Tap to Read ➤

How to Become a Flea Market Vendor

Meghna Wani
If you want to earn some extra weekend cash, or are thinking of becoming a full-time flea market vendor, then you have come to the right place, because here are a few tips to help you get started.
Inquire about items that are restricted from being sold in flea markets. If you continue to sell those, you may have to face an unwilling booth cancellation or confiscation of your items.
Flea markets are a great place to shop and get good deals. As the saying goes, if it's your day, you may get gold for the price of silver. These markets are all about bargaining.
Both, the customer and the vendor have some profits to take home from a flea market. But, for a vendor, it's a double treat; he/she gets to clean up the 'as-good-as-new' and unused items from his/her household, as well as earn a considerable amount of coinage in return.
To put it simply, it is an easy business to get into. No huge start-up costs, no investments, no financier, and no contacts required. An ardency to start and a knack to sell items amidst tough competition are the only requirements to qualify as a flea market vendor.
So, before you could take the plunge, here are the basics of becoming a flea market vendor.

What Would You Sell?

After you decide to become a vendor at the flea market, the first step that you need to take is to figure out what is it that you would like to sell? You can start by contemplating on your interests. If reading is your hobby, and you have a huge collection of books that you won't be reading again, that's it! You have found what you will be selling.
In the same way, clothes that your kid doesn't fit into anymore and are as good as new can be sold off at a flea market. If you have some antiques, like an old radio, you could just clean it and keep it for display. It might catch the eye of an 'antique collector', who might purchase it from you to add it to his collection.
You can hit the wholesale market and shop for things at a lower rate. You could also buy things online and resell. You could visit garage or yard sales to get cheap items to sell.

Locate a Flea Market

The next step is to locate a flea market. You could start with an online search, followed by browsing through the Yellow Pages, asking friends and family, or checking out local newspapers.
It is not very difficult to locate a flea market. If you have been living in a particular locality for a while, you would automatically know the marketplace as well as the events happening in that area.

Select a Flea Market

After you search thoroughly, you may figure out that there are several flea markets in your city. So, how do you narrow it down to one? Make a note of the pointers given here to select the best flea market for you.
» Get a feel of the general atmosphere of the market. See if it is friendly, competitive, or recreational.

» Observe the trend of foot traffic. Is it crowded at certain places, are there any hot-spots, and what are the rush hours?
» Watch the setup of booths. Observe if the entry and exit booths get more traffic. Ask about the size of each booth, and if they provide a complimentary table and chairs.

» Speak to the current vendors about the market, and if you have any queries, clear them out.
» Go to the market manager and inquire about the rates as well as the permits/licenses required to start a business. Also inquire about reserving a booth in advance, and the mode of payment.

Get a License

You have to make your business legal by applying for a state sales tax ID number and a vendor's license. If you plan to start as a food vendor at a flea market, you need to apply for an additional food license. You can get in touch with the state's Department of Revenue for more information.

Get Ready to Set up the Stall

Gather all the things that you plan to sell at one place. Bring some stickers from the local stationery shop and tag every product with the price. You should decide the price in such a way that even after haggling with the customer, you are left with a little profit. This is the universal rule of business.
Pack all the items in boxes and label them properly. This will make it easier for you to identify the items, as well as you could unpack and repack the items easily.
Do not forget to carry a table and a few foldable chairs, in case you are not going to get them with the stall. Carry plastic bags and keep some change with you. Pack a day before, so that you can reach the market and grab the early customers. There may be a possibility that the other vendors may purchase your stuff before the customers start pouring in.

Setting Up the Stall

You will have to arrange the items in the most attractive way. In order to catch the eyes of customers, display the most intriguing product on the top. In order to be sold, all the merchandise should be visible properly.
Another trick is to keep changing the display a little every time. Shake things up a little. Rotate the location of the products. Bring the ones that you had kept below to the top.
Keep restocking your merchandise, else you will only have a few good days till your good and fast-moving merchandise lasts. The last thing that you could successfully apply is keeping the prices reasonable. Is it not good to sell a hundred things at $1 than just five at $20?
You have to retain your customers, and to do that, you have to provide good deals. If an item doesn't seem to be moving, you could lower the price substantially and sell it off, even if it means incurring a loss. Otherwise, it would just sit there and eat into the sales space on the table.
In summation, becoming a flea market vendor is easy, but continuing to be one is a little tedious. However, if you follow all these mentioned tricks of the trade, and keep an open mind, you'll gather the currency rather quickly.