Flea Market Tips & Tricks
If you would like to enter the world of selling and making big profits at flea markets and swap meets, there are several basic things you need to know. Many people come to a flea market or swap meet with a large assortment of garage sale type items and just toss them on the table or ground and wait.
Nobody comes to a flea market to dig through someone else’s garbage. They want to be coaxed into buying something… some treasure that they can not do without. As a flea market vendor, it is your job to reveal that treasure to them.
Pick the right Flea Market or Swap Meet.
Many flea markets specialize in a particular type of product: antiques, crafts, used assortments of items, or new products. Go to a flea market or swap meet that matches the type of product you are offering! You do not want to go to an antique market if you are selling stereo equiptment or new plastic toys.
Pick the Right Products.
There is really no right and no wrong product for flea markets and swap meets, except out and out junk.
It is up to you what type of merchandise to sell. If you are into antiques, you must learn all about antiques and determine what people want to buy. If you are not into antiques, you have two choices: used or new merchandise.
You can find used merchandise to sell at the flea market or swap meet in your own home, thrift shops, yard sales and garage sales, or get items from friends.
New items can be bought through a wholesaler.
Set Up the Table for Maximum Profit.
You can not expect people to dig through a jumbled up pile of stuff on your table. Make it easy for them to see your merchandise!
Books should be stacked neatly with spines showing the titles. A low cardboard box is good for this. Records fit well in old milk crates where shoppers can flip through them easily. Clothing should be hung on hangers on a clothing rack or folded neatly on the table or a sheet on the ground. Collectibles, statues, and figurines should be neatly spaced and arranged with the tallest at the back or on tiered risers.
There are many inexpensive ways of setting up your table so it looks enticing.
A flea market friend of mine, Dave, has a gigantic purple teddy bear that he sits on top of his car. People all over the flea market can see the teddy bear and are drawn to it. Kids stared open-mouthed, adults grin or shake their heads, and many many people ask “How much for the bear?” The answer is always the same. “He’s not for sale, sorry.”
So, if the bear is not for sale, why lug it to every flea market or swap meet he attends? Simple… It attracts customers. Once the people come over, Dave is usually able to convince them to buy something else with his pleasant attitude and attractive products.
Of course, not everyone has a giant teddy bear. Many people at flea markets and swap meets hawk their wares like old-time street vendors: calling out their goods and their prices in a loud voice. The cry of “T-Shirts! $1.00 Each!” ringing across the flea market will attract a crowd.
If you are too shy to shout, an attractive display, one of two eye-catching pieces, a sign attached to your table, and a big friendly smile are often all you need.
Be Prepared to Haggle.
Haggling over the price of your items is part of the fun of the flea market. Of course, it is okay to have a set price on some items – especially new ones. The customers expect that more.
However, being flexible often means more sales.
If you really want to sell an item for $10.00, don’t say “Ten dollars” when someone asks you how much. Say “Fifteen dollars.” One of three things will happen: the person will say “Great deal” and fork over the money, the person will say “Uhh, will you take ten?” (and then you can haggle it up to $12.00 maybe!), or the person will laugh and walk away. If they do the last one, call after them, “I could sell it for $10.00 if you want it.” They may just come back.
Flea Markets and Swap Meets should be fun places to be, both for the shopper and the vendors. People respond better to a smiling face and a friendly comment than a bland expression or curt responses. Get to know the vendors around you, chat with the people that stop by. This isn’t a retail store, and no boss is going to fire you for chatting with the customers.
Have FUN! and you will SUCCEED!