Preventing Spotty Vendor Attendance

Dear FMNS,

What do other markets do to prevent vendors picking and choosing when to attend our farmers’ market?

Sincerely,

Frustrated Manager

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Dear Frustrated Manager,

Michelle Wolf Writes:
In Kentville, I instituted a procedure so that once people came for a certain number of weeks, then they paid $5 less/per week for the remainder of the season. This was popular with vendors, although a few still left when the season wound down, so it wasn’t perfect.

In Wolfville, the policy is that you commit to a minimum number per season (let’s say 18/23 weeks) and you HAVE to pay for your 18 weeks whether you come all 18 or not. This is a way to make people honour their seasonal commitment. This only applies to members and to people who get the same space guaranteed to them week after week. A few people over the years have failed to live up to their obligation and fought the extra fees owed when they didn’t honour their minimum commitment, but very few actually. Mostly, this works well.

Carolyn Grodinsky, Capital City Farmers Market, VT Writes:
The Capital City Farmers Market charges a discounted season rate. Season vendors, as well as partial vendors, are required to pay half their market fees upon admission to the market and the remainder one month after the market season has started up.

Getting vendors to pre-pay helps in terms of getting them committing to attend the market dates they have reserved. We do not reimburse for cancellations.

FMNS Writes:
Many markets also have a policy that you can cancel up to a certain amount of time before the market commences (typically between 12 and 24 hours) which allows the market manager time to find a substitute vendor. If the vendor cancels after that time, they have to pay the table fee anyway.