How to Open a Lemonade Stand

Three Parts:Setting up the StandRunning Your Lemonade StandMaking the Lemonade

A lemonade stand is more than a summer classic. It's also a great opportunity for young people to learn the basics of business and finance. Opening a lemonade stand will teach you to be responsible for your own business and keep track of money, but it's also just plain fun!

Part 1
Setting up the Stand

  1. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 1
    Choose a location. If you place your stand in front of your house, only a few of your neighbors will see you. Instead, choose a location that gets a lot of foot traffic, so more people will know you're in business. Local parks and beaches are good options, especially on a nice day.
    • You can also ask your church or a local grocery store if they’ll give you permission to set up your stand by their entrance. Make sure you ask permission before setting up your stand on private property.
    • Make a schedule of local events. If there are street festivals or sporting events, set up your stand nearby.[1]
    • Think of where people will be warmest and thirstiest. People who've been laying out on the beach or have just played 18 rounds of golf in the sun will be more likely to buy your lemonade.[2]
    • Be aware of the weather. If the sun if very hot on the day you want to work your stand, make sure to choose a spot with a lot of shade.
  2. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 2
    Set up your stand.[3] At the very least, your stand will need to have a good, sturdy table and chair for you to sit in. Make sure you put them on level ground, so your stand doesn’t wobble and spill lemonade all over the place. It’s also a good idea to cover the table with a tablecloth or blanket in a bright color that attracts attention.
    • Make sure the fabric reaches to the ground in the front of your table. That way, you can store extra supplies underneath the table, but not let your customers see the clutter down there.
    • Set up your pitchers, cups, napkins, and straws in a neat arrangement. The tidier your stand looks, the more people will want to visit.
  3. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 3
    Make it comfortable. If you’re planning on working at your stand for a long period of time, you want it to be as comfortable as you can make it. Keep water on hand in case you get sick of drinking lemonade for refreshment. You should also put a comfy cushion on your chair to keep your bottom from getting sore. If the weather's hot, keep a battery-powered fan on hand, or fan yourself with a piece of paper.
    • If you're out there long enough, you might find that the shade moves away and exposes you to the sun. If that happens, shut down your stand for half an hour and move it to a shadier location.
    • Make sure you wear a lot of sunblock to protect your skin against the sun, as well.
  4. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 4
    Decorate your stand. There’s no right or wrong way to decorate a lemonade stand. All that’s important is that it looks good and you have fun doing it.
    • You can print out lemonade-themed decorations from the internet and tape them to your stand.[4]
    • Try draw your own decorations. You can draw lemons, glasses, and pitchers full of ice-cold lemonade, or the sun, the beach, and anything else that makes you think of lemonade.
    • Maybe you could put fresh-cut flowers on your stand, or use colorful straws and napkins instead of plain white ones.
    • Make sure to make a nice, larger sign saying what your stand sells and how much you’re charging. Place it somewhere passersby can't miss it. A good spot is the part of your tablecloth that hangs down to the ground.
  5. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 5
    Draw signs advertising your stand. Even if you’re in a good location, you want everyone in the neighborhood to know you're in business. Make signs advertising your lemonade stand and place them around your stand to drum up some business!
    • You can use regular sheets of white printer paper or colorful construction paper to catch the eye.
    • Use different colored markers to advertise your lemonade stand.
    • Make sure you include the price for each glass of lemonade and either directions or an address for your stand.
  6. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 6
    Spread the word. Ask your friends to not just visit, but to tell their other friends about it and bring some along! Post about your stand on your or your parents' Facebook page to let as many people as possible know when and where you'll be setting up.

Part 2
Running Your Lemonade Stand

  1. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 7
    Be friendly. Nothing draws people in like a big smile and a sunny personality. Talk to people walking by and ask them to buy lemonade from you. You’ll be surprised by how many new customers you can bring in just by being friendly!
    • Encourage customers to return by telling them when you’ll be back: “I’ll be here again tomorrow at noon! Come visit!”
  2. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 8
    Keep your stand neat and clean. If a sunny personality can bring people in, a messy stand can drive them away. Make sure you pour your lemonade without spilling and getting everything sticky. Keep your napkins in neat piles, and gather your straws together in a cup so they don't roll all over the place. Your cups should be in one or two neat stacks. Make sure you don't stack them high enough to topple over, though!
  3. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 9
    Offer a range of products. While a lemonade stand is a classic draw, your customers might be more eager to visit you if you can offer more than just one thing. On a hot day, some people might prefer an ice cold bottle of water, so have a cooler full of those to sell. You might also sell snacks, so your customers have something to wash down with their lemonade!
    • You might make your own snacks to increase your profits. Cookies, brownies, or lemon bars are all great homemade options to go with your lemonade.
    • Some people might prefer salty snacks rather than sweet ones. Individual baggies of pretzels, potato chips, or peanuts could cut through the sweetness of the lemonade.
    • Keep fresh fruit on hand for healthier alternatives. Apples, oranges, or sliced watermelon would all be delicious with cold lemonade on a hot day.
  4. 4
    Set your prices well. Make sure you're charging a fair price for everything you sell. If you're in a hot-spot where there are a bunch of thirsty people, charge about .75 or a dollar per glass of lemonade.
    • Make good deals for your customers, such as " Buy 2 Get 1 Free!" You may be losing money for the price of one lemonade, but you will attract more parents with children!
    • Keep a tip box or jar on hand to earn extra money, as well.
  5. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 10
    Have money on hand to make change. Even though you're trying to make some money with your stand, you need to have some yourself to break any large bills you might get. You don't have to accept any bills larger than $20, but have some $10s, $5s, $1s, and quarters available. It would be terrible to lose a sale because you couldn't give a customer change for a $20!
    • Keep an envelope at hand to hold your change and the money your customers give you. Make sure you don’t lose it!
  6. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 11
    Track your sales. Running a lemonade stand can be a good lesson in business and finances. Keep track of how much money you're making by recording each of your sales.
    • Divide a lined sheet of paper into 5 columns, and name them "Day," "# of Cups Sold," "Price per Cup" "Tips," and "Total."
    • For every sale you make, fill out that information.
    • At the end of the week, add up all the numbers in the "Total" column to find out how much money you earned.
  7. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 12
    Calculate your profits. You might have made some money selling lemonade, but don't forget that you had to invest money to start your stand, too! You need to figure out if you made back the money you spent in the beginning. Hopefully, you made some profit!
    • Write down the cost of each item you had to buy for this business. This includes the lemonade ingredients, your cups/straws/napkins, advertisements and decorations, and so on.
    • Add up how much money you invested in the business.
    • Subtract how much money you invested from the amount of money you earned through sales. If that amount is negative, you lost some money this week. If the amount is positive, that's how much profit you made!
  8. 8
    Clean up after. When it is time to close up, pick up all your trash––as in empty cups, used napkins, or lemon shavings. When people see you clean up, it will make them see you are neat and tidy, encouraging them to want to come next time.

Part 3
Making the Lemonade

  1. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 13
    Decide if you want to make fresh or powdered lemonade. Lemonade made from actual lemons is healthier and tastes brighter than the powdered kind. Many customers will respond to advertisements of "fresh" or "homemade" lemonade. However, powdered lemonade is cheaper and easier to make. It's also a processed food that's not as healthy as the fresh product. Weigh the pros and cons of each type and decide which one you want to choose.
  2. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 14
    Make powdered lemonade. If you choose the powdered option, you have it easy! Making powdered lemonade is a quick and simple process.
    • Buy lemonade powder from the grocery store.
    • Follow the instructions on the packaging to mix it with water. Mix it thoroughly until all the powder has dissolved.
    • Taste the lemonade to see if it's too strong (add more water) or too weak (add more powder).
    • When you're happy with your lemonade, you're ready to sell it!
  3. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 15
    Make fresh-squeezed lemonade. If you choose fresh lemonade, you have to do a little more work, but you’ll have a delicious, healthier product. Start by gathering all your ingredients. The following will make about a gallon of lemonade[5]:
    • 8 lemons
    • 2 cups of sugar
    • 1 cup of hot water
    • 1 gallon of cold water
  4. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 16
    Combine the sugar and hot water. Adding sugar to hot water makes the sugar dissolve more, so you won't have grains of sugar floating around in your lemonade. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely.
  5. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 17
    Roll your lemons. When you roll your lemons before squeezing them, they tend to release more juice. Put each lemon down on a table, then press the heel of your palm into it. Roll it back and forth against the surface until you feel it starting to lose its firmness.
    • When you're finished rolling, cut each lemon in half.
  6. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 18
    Squeeze the juice from your lemons. Each whole lemon should give you about 1/4 cup of juice. You should end up with 2 cups of juice. If you have less than that, squeeze more lemons until you have 2 cups.
    • Squeeze each lemon half over a bowl, letting the juice drip down into the container. Cradle one hand under the lemon to catch any seeds or pulp that you don't want to end up in your lemonade.
    • You can poke the inside of the lemon with a fork to make it give up more juice.
  7. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 19
    Combine your ingredients in a large pitcher. Pour your hot water and sugar mixture, your lemon juice, and your gallon of cold water into a pitcher that's big enough to hold all that liquid. Stir it all together until it's mixed well. Refrigerate it to cool it down. You're ready to serve your fresh lemonade!
  8. Image titled Open a Lemonade Stand Step 20
    Don’t combine the lemonade and ice immediately. If you add your ice directly to the pitcher of lemonade, the ice will melt over the course of the day. You'll end up with watered down lemonade.
    • Instead, refrigerate your lemonade before selling it. Just have a bag or cooler of ice by your lemonade stand so customers can add fresh ice to their drinks when they buy them.
  9. 9
    Serve more than one kind of lemonade. Once you have your lemonade base, you can make little adjustments to give your customers an option of different lemonade flavors.
    • Make strawberry lemonade: chop 2 cups of strawberries and toss them with 1/2 cup of sugar. Let it sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes, then drain the "syrup" away from the berries. Add 1 tablespoon of syrup for each glass of lemonade.[6]
    • You can repeat those steps with any berry to make raspberry, blueberry, or whatever kind of lemonade you want!
    • Put sliced watermelon in a blender, and mix the resulting water into your lemonade for watermelon lemonade.[7]
    • Be creative! Experiment with as many flavors as you can think of over the summer!


  • Have a few friends come over to help, but make sure everyone gets a fair share of the profit.
  • If you want to keep your stand going all year round, you could sell hot chocolate in the winter.
  • If someone doesn't have time to stop, don't bother them. If you're polite, they might come back later.
  • Even if you are upset about not getting that many customers don't show it, and make sure you have fun.
  • Make a nice poster to attract more people.
  • Be friendly to your customers.
  • Don't make the prices high or not many people will buy your lemonade.
  • Make sure you look neat. Don't have messy hair or dirty clothes, or people might think you'd mixed the lemonade with your hands.
  • If people are not buying, try giving out free samples for people to try, and if they like it, they might by a full cup!
  • The lower your prices, the more customers you get. Just don't go lower than 50 cents and no higher than 75 cents. But if you have good lemonade then you could do $1. If your prices are too high you won't get many customers.
  • Ask how your customers' days have been so far!
  • Advertise your stand so you can attract more people.
  • Pour the lemonade when the people buy it, not before. If you set up cups on your table at the beginning, flies will crowd around it and it will look gross.
  • Never tell them to buy lemonade, just ask them.
  • Keep a cooler at the bottom of the table for lemonade storage.
  • Give stickers to little kids (it will impress the parents and they may give you a tip).
  • Have water set out for dogs. You might even consider selling homemade dog treats as an extra source of cash.
  • Chant "Lemonade" and your price or homemade lemonade. Or, "Ice cold lemonade, get your ice cold lemonade here!"
  • Make sure that your lemonade is cold if it is a hot day.
  • Always smile and be passionate and happy about doing it. People will notice you and they will come to you everyday. Be polite, and when they pay for the lemonade, say: "Thank you for coming, have a nice day!" and repeat this every time a new customer comes.
  • Set up an umbrella or covering over the stand to keep you and your supplies cool!
  • Have a trash can somewhere nearby, in case of dirty napkins, bent straws, empty cups, etc.
  • Young kids tend to draw people over, so find some energetic young neighbors who are willing to help.
  • Offer older/senior people a discount and tell them to tell others about your stand.
  • Ask the customer whether they want a half cup or full cup. Charge 50 cents for a half cup and 1.00 for a full cup. You can charge 10 cents more for a refill.


  • Keep the money at your side or behind the table. Don't make it easy for a thief to grab.
  • Never leave your stand unattended. Someone could steal all your money or lemonade!
  • Make sure you have permission to set up your stand on privately owned property.
  • Wear sunscreen to make sure you don't get sunburned.
  • Have an adult around to help with slicing the lemons.

Things You'll Need

  • Lemons or lemonade powder
  • Pitcher
  • Sugar
  • Signs to get customers
  • Envelope or box to put the money in
  • A table and chair
  • A tablecloth
  • Ice and a cooler
  • Snacks to sell along with your lemonade (optional)
  • Tip jar (optional)
  • Extra money to give change to customers

Article Info

Categories: Youth Businesses