Reseller tips: How to sell at a flea market
If you're looking for new avenues to expand your reselling business, you may want to consider selling in the flea market. It's a great opportunity which requires low overhead and startup costs, and it is fairly simple.
What are flea market buyers looking for? Great deals on quality products, which you may have access too if you are a closeout buyer/liquidation buyer. Sellers offer items varying from vintage and used, to brand new quality merchandise.
There are 1000+ total flea markets nationwide, and you can easily find a nearby flea market by searching google for "flea market directory". Flea market zone is an example of a good site for discovering a market near you.
How big is the market? There is roughly 150 million total customers producing an estimated 30 billion in sales each year.
It's very common for vendors at the flea market to produce $20,000-$40,000 per year.
Spring is the best time of the year to get started on selling at the flea market. In some regions of the US, sales may be good year round because of good weather. In states like Illinois or Wisconsin, sales are often seasonal. However, you may have the option of selling in an indoor/outdoor facility which can allow year round sales.
The best time to set up your shop is early in the morning. The saying "the early bird gets the worm" applies heavily to selling at the flea market.
How to open a flea market business
Ready to get started on making extra money by selling at the flea market? This is an excellent money to make a side income, or even a great full time sized income.
Flea markets are often associated with used goods, but things have changed over time. Nowadays you can find that new items are more common.
What kind of items sell well at the flea market? Categories that sell well include fashion, clothing, jewelry, art, furniture, housewares, books, general merchandise, etc. It's very similar to a garage sale, but you will find better quality merchandise as the vendors who are selling are more professional than your local garage sale. The vendors have access to brand new inventory by purchasing closeout liquidation merchandise.
You need skills such as inventory management, good placement of your booth, and good people skills in order to negotiate a deal with your customers.
Steps to start
Registering for a Sales Tax ID/Reseller Certificate
Complete an application to get a reseller certificate from your state's tax department. Every state has a different system and application process, but they are all very similar.
Find a local market
Search for a local market through a directory like "Flea Market Zone", "The Flea Markets", or just google for a flea market directory. Select a local market where you can have a unique niche category where you can be successful. Competition can make it difficult to get the kind of margin you are looking for because you will have to compete for price. Consider these factors when selection your products and where you sell.
Rent a booth
Do some research and compare rental prices. You will find that you will pay different prices at different flea markets, and you also have to consider the visibility of your booth.
Calculate your overall costs
Thankfully, there are low overhead costs. Here are a few costs to opening a booth. You will need a folding table, chairs, a vehicle, and storage tubs or boxes. You can also have a canopy or tent if you are selling outside.
Create a payment system
Cash is the most common form of payment, but if you want to make more sales get a card reader either from your bank, PayPal, Square, Venmo, or Shopify. Explore your options and go with the most efficient method to secure your payment. Also consider the speed and safety of the device or company you want to process your payment through.
Don't forget the inventory, which is the most important thing about being a flea market seller in the first place. If you start out as a garage sale type vendor, you can get started easily but you may want to consider how you will expand. To expand your venture, seek new ways to source inventory such as purchasing from a wholesale liquidator (smashlots.com), purchasing from a wholesaler, or buying from your local thrift stores at a low price. You can even hire a contractor to do your product sourcing for you while you manage the sales at the flea market.
Buying closeouts is a great way to get discounted merchandise from stores such as Walmart, Target, Amazon, Lowes, and more. Often the brand new merchandise can be in quality of shelf pulls, overstock, or customer returns.
Growing your venture
The best way to generate a steadily growing business is to stick with it for a long time. The highest earning flea market sellers are often experts by doing it for longer than everyone else. Sellers often report sales of $250 to even $1000 per day. Average vendors can earn about $20,000 to $40,000. The best vendors are great sales people with the ability to relate with their customers for long term relationships.
Be sure to create a social media presence to remind your customers to come back and visit your shop. If you have a unique store, create a following of people who are interested and people who have purchased from your shop.
Practice makes perfect. When you get build relationships with a wholesale liquidator, source the right products, and serve your customers well, you will have a profitable business which can make you good money!
Good luck and I wish you the best in the start of your new flea market business!