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

of potential.

Perhaps someone lost

his job and he is

looking for a quick way to

bring in some money.

He might decide to

purchase merchandise

from a wholesale flea market

supplier, rent a booth,

and then exclusively focus

on making it work until

he is able to find

another job.

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 

focused exclusively

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

electricity, water,

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

a store.

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

every year.

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

New York.

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 

product category.

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

to sell.

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

flea market!