Pop-up shops

Do you own an established online or home-based business and want to take things to the next level? Or do you own a ground-level shop in need of a tenant? A pop-up shop is a win-win as it helps a business to grow and shows how a vacant shop can be used effectively.  Pop-up shops also support the local business community by bringing new interest to the street. 

Brisbane City Council provides the following information to help businesses seeking a pop-up space and property owners with a vacant shop seeking a pop-up tenant.

I have a business and am seeking a pop-up space

If you have an established online or home-based business and customer following, a pop-up shop can provide an opportunity to showcase your products and build your brand. Find out more:

How to find a vacant shop

A great place to start is to visit websites that focus on short term leasing opportunities, for example:

You can also search for vacant shops on standard commercial property sites, for example:

Top tip: sort the listings from oldest to newest, to identify shops that have been vacant the longest.  When approaching real estate agents about the potential for a pop-up tenancy, it may be more likely to be considered favourably in situations where the shop has been vacant long-term. However, it is important to understand that it is up to the property owner if they want to enter into a short-term tenancy or not.

A pop-up shop might be more achievable if you partner up with some related businesses to share the opportunity. Join Council’s Business in Brisbane Facebook Group to reach out to other businesses and also keep up to date with any opportunities that may come up.

If you are not ready for the commitment and responsibility that comes with a pop-up shop, you can consider other opportunities for retail space through collective multi-store type arrangements, for example:

Insurances for pop-up shops

Pop-up tenants are generally required to hold public liability insurance to cover potential liabilities to third parties for personal injury or damage to property. This type of insurance does not usually cover employees or volunteers.

Other common insurances temporary tenants may consider taking out will depend on the activities being undertaken. For example:

  • selling products – if you are selling products you may need to consider product liability insurance to cover damage to people or property as a result of faulty products
  • providing services or advice - for temporary tenants that provide services or advice involving the use of some special skill or ability, professional indemnity insurance provides cover for loss that may be sustained as a result of that advice
  • employing staff - if you are employing staff at your temporary premises, all employers must have workers’ compensation insurance.

Other insurances to consider may include contents insurance and window insurance.

Find out what kind of insurances are already in place by the property owner. The property owner often has building insurance and window insurance and may suggest that you pay a fee towards these insurances. Otherwise, you may need to get your own insurance to cover these items. You also need to decide whether you want to take out contents insurance.

Some insurers now offer specific insurance policies for pop-up shops to provide a combination of the insurances that you need.

Occupancy licence and tenancy costs

Council has included sample pop-up clauses that you may wish to consider to make the pop-up shop agreement process easier. 

Pop-up tenants can expect to pay a rental fee and utilities as part of a pop-up agreement. Utilities may include electricity, gas, water and Wi-Fi costs while you are in the premises.

Pop-up tenants may also be required to contribute to rates, which are often called ‘outgoings’. Property owners pay rates on their properties and traditionally pass this cost on to long term tenants. 

Retail costs

Retail costs may include:

  • shop fit-out – cleaning, painting, shelving/display furniture and visual merchandising
  • point of sale – store payment options such as EFT facilities.

The Queensland Government provides a guide to effective shopfittings and creative retail displays

Marketing costs

Making people aware of your pop-up shop is very important as you may not be able to rely solely on foot traffic. You will need to consider how you are going to promote your pop-up shop. If your business already has a strong online following, you will be able to leverage that to encourage customers to visit you in person.

Other opportunities to consider include:

  • using Google My Business to provide opening hours, contact information, website and social media links and photos
  • promoting your pop-up shop through local Facebook Community pages
  • letterbox drop to surrounding communities
  • paid online marketing such as Google Pay Per Click or Social Media Marketing.

Council often has free business events on marketing and the Queensland Government provides practical advice regarding direct marketing and online marketing.

I have a vacant shop

A pop-up occupancy licence may allow you to lease your property for the short-term, providing temporary activation while still marketing the property for a long-term tenant. Find out more:

Finding a pop-up tenant

You can consider listing the property on websites that advertise properties for short term leasing, including:

You could also join Council’s Business in Brisbane Facebook Group and post about the pop-up opportunity. 

Sample pop-up occupancy clauses

Brisbane City Council has assembled some sample pop-up occupancy licence clauses to provide guidance with legal requirements and to help minimise administrative and legal costs.

The sample clauses support a short-term licence, where the tenant bears responsibility for the cost of utilities (but not outgoings). A tenant should carefully consider the length of term of any pop-up occupancy licence as that term and any right to extend the occupancy licence of six months or more, is likely to mean the provisions of the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994 will  apply.

If you plan to use the sample pop-up clauses as a guide, you will need to make sure that they are suitable for the shopfront letting in question, with any necessary adaptations, and seek independent legal advice as appropriate.

Council  accepts no responsibility for use of, or reliance on, these sample clauses.

If you choose to use these clauses, Council suggests that you ensure the clauses are customised to reflect your specific agreement by including:

  • the licensor and licensee’s name
  • the address of the licensed area and permitted use
  • the rental fee
  • the amount or rate or arrangement for utilities to be charged (as agreed between the property owner and the tenant)
  • the amount of public liability insurance required of the licensee for the duration of the agreement
  • any terms/conditions specific to your situation
  • signature block for each party to sign.

Download the sample pop-up occupancy licence clauses (Word - 96kb).

Pop-up shop disclaimer

Brisbane City Council provides no warranty regarding the suitability, accuracy, reliability, fitness for purpose, effectiveness, benefits of or outcomes from any content, products, information or materials provided through these webpages and related documents in support of pop-up shops.

Last updated: 18 November 2022

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