Running a shop at school or on campus can be really profitable. This is partly due to the fact there is usually limited competition! Before you can get started, working out which items are the best things to sell at school is your main challenge.
Choosing the right product is key; you need to be selling items that are in demand, and importantly, selling at a reasonable price.
Take some time to think about your audience. Are you setting up a stall at your kids’ school summer fair or fete, or selling to college students? Both are likely to want very different products!
Luckily, in this article, I’ve got you covered with options for students of all ages.
You might be selling at school to raise money for charity, or trying to set up a small business for yourself; either way, these ideas should help you to turn a profit.
What to do BEFORE buying things to sell at school
First things first, you must get permission to sell your items on-site before you start!
You may want to speak to a representative at your school about insurance too, as well as completing any required risk assessments, as they should be able to advise. If you are an adult you may require a DBS check to work on the school grounds also. Get all that essential stuff sorted before you begin to spend any money on items for your stall.
Right, let’s get into the list!
28. Best things to sell at school to make money
1-8. Food and drink
A snack shop is always going to be popular; drinks and sweets are some of the top items students of all ages can be tempted by.
There are various options you could try to sell, but these are a few examples:
- Candy (popping candy, lollies, pick n mix, etc)
- Soft drinks
- Juice boxes
- Energy drinks
- Bake sale items
- Healthy snacks
Have a think about how you will store your items. Do they need to be kept cool throughout the day?
Another reason this could be lucrative is that you could get repeat customers; there is potential for daily visits and returning customers.
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9. Cup noodles or pasta pots
Easy? Check. Cheap? Check.
Offering easy meal options such as cup noodles or pots of pasta could be a winner. Students are always looking for alternative lunch options to keep them full and fueled for the day, and a warm, handheld option that requires minimal ingredients or prep could be easy to manage.
10. Branded clothing items
If your school or college has houses or school colours, you could make branded clothing items in support of each group. Could you make some merchandise to support the school sports teams?
11. Gadgets or toys
Fidget spinners, stress balls, bubbles, squishy toys… depending on your target market, these types of toys can be really popular!
If you are running a stall at a school summer fayre, you could set up a game or challenge with these toys as prizes.
12. Phone cases and accessories
Everyone has a phone these days, so selling phone cases or accessories (such as phone straps, phone charms, or stickers) are likely to be in demand.
You could try personalising the charms with beads to spell out names, for example.
13. Stationery items
Stationery is a staple, and it’s useful too! Cute pens and pencils, highlighters, and notepads are likely to be popular, particularly around exam season.
Setting up a stall near your college library could be a winner!
14-21. Things people may have forgotten
Items that students have forgotten and can’t otherwise get hold of are always going to be in demand. Think small, essential items that are sometimes sold in public bathrooms for those looking to freshen up.
Here are some examples of items that are likely to be popular:
- body spray
- sanitary items
- wet wipes
- chewing gum
- lip balm/Vaseline
- nail files
You should be able to buy these items in larger packs which can be broken into individual items (packets of scrunchies, and lip balm sets, for example). These items won’t expire too, which is a bonus.
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22. Phone charging equipment
College students looking to charge their mobile phones could either pay to use the equipment to recharge their battery, or could opt to buy the charger. Be mindful of how to keep the phones safe, however; you don’t want any phone thefts on your hands.
23. Nail art
Younger students are likely to love the opportunity to have their nails painted for a small fee at the Christmas School Fete or end of school party. Practice a few basic designs and buy a selection of colours, and your stall will go down a storm!
24-28. Your time
If you are looking for an alternative approach to selling products, perhaps you could sell your time.
College or university students are willing to outsource a range of tasks, so think about your own skill set. Can you play an instrument? Speak a language fluently?
Some ideas to get you started include:
- Proof reading
- Practising language skills
- Video editing
- Tutoring or 121 lessons
Points to consider when deciding which things to sell at school
Here are a few pointers to remember before deciding on your product…
- Think what your audience wants to buy, not what YOU want to buy
- Certain food items go off quickly. Consider selling items with a long shelf life if you want to take a more flexible approach.
- Could you capitalise on selling seasonal items? Try selling cooling drinks in the summer, Valentine’s sweets or individual roses in February, or hot chocolates with cream and sprinkles during the festive period.
- You will need to establish yourself, so give it a little time and concentrate on spreading the word! You could even set up social media accounts if you are selling to college/university students, to promote your items and become a well known face on campus.
- Chocolate items can melt and buttercream cakes can spoil in the heat. Think about the weather and how this could affect your items.
- How are you planning to transport your items? Could you use a trolley bag? If you are buying heavy items such as bottles of juice, how many are you realistically able to carry?
- Will you require electricity or hot water to run your stall? Can you set it up near a power point?
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How to start selling things at school: A step-by-step guide
- Keep your selection simple and straightforward – you don’t want to buy too much stock until you know which items are the most popular. Focus on buying more of the items that sell.
- Look to buy items via a wholesale store such as Costco. These stores usually require membership, but you could try seeing if a family member has a membership so you are able to visit the store with them. If you are unable to gain entry to one of these stores, you could visit one of the cheaper supermarkets or stores such as Poundland, Farmfoods, or Asda.
- Work out your profit margin – sit down and work out your price points for each item. A good starting place is to double the cost price. E.g if an item costs you 20p as part of a multipack, can you sell for 40p?
- Try buying your items in bulk, such as boxes or large multipacks of crisps, tubs of penny sweets, or packets of chocolate bars/candy.
- Focus on promoting your stall and raising awareness with students. This could be via word of mouth, social media or by pinning leaflets around the school noticeboards. You could make a menu with a price list and share it often, including any new products/seasonal items.
- You could use a small suitcase, trolley, or duffel bag to transport your items.
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Final Thoughts: 31 Best Things to Sell at School to Make Money
I hope these ideas for the best things to sell at school inspire you to set up shop and start making some cash!
Remember to get the relevant permissions, and be mindful of the fact there might be an element of trial and error during the first few days until you figure out which items are the most popular to sell at school; pay attention to which products are your best sellers, and buy more of those.
If you have any other suggestions for things to sell at school or at college, I would love to know; leave them in the comments!