Foster Entrepreneurship in Your Kids, Start a Lemonade Stand with These Tips

How to Get a Lemonade Stand Permit and Start Your Own - Legally

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One of the most popular ways to nurture a business mind in kids is a simple yet effective venture: opening a neighborhood lemonade stand. Such an enterprise can instill valuable lessons about hard work, responsibility, initiative, and even the basics of running a business.

In fact, some highly enterprising kids have successfully leveraged their modest lemonade stands as a stepping stone towards more ambitious business ventures.

However, it’s essential to be aware that each year, numerous lemonade stands face closure by police or health departments. The reason behind these shutdowns often lies in violation of local ordinances or health codes, which many overlook when setting up a lemonade stand on a whim.

To ensure that your child’s lemonade business thrives without fear of being shut down, careful planning and securing a lemonade stand permit are crucial. Here’s a list of things to consider:

  • Understanding local business laws and health regulations
  • Securing a lemonade stand permit
  • Planning a business strategy

By adhering to these rules, you can help your kids experience the joy and lessons of entrepreneurship, paving the way for a successful lemonade business this summer.

lemonade stand

Get a Lemonade Stand Permit

Yes, technically you do need a vendor’s permit to sell lemonade in pretty much any community around the country.

The exact regulations for a lemonade stand permit vary by location. So you’ll need to check in with your city or local government to find out what the process is and how much it costs.

Some communities also require you to get a health inspection, business license or permits for putting up signage around your community. So be sure to ask about these when getting that vendor’s permit.

Create a Business Plan

Every business requires a plan. A lemonade stand is no different. You’ll need to determine how exactly you’ll make money — what you’ll charge versus what your expenses are, how much you’ll need to sell and how you’ll go about attracting those sales to your stand.

You can find sample business plan templates online and fill them out as a family to think about all the aspects of running your stand before actually getting it up and running.

lemonade stand permit

Choose a Venue

Of course, the picture of a traditional lemonade stand is one that is simply set up on the sidewalk in front of your home. This can certainly work, especially if you live in an area with a lot of foot traffic or a lot of active neighbors.

However, this isn’t the only way to do it. If you want to bring in more customers, you might consider going to them.

Purchase space at your local farmers’ market, flea market or community festivals. You’ll likely have access to much more traffic in these instances, though there will also probably be an extra vendor charge.

However, setting up in one of these areas might actually make the lemonade stand permit process easier, as event organizers often make permits readily available to vendors.

Set Up Your Stand

The physical stand is an important part of any lemonade business. At the very least, you need something that’s sturdy enough to hold your lemonade, cups and cash register.

A simple table may be good enough on a temporary basis. Just make sure to outfit it with a clean tablecloth and a nice sign.

If you want to get a little more in-depth, you can build a full stand out of wood or another sturdy material (with parental supervision of course). There are also a ton of pre-made stands available for purchase.

lemonade stand permit

Stock Your Supplies

Every successful lemonade stand needs some delicious lemonade, either fresh squeezed or from a mix. You’ll also need disposable cups, ice, pitchers or dispensers and something to hold cash or payments.

If you want, you might even offer some complementary items to upsell customers. Offer them a cookie or cupcake in addition to their lemonade for a discounted price.

Get Ready to Accept Payments

Most lemonade stands accept cash as a payment method. It’s easy for kids to deal with. And most people have small bills on them. However, if you want to make things extra convenient for customers, you might consider offering a credit card or mobile payment option.

Card readers like Square are readily available and easy to use. They do take a small percentage of each purchase, so be sure to factor that into your business plan.

But it might help you reach more people who don’t have cash on them. Just make sure there’s an adult around to handle this part of the process.

lemonade stand permit

Brand Your Stand

For the most part, people don’t stop at lemonade stands just because they must have a cool, citrus-flavored beverage. They want to support a child in their entrepreneurial dreams; the lemonade is usually just a bonus.

So if you really want to draw people in, decorate and brand your stand in a way that really personalizes it. “Timmy’s Lemonade Stand” with a hand-drawn photo of some lemons may be more likely to tug at the heartstrings than a simple, printed sign that reads “lemonade.”

Market Your Business

Your lemonade stand will only be successful if people know about it. To spread the word, put up signs around your neighborhood or in local business districts (provided you have the proper permits if your town requires them).

You might also have your parents post about it on social media or take out an ad in a local newspaper or publication.

Following the checklist below will ensure that your lemonade business can operate without fear of being shut down, teaching valuable business and life skills along the way.

lemonade stand

Checklist for Opening a Lemonade Stand
Understand local laws - Research your local business and health regulations
Get a Lemonade Stand Permit - Inquire about the process and cost from your city or local government
Check Other Requirements - Ask about any additional requirements like health inspections, business license, or signage permits
Create a Business Plan - Determine the cost, pricing, sales targets, and marketing strategies
Choose a Venue - Decide whether to set up in front of your house or rent a space at local markets or festivals
Set Up Your Stand - Ensure you have a sturdy table, clean tablecloth, and an attractive sign
Stock Your Supplies - Gather your lemonade ingredients, disposable cups, ice, pitchers, and a cash register
Payment Methods - Decide whether to accept only cash or also include credit card or mobile payment options
Brand Your Stand - Personalize and decorate your stand to attract more customers
Market Your Business - Put up signs, use social media, or even local newspapers to get the word out

Expanding Your Lemonade Business: Next Steps After Success

After establishing a successful lemonade stand, it’s time to think about what comes next. Here are some ideas for young entrepreneurs to expand their business and continue learning valuable skills:

  • Diversify Your Product Line: Once you’ve mastered lemonade, consider adding new items to your menu. Homemade cookies, iced tea, or fruit punch are great additions that complement lemonade. This not only attracts more customers but also teaches kids about product development and market research.
  • Collaborate with Local Businesses: Partner with local businesses to set up your stand at their location or to sell your products. This could be a mutually beneficial relationship where businesses attract more customers with your lemonade stand, and you get to tap into their customer base.
  • Organize Themed Events: Host themed lemonade stand days, like a “Superhero Day” or “Summer Fun Day,” where kids can learn about event planning and promotion. This adds an element of fun and can draw in a larger crowd.
  • Introduce Loyalty Programs: Encourage repeat business by introducing a simple loyalty program, like a punch card that offers a free drink after a certain number of purchases. This teaches kids about customer retention strategies.
  • Learn About Online Marketing: Older kids can explore digital marketing by creating a social media page for their stand. They can learn about online promotion, content creation, and customer engagement.
  • Engage in Community Service: Use the stand as a platform for community service. Dedicate certain days to donate a portion of the proceeds to a local charity. This teaches children about social responsibility and community engagement.
  • Scale Up for Larger Events: Consider scaling up the operation for larger local events or festivals. This requires planning, inventory management, and possibly even staff management if friends come on board to help.


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.