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What are the rules for setting up a pop-up stall or market stand in Spain?

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What are the rules for setting up a pop-up stall or market stand in Spain?
There are several factors to keep in mind when thinking about setting up a stall, besides the fees and legal requirements. Photo: Jaime Reina/AFP

Thinking of setting up a market stall or pop-up stand in Spain selling anything from food and drinks to clothes or jewellery? Find out everything you need to know, from the legal processes to the various licences you need to apply for.


Many foreigners in Spain choose to set up their own businesses or alternative projects in Spain, rather than having to rely on the local job market or try to compete in a country with high unemployment rates.

Others want to try and increase their income by making more money with a side hustle alongside their main job.  

One of the simplest ways of starting a business is to start selling items at a pop-up store or a start-up a stand at a local market.

Setting up a pop-up stand or street stall means that you’ll be selling goods or services on public roads or in public spaces, without a fixed establishment. It is a form of commerce characterised by the mobility of the seller and allows you to offer products in different locations.

These types of businesses are classified into different categories depending on the type of product or service offered. These include selling food, selling artisanal products, selling textiles or clothes, selling electronics or gadgets or a range of different products.

For example, selling homemade cakes, cookies or brownies that target a specific market such as gluten-free, vegan or low-sugar has become very popular at pop-up markets in Barcelona in recent years.

And selling crafts such as jewellery or artwork, as well as clothes has always been popular at El Rastro flea market in Madrid.

READ ALSO: What are the rules for setting up a food truck in Spain?


What are the steps in setting your stall up legally?

Step one: Register as self-employed

Firstly, you must register yourself as self-employed or autónomo in the RETA or Régimen Especial de Trabajadores Autónomos de la Seguridad Social.

Be aware though that this means you’ll be responsible for paying a monthly social security fee. This amount is at least €225, so it means that you’ll have a financial burden right off the bat.

This can be tough because you need to know you’ll at least be making enough money to cover renting the stall or space, your raw materials and your social security before you can think about making any profit.

READ ALSO: The social security fees Spain's self-employed will pay in 2024


Step two: Register with the Hacienda

Next, you need to make sure you register with the Hacienda or Treasury. You will also register for Economic Activities Tax (IAE) with them. The IAE you sign up for will depend on what type of stall or stand you set up. For example, group 861 is specifically for painters, sculptors, ceramists, craftsmen, engravers and similar artists.

Depending on the category in which you are classified, you may also have to pay a surcharge which is the special Value Added Tax (VAT) regime aimed at retailers.

Once registered, you will also have to start filing and paying taxes every quarter. In the case of setting up a stall, this involves settling and paying both VAT and Personal Income Tax (IRPF).

READ ALSO: Do I have to register as self-employed in Spain if I only work a few hours?

There's an extra step to do if you want to sell food. Photo: Jean Paul Wettstein / Pexels


Step three: Apply for a vendor’s licence

In order to legally set up your stall in public, you’ll have to get permission from the City Council where you live. You will also have to pay a fee for your licence, but the price varies greatly depending on which city.

If you want to sell in various cities, you must request a license in each one, otherwise, you could face hefty fines.

You can find out about the rules and licence for a specific town by googling "autorización venta ambulante" and the name of the place.

READ ALSO - Self-employed in Spain: Do I have to register and pay tax if I earn below minimum wage?


Step four: Apply for a food handling certificate

If you plan on selling food at your pop-up stand or stall you have an extra step, which is to apply for a food handling certificate. It's relatively easy to obtain and guarantees that you comply with established hygiene and food safety standards.

It usually involves doing a short course and paying a small fee. Contact your local town hall or city council to find out where to do them or search online for the courses in your area. Fees for the certificate only cost around €20.

Market stalls in Ibiza (Photo by JAIME REINA / AFP)


Step five: Get a public road licence

If you’re just selling at local markets, you can skip this step, but if you intend to set up a fixed structure on a public road you will need another licence from your city council or town hall. This is similar to the licence that bars and restaurants must apply for in order to have chairs and tables on the street. Again this will require paying a fee, which will vary depending on each place. 

Step six: Get liability insurance

This step depends on what region of Spain you live in and not all places will require it, even though it is good to have to protect yourself to cover any risks or potential problems caused to third parties. For example, if you hire others to work at your stand and they have an accident while working for you, you will be covered.


Factors to keep in mind

There are several factors to keep in mind when thinking about setting up a stall, besides the fees and legal requirements.

Firstly you can’t set one up wherever you want – your city council will have dedicated places. Secondly, there are certain products which are not allowed to be sold at market stalls or pop-up stands. Selling meat or dairy may be tricky for example as you will have to make sure you have freezers and fridges with you to maintain them at an optimal temperature.

Lastly, steep fines are imposed on anyone who doesn’t meet all these requirements, especially when it comes to not declaring your earnings, or paying taxes and social security fees, so it’s important you know what you’re getting into.


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