopies. You want to make sure that your canopy has enough weight weighing it down so that if a strong gust of wind comes, your canopy won't lift off the ground and damage yourself or your stock or other people and their stock.

A good rule of thumb for canopies is 40 lbs per leg on a 10-ft. canopy. This can be accomplished using a bunch of different tools. Some people buy weights, and some people fill their weights with sand, pebbles, water bottles full of water, PVC pipes that are filled with cement and hang, or a combination of them all.

If your show allows it, and make sure to ask before you do so, staking your canopy in the ground is a great way to keep your canopy from blowing away in the wind.

5. Get Ready to Adapt and Think Quickly

Here's a scenario for you. You ordered a new 10-ft. canopy and didn't double-check to see the size. It's summer, so you just ordered it for some shade. You open the canopy to set up and then realize that your canopy is a lot smaller than everyone else's. You check the size you ordered, and you realize that you accidentally ordered a 6-ft. canopy. You set up as usual, but it starts to sprinkle. An hour later, it starts to downpour.

What would you do in this scenario? When this exact scenario happened to me, I had to think fast. My stock was getting destroyed because of the rain, and I was getting soaked. I went from using a 6-ft. table, 4-ft. table, and a clothing rack to just a 4 ft. I had to remove some stock and protect what I could. I did end up losing a lot of inventory as damage, but regardless of all of that, I still ended up selling more than I ever had. My quick thinking and calm demeanor helped me figure out a solution fast.

When doing a vending show, it's important to be able to roll with the punches. Your quick thinking could ultimately save your setup.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Amanda Brumbelow

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