Trading outdoors in Queensland
To expand your business, you may like to consider trading outdoors. Outdoor trading can:
- help to create vibrant public spaces
- attract interest in your business
- help you to serve more customers.
Consider the best outdoor option for your business, and what's permitted in your local area. Different options will have different local government requirements, and it may be faster, simpler, and more affordable to set up some types of outdoor trade than others.
- private land—for example, converting a rooftop, courtyard or on-site car park to a trading area
- expanding to the footpath outside your business, or creating a built structure (e.g. with awnings and a roof for outdoor dining)
- other public spaces such as civic squares, public parks, and pedestrian laneways—or your local government may support parklets, which are parking bays safely repurposed for outdoor trade
- roadside vending or operating a mobile business such as a food truck.
Businesses should engage with their local government at the outset and throughout the process of establishing outdoor trade.
If you are a local council, read activating outdoor trade for small business – a guide for Queensland councils.
Steps to take before you start trading outdoors
Before your business starts trading outdoors, you need to know what outdoor trade is permitted and understand which licences and permits you may need.
Consider these steps:
- Find out what kind of outdoor trade is possible in your location, and what requirements you will need to meet by contacting your local government.
- Review information on activities and structures in the road corridor.
- Receive free independent and tailored advice through WorkSafe's Injury Prevention and Management program to help manage safety at your outdoor workplace.
- Use Business Launchpad to discover licences, permits and regulatory information tailored to your business needs.
- Give consideration to adequate toilet facilities to meet any increased demand.
- Read about liquor and wine licensing in Queensland, including applications and fees and charges.
- Ensure appropriate indemnity and insurance against injury or damage to property.
- Speak with neighbouring businesses about your outdoor trade idea, especially if you are considering trading on a footpath or other public space. You may find that other businesses are keen to cooperate with you.
- Consider the benefits of being a bike-friendly business.
Safety for customers and staff is a priority in any business location.
- Read the Managing work environment and facilities code of practice.
- Review the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services website, which includes information on building compliance and planning.
- Read the Building Fire Safety Management Tool and Advisory Notes (PDF, 792KB) and complete the Fire Safety Management Tool for Owner/Occupiers to ensure your site meets requirements for fire safety.
- Ensure your set-up allows emergency services to quickly access your business and neighbouring areas, if necessary.
- Ensure evacuation routes are clear, including routes from adjacent buildings.
- Make sure any equipment you use to trade outdoors—including umbrellas, tables and chairs, heaters, lights and batteries—is safe. Check that it meets any local government requirements, is secured according to the manufacturer's instructions, and appropriate for use in your setting.
- Engage with local government to discuss any waste management requirements.
- Review information on electrical safety.
- Find information on food safety.
- Think about how you will provide protection from the weather, including sun and rain. Review information about sun and shade to help keep your staff and customers safe.
- Consider how your outdoor trade premises may be affected by a severe storm, flood or fire. Use the small business disaster hub to find disaster information for your industry.
There are a number of factors to consider when you design your outdoor trade area.
- Consider the visual appeal of your proposed outdoor trading site so that it makes your business look attractive and meets any local government requirements, for example, regarding local character.
- Engage with local government to understand any requirements for additional development approvals, to protect heritage, and to minimise environmental nuisance.
- Ensure all building works and built structures comply with the required building laws, codes and standards
- Read about the required forms, approvals and inspections for building work.
- Review information on building access standards for people with a disability.
- Review your local government's advice on keeping pathways free for all users.
- Consider any barriers to access your outdoor space could potentially create, and ways to address these. Examples of barriers could include
- bright lights and loud sounds
- lack of or inaccessible pathways
- lack of accessibility features on outdoor signage
- lack of adjacent accessible parking or accessible restrooms
- covered benches that do not allow for a wheelchair or other mobility device.
- Review fact sheets on creating inclusive and accessible venues and events.
- Consider creating your own access key, to provide accurate and convenient information about accessing your venue or event for all people, regardless of ability. Learn more about access keys from Access Ability Australia.
Plan for how to manage outdoor activities to meet all compliance requirements as advised by your local government or other government agency, for example:
- compliance with laws and any relevant council policy
- managing noise and nuisance behaviour
- disposing rubbish and recycling
- cleaning and maintenance
- requirements for liquor, smoking and patron behaviour.
Business support for outdoor trading
Learn about support for small businesses to trade outdoors:
- Read about Queensland Government actions, support and initiatives to help local governments and small businesses to activate outdoor trade.
- Contact your local government or local chamber of commerce, who may offer support or initiatives to help activate outdoor trade.
- Access the Mentoring for Growth program to connect with experienced mentors who may be able to help you expand into outdoor trade.
- Subscribe to the Business Queensland Connect newsletter for updates on support for small business.
- Subscribe to the Queensland Small Business Commissioner newsletter for emerging trends, issues, and support relevant to Queensland small businesses.
- Access free, one-on-one support for your business by contacting our small business wellness coaches.
- Learn about business grants in Queensland.
- Find out about the ecoBiz program to improve your environmental sustainability and lower operating costs with free advice, training and workshops.
- Last reviewed: 16 Dec 2022
- Last updated: 6 Apr 2023