Although many people associate flea market
selling with part time sellers, there
are actually people that sell full time
at the flea market.
Full time flea market vendors
have developed strategies
for maximizing the potential
of making money in their flea market
They start out by approaching it
as their main focus. They might
make this decision out of need or
because they sense a great deal
Perhaps someone lost
his job and he is
looking for a quick way to
bring in some money.
He might decide to
from a wholesale flea market
supplier, rent a booth,
and then exclusively focus
on making it work until
he is able to find
Or a vendor might
realize that there is a
great deal of sales potential
without the same high level of
expenses that are associated
with a store.
For instance, I met a few
flea market vendors that
had stores in the past.
Once they realized that
they could interact with more
customers, and could eliminate
a majority of their expenses, they
closed their stores and
on their flea market business.
If you think about it, a
well known flea market
can attract hundreds, if
not thousands, of shoppers
over a weekend.
A store would have to be located
in a very busy commercial strip
to be seen by thousands of customers.
For instance, a clothing store
located around 34th st and
Broadway in Manhattan
can easily pay over $15,000 a
month in rent.
That rent does not include
and other related expenses.
And even with all those expenses
there are no assurances that
people walking by the store
will actually walk inside.
On the other hand, a flea
market spot in a very busy
flea market might cost the
vendor up to 200.00 a day.
The vendor does not have to
pay for electricity, water,
or for other expenses
that arise when operating
His expenses will usually only
consist of the rent for the spot,
gas for his van, and a salary for
an employee if he hires one.
And since the flea market booth is
right in the aisles where the shoppers
walk, he does not have to figure
out how to get them to come
into his store.
He simply needs to catch their
attention to possibly
make a sale.
I used to love joking
around with the people
that would walk by, and
they in turn would love
to come over to talk to me.
Once they were at my
booth I had the chance to
sell them the socks
and T-Shirts that I carried.
Now to be fair there are
challenges associated with selling
at a flea market.
Adverse weather can keep customers
away. Rain or cold weather
can keep shoppers away, and even
a day that starts out sunny
can end up feeling
like a tropical storm just passed
The business is seasonal, so unless you
are willing to travel to a city where there
are year round markets, or unless you
live in one of those cities, you
can miss out on 3 months of sales
It's also harder to build a customer
base since people can forget about you
during the months when the market is closed.
People might not remember which spot your
booth is in even when the flea market is
open for the season.
I met New York flea market
vendors that would travel to
Florida during the winter months.
By traveling to cities such as
Daytona or Tampa, they could
continue their flea market selling
even when it was snowing back in
The weather can still be a challenge
regardless of where you are,
since you can have a rainy or
unusually cold day at any point
of the year.
I would recommend travelling with
a tarp and some extra warm clothing
this way you can still continue
your sales even
if you experience inclement weather.
You might be surprised, but
I remember when I sold at the
flea market that even during rainy
days shoppers would still show up.
For many people the flea market
is their main shopping outlet,
so some people will
even come rain or shine.
As far as building a customer base,
and enabling shoppers to remember
where you are located, I would
recommend renting your spot by
the month. Shoppers are more
likely to remember you if you
are in the same spot
week after week.
I would recommend giving shoppers
a flyer or business card with your
contact information, this way they
will have something to remind
them of your business.
When it comes to actually
developing a full time flea market
business you need to address the
following three subjects.
1) You need to have access to
below wholesale closeout merchandise.
You can find wholesalers online,
visit closeout warehouses, and even
import merchandise yourself.
2) You need to have a list of flea
markets at which you can sell at.
These flea markets should
be able to realistically provide
you with all the customers that you
will need to earn a full time income.
3) You need to build a customer following.
The best way to develop a following
is by being a consistent seller that
focus on at least one specific
A mistake that I believe many
of us have made at
least once is that we jump
too fast from one type of
product to another type of
It happens because we don't
immediately see the results
that we want, so we assume
that the merchandise is not
the right fit, and then look
for another type of merchandise
In my opinion, it makes
more sense to be patient,
since often it's just a matter
of customers becoming aware
that you carry certain products.
They might not buy those products
from you right away, but they
might later on when they
need those products.
I know it can be challenging
to decide what type of products
to sell. I would recommend
first visiting the flea market you
are planning on setting up at.
You would want to see which
vendors are doing really well,
and which products are lacking.
One approach is to sell products
that are already selling really well,
but keep in mind that you might end
up competing with vendors that will
lower their prices to drive you out.
Another approach is to sell products
that are not available, this way
you will not have any competition
and can set a decent profit margin
for yourself. Just keep in
mind that it's possible that the
reason no one else is selling those
products is because there is
no demand for them.
One important point I would
like to share with you is
that you don't need to have
the lowest prices to do well.
If the quality of your merchandise
is better than what is available from
other vendors, then customers
might be willing to pay
a higher price for your merchandise.
And even if you and other
vendors have the same
prices, but you develop
a good rapport with your customers,
you should be able to sell your
When I sold at the flea market
I made sure to treat my customers
like they were my friends. And
as I got to know my customers
I actually genuinely enjoyed
talking to them.
I met some of the nicest people
in the course of selling at the