Start a lemonade stand by following these 10 steps:
- Plan your Lemonade Stand
- Form your Lemonade Stand into a Legal Entity
- Register your Lemonade Stand for Taxes
- Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
- Set up Accounting for your Lemonade Stand
- Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Lemonade Stand
- Get Lemonade Stand Insurance
- Define your Lemonade Stand Brand
- Create your Lemonade Stand Website
- Set up your Business Phone System
There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your lemonade stand. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a lemonade stand?
A lemonade stand is inexpensive to open. Anabelle, a 10-year-old, opened a licensed lemonade stand for $3,500. Businesses with fixed locations or larger stands may cost more to open, but they’re still affordable to open.
These startup funds go toward:
a stand, cart, or storefront
commercial-grade equipment for making and dispensing lemonade
lemons, sugar, water, and ice
cups, straws, and napkins
licensing and insurance costs
What are the ongoing expenses for a lemonade stand?
The ongoing expenses for a lemonade stand business are low. They include the cost of ingredients (lemons, sugar, water and ice), and facility, licensing and insurance costs.
For Annabelle, non-ingredient costs totaled $500 per year. Businesses that have to pay rent will have higher ongoing expenses. Compared to other businesses, though, these expenses will still be minimal.
Who is the target market?
A lemonade stand business’ ideal customer is a family or group of friends who are hot and thirsty. If someone in such a group suggests getting lemonade, everyone may agree to get one. Thus, a stand might sell several lemonades at once rather than just one to an individual customer.
How does a lemonade stand make money?
A lemonade stand business makes money by selling lemonade. Lemonade is typically sold by the glass or cup.
How much can you charge customers?
Most lemonade stand businesses price their lemonades at $5 or less. The exact cost depends on a stand’s location. Even in high-demand areas, though, businesses resist going over $5 because. Many customers will think twice before spending more than $5 on an impulse purchase.
How much profit can a lemonade stand make?
In a busy location, a lemonade stand business can bring in a good profit.
One lemonade stand business’ expenses place the cost for ingredients of a 16-ounce lemonade below 50 cents. Making a 32-ounce lemonade costs less than 85 cents. At these prices, selling a lemonade for $5.00 provides a profit of over $4.00.
With the right traffic, $4.00 per sale quickly adds up. In a single day, a business that served 100 people would have $400 to cover that day’s expenses and provide a profit.
How can you make your business more profitable?
When looking for ways to increase profitability, a lemonade stand business should be wary of adding more products. Additional products can dilute a business’ brand as a lemonade stand. They also can increase overhead.
Instead, a business should look for ways to make more on the sale of each lemonade. This can be done by offering flavorings for lemonades and charging for the flavorings. Alternatively, a stand can sell a cup that comes with free refills for the day but costs much more than $5.00.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Lemonade Stand Name Generator
If you operate a sole proprietorship, you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state’s business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It’s very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your lemonade stand is sued.
You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It’s really easy and free!
Learn how to get an EIN in our What is an EIN guide or find your existing EIN using our EIN lookup guide.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
- LLC Taxes
- Sole Proprietorship vs LLC
- LLC vs Corporation
- LLC vs S Corp
- How to Start an S Corp
- S Corp vs C Corp
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business’s name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:
- Separates your personal assets from your company’s assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- Makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Open net 30 accounts
Net 30 accounts are used to establish and build business credit as well as increase business cash flow. With a net 30 account, businesses buy goods and repay the full balance within a 30-day term.
NetMany net 30 credit vendors report to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Get a business credit card
Getting a business credit card helps you:
- Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business’ expenses all in one place.
- Build your company’s credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a lemonade stand business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
For more information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
Certificate of Occupancy
Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a lemonade stand location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a lemonade stand business.
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
- If you plan to purchase or build a lemonade stand:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your lemonade stand business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers’ Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.
How to promote & market a lemonade stand
Since most lemonade is bought by passersby, all marketing efforts should be focused on getting the attention of people who are going by a lemonade stand. Signs are one of the best ways to attract people’s attention in this manner.
How to keep customers coming back
A lemonade stand business can increase how many returning customers it sees by offering great tasting lemonade. If a stand’s lemonade is subpar, sales will decrease. If the lemonade is delicious, though, customers will return for another drink the next time they’re in the area and thirsty.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites – full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2022 to find the best phone service for your small business.
Start a Lemonade Stand in your State