Setting Up a Vape Shop: Checklist

Setting Up a Vape Shop: Checklist

Published by James Dunworth

Setting up a vape shop can be a daunting process, especially if you’re new to the retail industry! This practical check list is based on our own experience opening over 20 vape shops, as well as assisting dozens of vape entrepreneurs with their first steps into retail.

Do note that you can download this checklist here for editing online or for printing. 

Don’t forget to let us know before you open - we can help you with Challenge 25 logs and posters. If you’re looking for the best prices on a great range of vape hardware and e-liquids, sign up for an account with Orderly Distribution - and enjoy 10% off your first order!

Viewing your vape shop


  • Photograph exterior for signage
  • Photograph any damage to the exterior
  • Measure for signage
  • Check access front and rear, you’ll need to know this for deliveries and shop fitting activities. (RAMS)
  • Above shop
    • Are there flats or offices? There may be shared responsibilities that you need to be aware of such as a shared fire alarm system


  • Measure internally and draw quick sketch plan including any back rooms et
    • unless floor plan already provided in which case add/check measurements
  • Photograph internally for schedule of condition, including any areas of damage
  • Make a written note of condition/decoration/works required and any areas of concern
  • Check space available against details (i.e. upper ancillary etc)
  • Carry out brief building risk assessment

Back at base

  • Draw a floor plan including unit sizes, counter layout etc
    • Consider CCTV positioning
  • Request signage quote and image
    • Do check for any listed building restrictions
  • Check notes against heads of terms
  • Request Certificates for electrical (EICR), gas safety, water hygiene, asbestos, fire, emergency lighting, etc
    • follow up on any works or recommendations required with landlord

During lease negotiations

  • Arrange for phone line, broadband and Static IP
  • Arrange till set up and card integration
  • Check till / card integration lead times
    • If extended, consider short hire from a provider
  • Request consent to shop signage
  • Ensure appropriate fire extinguishers, fire blankets, Fire Log Books, Challenge 25 logs, first aid kits, eye wash kits, accident book and staff handbooks are ready and made available
  • Draw up or arrange for all relevant Risk Assessments to be carried out
    • Such as a General Risk Assessment, Water Hygiene Risk Assessment, Covid Risk Assessment, Fire Risk Assessment
  • Make arrangements for waste management, sanitary waste, window cleaning, PAT testing, WEEE, where necessary.
  • Apply for A-board, music, licences
  • Get your Public Liability Insurance
  • Request schedule of condition from landlord

Immediately post completion/set up

For multi-person teams, Create project - you can use a tool such as Trello and assign jobs

  • Order shop signage
  • Order Stock
  • Order Stationary, till rolls and carrier bags
  • Order Cleaning and PPE
  • Fit out, Fire Risk, Electrical Safety assessments and other H&S requirements
  • Photograph of electricity meter (and any other meters)
  • Advise electricity/water/phone suppliers and arrange contract
  • Add account numbers, order numbers & phone number if known to shop spreadsheet
  • (For multi-store outfits) Add phone number of shop to shops spreadsheet
  • Design and order flyers
  • Organise waste collection


  • Ensure your Compliance posters, such as CCTV, Challenge 25, WEEE, Evacuation, PLI, Health & Safety, Returns and exchanges policy are all filled in and are in place
  • Run through all health and safety and fire safety checks
  • Run test transactions though your till(s) to ensure polling data is all working
  • Make sure phone lines are working
  • Change and float(s) for the till(s) are are available
  • Distribute leaflets
  • Arrange for photographer
  • Stock the shelves and displays
  • Make sure there is plenty of tea, coffee, sugar and milk! Oh, and mugs!

Post Opening

  • Staff to hand out flyers
  • Add shop to GoogleMyBusiness
    • Consider getting a Google 360 tour of your shop
  • Add shop to local business directories
  • Add shop to specialised vape store directories
  • Social media promotion (facebook, twitter)
  • (If you have a website) add shop page to website