Whether you're looking to add a touch of entrepreneurial spirit to your child's life or simply looking for a great, easy summer activity, starting a lemonade stand is a terrific idea.
A kids' lemonade stand can be an excellent way to introduce children to the world of business and teach them valuable lessons in salesmanship. It also gives them a good excuse to get outside during one of the first nice weekends of spring or summer -- what kid doesn't love that?
Pick the right location
Don't get too ambitious about where your lemonade stand will go - instead, pick a place that's easy for the kids to get to and fun for potential customers to stop by. Every neighborhood has some kind of gathering point - it might be on somebody's front lawn or at the end of a cul-de-sac.
Is there some sort of local festival or parade nearby? If so, your lemonade stand can piggyback off this event and draw in crowds with its novelty factor. Just keep in mind that people are more likely to buy snacks when they're walking around outside than if they're sitting inside their houses!
When thinking about the perfect spot for your lemonade stand, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Be near activities that draw crowds of people - this could be a parade, sporting event, barbeque, or festival.
- Your area should receive lots of foot traffic (such as on sidewalks) but not much car traffic (like on major roadways). You don't want too many cars whizzing by because you'll risk losing customers due to the loud noises and air pollution!
- The location should also be private enough that kids aren't bothered by strangers walking by all the time (or worse yet, receiving handouts from other kids!)
- There should be ample room for parking so parents have places to park their cars.
Pick the perfect location for your lemonade stand! If you're really ambitious, see if you can get permission to set up at a local event or street fair where there are lots of activities going on all day long.
Keep in mind, though, that people are more likely to buy snacks when they have an easy opportunity to walk around - so don't pick somewhere too hard for people to reach!
Make sure the kids are prepared
Before you send the kids out into the world with their first batch of lemonade, make sure they know what they're doing. There should be enough money lying around the house that each child has enough change for transactions (with some leftover as a cushion) and each child needs to have enough lemonade cups to last the day.
It's also a good idea to lay out what you plan on charging per cup (2 for $1, or 20 cents each) and make sure everyone knows how much change they should be able to make.
Know your customer
When it comes down to it, you're running a business - not just an activity that allows kids to get some exercise in the sun with their friends. As such, it's important that each child has an understanding of who his or her customers are and how he/she can best serve them. Here are some tips on keeping in mind what your customer wants:
- People will buy less if there aren't any parks or tables around where they can sit and drink their lemonade. Look for a location that already has some kind of seating - like a front lawn or park bench - and try to position the stand near these areas (but not too close, you don't want people sitting at your stand instead of using public space!).
- People will be more willing to buy if the cups are free or dirt cheap. If people see they're going to have to pay 50 cents for a cup of lemonade, they'll probably walk right by! Look for ways to make the lemonade as inexpensive as possible - such as offering paper cups instead of reusable ones.
- Kids should always accept tips even though they might seem silly at first - this teaches them valuable lessons in customer service and how to best provide value for their money.
- People will be more willing to buy if they're offered a choice between different types of lemonade, such as strawberry-lemonade, lime-lemonade, and raspberry-lemonade (make sure to make this decision before you set up the stand!).
- Only offer plastic utensils with your drinks - people don't want their hands all sticky from touching those paper cups! Related: How to Host a Backyard Barbeque
- If it's hot outside, only sell water or ice cubes - no one wants to steam hot lemon juice on a summer day!
- Kids should always thank their customers for coming out and buying lemonade - people like to feel appreciated, even if it's just with a simple "thank you!"
- People will be more likely to buy if they see other people buying too! Make sure your stand is visible from the road (but not so visible that it gets lots of foot traffic!)
How to make money
With all this talk about customer service and what people want, let's get down to the nitty-gritty of making actual money! Here are some tried-and-true techniques to consider when designing your lemonade stand algorithm:
- Sell cups of lemonade instead of glasses - less chance someone will walk off with half a glass of it!
- Make sure your lemonade is affordable, but not too cheap. 50 cents to a dollar per cup should be about right, with some change leftover for the kids' hard work!
- Fill up each cup halfway - half-full cups look bigger than they are and will trick people into thinking they're getting more than they really are (from an engineering standpoint, this is known as the Delboeuf Illusion ).
- People like variety - if you can offer three or four different types of lemonade, all with different flavors and colors, you'll sell much faster than just selling one type!
- Make sure people can pay you easily! If they have to walk into their house or go get their wallet from their car, they'll probably forget about buying lemonade altogether. Here's an example of how kids' lemonades stands can actually benefit your local economy - for every dollar spent on a homemade product, that dollar gets circulated around 25 times in your neighborhood!
- Kids should always say please and thank you when someone buys lemonade - even if it's just a stranger walking through your yard! Not only is this good manners, but it also gives them a chance to practice their customer service skills.
- Kids should always accept tips - if someone goes out of their way to buy your lemonade and give you a tip, take it graciously and thank them for coming! The more positivity and enthusiasm the kids show, the faster people will be willing to stop and buy lemonade from them!
- Kids should know how much they should pay for cups so there's no confusion about how much change to give or receive. It's helpful if they memorize the prices as well as little tricks like making 10 cents seem like 20 cents (or 25 cents seem like 50 cents), such as "2 dimes and 1 nickel!" or "3 nickels".
Choose proper clothes for kids
An important aspect of running a successful lemonade stand is to make sure the kids are comfortable and properly dressed. Nobody's going to buy lemonade from someone who looks like they just got done playing in the mud or sweating buckets - even if that might be exactly what they want! Here are some helpful tips:
- Kids should dress in light, bright colors so they're easy to see from a distance. This is good for safety reasons as well!
- Girls should avoid wearing skirts or dresses with lots of frills and lace - they'll just be swarmed by ants and bees!
- If it's really hot and sunny outside (and it probably will be), kids should wear hats and sunglasses to protect their skin from harmful UV rays!
- Wear closed-toe shoes like sneakers - you don't want anything dirty getting on your feet since you will be standing on the ground all day long
When should you open it?
It's important to carefully consider when you should open your stand. An ideal time is on Saturday or Sunday morning around 10 AM when the weather is nice but not too hot or stormy yet. You should aim for sunny days instead of cloudy ones - clouds might look pretty but they'll obscure your view of potential customers walking by!
Aim to always open at the same time so people will know when they can come to buy lemonade from you! Just be sure to take it easy in the beginning and gradually increase how often you open up shop so you don't get overwhelmed with customers while still allowing plenty of time for playtime and homework!
Opening up your lemonade stand when the weather is at its warmest will cause you to have fewer customers and probably fewer sales! It's a good idea to open a little earlier in the day when it's cooler - this will help you beat the competition too!
During school hours, kids should focus on their homework instead of selling lemonade - after all, nobody wants to buy from someone who is going to be out of business in a few months. A good time for a break would be around 11 AM or 12 PM when there are more people walking around again after attending church.
Parents should make sure their children don't sell past 5 PM.
How much money should you make?
Don't be tempted to set a high price for your lemonade just because you want a big payday! Setting a high price will scare people away and they may not believe the quality is worth the money so they'll tell their friends and family about it, or write scathing reviews online!
It's okay to have one special lemonade per day that costs more than all of your usual flavors, but most people will buy from you if you keep prices low
Kids should always aim to charge around $0.75 for regular size cups and no more than $1.00 for large sizes. You can make up the difference with tips, where customers round up what they owe on the honor system (a good idea would be to keep a jar near the stand dedicated to tips for this reason)
Don't forget to factor tax into your prices - some people may try to tell you that they only have $0.75, even though it turns out they really owe $1.00 and would like you to keep the extra 25 cents!
Here is a good rule of thumb: make the price of lemonade at least double the cost of your ingredients (this includes napkins and utensils too!). This way, if someone does complain about the amount being too high or tries to negotiate a lower price with you, just remind them that you have expenses as well.
People are more likely to purchase lemonade if they can read about why it's so great. That's where promotional materials come in handy! You should bring along plenty of extra paper, pencils, and pens for writing down customer names and taking orders since you're not all that busy yet. This way, people will be able to keep coming back until your supplies run low!
Post fliers on telephone poles around the neighborhood - that way everyone who walks by will know how beneficial your lemonade is for both their wallet AND their health! Keep fliers posted until you run out!
Even if you don't have boxes of fliers at home, kids should make some makeshift signs by printing the flyer information onto colorful paper and attaching it to sticks with tape or stapled onto wooden popsicle sticks.
Here are some ideas for fliers to include:
- your lemonade is the best in the neighborhood!
- starting at 10 AM, you can buy delicious lemonade at this spot! (This message should be written in big bold letters)
- our lemonade is made with all-natural ingredients, so you don't have to worry about ingesting harsh chemicals or poisons
- kids 3 years old and up can try their hand at running a small business all by themselves!
Best lemonade recipes
Having the best recipe for lemonade is half of what can make or break your lemonade stand!
It's important to include plenty of different flavors because there are always customers who will be picky about what they want, and nobody wants to go home without their preferred flavor.
To keep things exciting, you should rotate which flavors are available each day. If someone has already purchased a regular-size cup of a certain kind of lemonade before it was taken off the menu, go ahead and make them a replacement on the house!
One popular flavor which you should ALWAYS have in stock is classic lemonade. It's perfect for people who don't like anything too fancy or complicated, but still want something better than water from the tap.
Here are some other flavors that you should consider:
- strawberry lemonade (add fresh strawberries to regular lemonade for a sweeter taste)
- raspberry lemonade (same as above, but add raspberries instead)
- mango lemonade (mango fruit chunks will make your lemonade more flavorful and sweet - customers who prefer tartness should stick with classic or raspberry!)
- pomegranate lemonade (customers won't even notice this is made with pomegranate juice rather than plain old water because the flavor is so subtle - it's great for kids who want something healthy without sacrificing taste)