How To Run a Successful Lemonade Stand

How To Run a Successful Lemonade Stand

Hi. I am an experienced lemonade stand owner, and I have run multiple stands in the past. My goal with this how-to is to teach you how to make money as a kid by running a perfect lemonade stand. I recommend this how-to if you want to earn some extra money on a hot Saturday afternoon or if your friend is over at your house and you are seeking something fun to do. Remember, while reading this how-to, you can always change a small part to make your lemonade stand more enjoyable for you. Enjoy!

The first thing to do is obviously…

Step 1: The Product

The first and most important part of your lemonade stand is your product. The goal is to make your lemonade tasty so that if a customer enjoyed it they tell someone about it, and your lemonade gets advertised for free. The customer might even buy another cup.

The lemonade that you sell can be store bought, but I recommend you make your own lemonade because customers will prefer something homemade over something you bought. This following recipe for making lemonade is the recipe I prefer, but you can always change a part, such as adding a bit more sugar.

How to Make Lemonade

Ingredients needed:

-sugar (or honey)
-ice cubes (optional)

Materials needed:

-spoon or eggbeater
-mixing bowl

Directions: Cut the lemons in half, and put the lemons halves on the juicer one at a time. When a lemon half no longer produces juice, take it off the juicer and put the next half on. When your juicer is filled, pour the lemon juice into a mixing bowl and add in water and sugar. Mix everything together with a spoon or eggbeater. When your lemonade is done, pour it into your pitcher, and enjoy! (Or save to sell at your lemonade stand.)

Tip: If you want, you can add ice cubes when you divide the lemonade into cups.

Please note: Amounts of each ingredient are not included. Please feel free to experiment with different amounts of each ingredient to make your lemonade more enjoyable for you. I suggest you let a few friends or family members try a few different combinations so that you can see which ones seem more popular. You can even ask your customers what they thought of the lemonade, and if they have any suggestions.

You now have the lemonade, so it is time for…

Step 2: The Stand

So, you’ve made your lemonade. Now the next step is to make your lemonade stand which you will sell your lemonade on. If you ask some people for advice with your stand, they will probably tell you that your stand should be creative. Although a creative lemonade stand can attract customers, most people, when trying to build/make a creative stand, tend to decorate the stand with something that is important to them. If you over-decorate their stand, two bad things could happen. One is that people might feel a little awkward if your stand seems like it is promoting something. The customer might be confused if the real reason for the stand is to sell lemonade, or to advertise something. The other and more important problem is that your lemonade stand will seem unprofessional, and a customer might think that you are immature, and you don’t really understand what running a business is about. The point that I am trying to get across is that being overly creative doesn’t always work. I am not saying there is anything wrong with having a creative stand; you can make your stand as creative or as plain as you like, just don’t make your lemonade stand more creative than it needs to be.

Anyway, for your stand itself…

There are many different stands you can use to sell your lemonade. You can use a table, or you can build one out of wood or cardboard. The only thing you need to keep in mind when building your stand is that it should have a space where you can put a big sign advertising your lemonade stand. If your sign isn’t big enough, someone who is walking on the other side of the street might not know that you are selling lemonade if they can’t see your sign. However, if the person can see your sign they might stop to buy lemonade. Having a big sign might not sound very important, but if people can see your sign there’s a bigger chance that they will come over to your stand.

Your stand and the lemonade are prepared. Now what? Read on…

Step 3: Selling your lemonade to customers

To successfully sell your lemonade to customers you need to follow a few basic rules…

Rule 1: Respect Your Customers

Be kind and act like you are happy to see them when they buy your lemonade. After they purchase your lemonade, say, “Thank you”, or “Have a nice day”, or something along that line.

Rule 2: Inviting People to Your Lemonade Stand

This rule connects to the respect rule. When a pedestrian is walking by, say, “Good afternoon Sir (or Ma’am). Would you like to purchase some lemonade?” If the person says “No, thank you” or refuses, still be nice and say, “Have a nice day.” Do not ever groan or say something rude if someone refuses. If you respect customers, they will respect you.

Okay, I think you get the point. Now some marketing tips…

Tip 1: Other Things You Might Want to Sell

Don’t sell only lemonade at your stand. Try selling cookies or brownies too. Brownies and lemonade together are a classic.

Tip 2: Discounts

Make some discounts. An example could be: Buy three lemonades and get one free, or Buy five cookies get two free.  You can also try something like this: Lemonade: $0.50; Cookie: $0.25; and two lemonades and one cookie cost $1.

Tip 3: Franchising

Try franchising. Ask your friends to open lemonades stands in different locations. Tell them something like, “You may keep 50% of your profit, plus I will pay you $1 for every hour you work, and we will split the price of the ingredients.” At first your friend might think that it would be a better idea to just open their own stand; but if you remind them that you pay them a dollar for every hour, they would realize that they might even earn more money from the money you pay them per hour, than if they got to keep the other 50% of their profit.

Tip 4: Change

Always have change available. It can be really embarrassing if you need to provide change, and you do not have any extra money. If your lemonade costs $0.50 and someone who wanted to purchase a cup only has a $1 bill, they might tell you to keep the change, but they might not, and will ask you for $0.50 change. If this happens it is always a good idea to have some change available. I like to have a box on my lemonade stand with a few coins of every type inside just in case this situation ever happens. Usually five coins and bills of each type is a good idea.

Tip 5: Always Have a Tip Jar

This tip is self explanatory. You can earn extra money from tips.

Tip 6: Get Paid Before You Give Any Lemonade

Be careful. Make sure you get full payment before giving your customer any lemonade. It is very unlikely that anyone would ever rob you of your lemonade but better to be safe than sorry.

Okay, I got it. But where do I set up the stand?

Step 4: Location, Location, Location

Location is much more important than it seems. Just because it seems like the most logical place, setting up your stand in front of your house may not be the best location. If you live in an apartment building on a busy street, then it is a good idea to set up your lemonade stand right in front of the building, but if you live on a tiny dead-end street in a small, rural town, which no one bothers to walk down other than your neighbors, you might want to consider a different location. For example, if you live in a small neighborhood without many pedestrians, think about a popular place nearby such as a grocery store or restaurant. Try setting up a stand on the same block as the place. Keep in mind that most stores would not appreciate it if you set up a stand right in front of their door, and might even tell you to go set up your stand somewhere else. Setting up your stand a little bit away from the store might be a good idea.

If you’re really not sure about where to set up your lemonade stand, just try a few locations near your home. Sometimes the perfect location might not be very evident. For example, you might earn a larger profit by setting up a stand in front of a playground full of kids, than setting up a stand near a supermarket. If you are completely positive there are no good locations near your home, set up your stand on the corner of a street where you are not blocked by any cars, and hold up a large sign. This way, cars will see what you are selling, and will park in front of your stand to buy lemonade. If a non-customer parks in the empty parking spot in front of your stand, wait until the driver leaves, then move your stand somewhere else on the same street where there is nobody parked in front of you. If you immediately start moving your stand when a car parks in front of you, the driver might think that you are being rude to him or her.

Keep in mind that it is illegal to set up a lemonade stand on a street that is mostly filled with shops. But setting up your stand in a residential neighborhood is perfectly legal.

Once you have read up to here, you probably have a good idea of what to do with your lemonade stand. So what are you waiting for? Go set up your stand and have fun!

Wow! That was fun! I wonder how much money I earned…

Step 5: Counting Your Profit

So you earned a lot of money, but you spent some buying supplies too. Use this to count your profit: I will give an example with each step. This part might get little boring, so you can skip it if you like.
First you make a list of what you bought:

-Ice Cubes
Next, add in the amount of money you spent next to each item:
-Lemons $5
-Sugar $3
-Ice Cubes $2

Add up the amount of money you spent. In this case it is $10. Remember this for now.

Now take all the money you received and divide it by type (quarters, nickels). Make another list of the amount and type of money you received (including tips, if any). Write the list in order from largest to smallest and move down the list in order:

-2 $5 bills
-3 $1 bills
-5 quarters
-2 dimes
-2 nickels
-5 pennies

Add all the money in your list from top to bottom:


Now subtract the amount you spent buying supplies and ingredients from the amount you earned:


Congratulations, your profit is $4.60!

Good work! Now let’s say you decided to franchise and had two friends set up stands for a deal where they keep 25% (you keep 75%) of their profit, and you pay them $2 per hour. Use this following guide, which will use the example from the line above ($2 per hour, +25% of profit) to find out how much you need to pay your friends, and how much you earned from them.
Begin with one of your friends: record the amount of time he worked and how much he earned (you might get confused if you try to calculate both friends at once):

Friend 1: Time Worked: 2 hours; Amount Earned: $10

First calculate how much you owe him for the time he worked:

$2 x 2(Hours) = $4

Therefore you owe him $4.

Now calculate how much of his earnings he keeps, and how much you keep:

Note: To find a percent of a number, do (the percent you want to find, as a decimal of one) x (the number). Example: To find 50% of 100, do 0.50 x 100, which is 50. Therefore 50 is 50% of 100.

0.25 x 10 (To determine how much he keeps) = 2.50, which means your friend keeps $2.50.

Add up both amounts that you owe him:

$4 + $2.50= $6.50 You owe him six dollars and fifty cents.

You may pay your friend now. Since you had $4.60 that you earned yourself, subtract the amount you paid your friend from this number:

4.60-6.50= -1.90 (Negative $1 and 90 cents)

But luckily for you, you get to keep 75% of your friend’s earnings from their lemonade stand!

0.75 x 10= 7.50, so you earned $7.50 just by franchising!

Now add the amount you had + 7.50:

-1.90 + 7.50=5.60

Congratulations, you have just gone back to positive numbers!

Now let’s calculate the amount you owe your other friend, and how much money you gained from him:

Friend 2: Time Worked: 1 Hour, Amount Earned: $8

Again, start by figuring out how much you owe him for the time he worked:

$2 x 1(Hour) = $2

Now his earnings:

0.25 x 8= 2

This means you owe him $2. Now add what you owed him for the time he worked plus the amount he keeps from his earnings:

$2 + $2= $4

Subtract the amount you owe your friend from the money you already had:

5.60 – 4= 1.60

Now figure out how much of your friend’s earnings you keep:

0.75 x 8= 6

Add the amount you just earned to the amount you already had:

6 + 1.60= 7.60

All of that work might have been stressful, but once you have done it several times it will get easy. Notice that you had $4.60 that you earned yourself, and then you earned $7.60, which is $3 more, just by franchising. You probably now understand that franchising is a good idea, and that you can earn a few extra dollars by doing it. Just make sure you are nice to the people you hire to work for you, or they will not want to work for you again!

This is it. I worked on this how-to for a long time and I put all of my experience into it. I really hope that everything you read in this how-to was helpful, and that you set up a successful lemonade stand. You have probably discovered that setting up a lemonade stand could be a fun pastime, but it could also be an educational experience. Lemonade stands can teach you valuable knowledge about business, and what “adult jobs” are like. They can also earn you a bit of money. I hope that you had fun, and will set up more stands in the future.