How to Start Selling at Flea Markets

In many parts of the country, summer means outdoor market season. Flea markets can be a lucrative way to move items won at a storage auction. Unlike hosting your own garage sale, you don’t have to worry as much about advertising and, at an established market, you can count on there being a crowd. Here’s some advice for those just starting out selling at flea markets.

Locate Flea Markets

Use an online directory, look at ads in the local paper or find out through word-of-mouth about flea markets near you. Narrow down the list based on your schedule and willingness to travel. Some people devote their weekends year-round, while others focus on a couple of venues that make the most sense for them. It can be helpful to scope out the market to find your niche and ask other vendors about business. Just don’t interrupt their sales, because soon you might be in their shoes!

Make a Business Plan

Every flea market has different costs associated with selling. Some charge a daily fee, some charge a percentage or sales tax, and some offer long-term rentals. Before you start, you might have trouble estimating how much you’re going to make. However, you can figure out your overhead costs to help you set goals.

Decide On A Specialty

You can opt to sell random cool stuff — that’s the appeal of storage auctions for many buyers, after all! On the other hand, you might want to focus on certain types of products, such as clothing, books or collectibles. Having a unique niche can help you stand out.

Set Up Your Space

Long-term flea markets often rent out space in permanent booths. Pop-up flea markets may simply allocate space. Ask whether you need to bring your own tables, chairs, tents and so on. If you use signs, make sure they comply with any rules the venue might have.

Tout The Merchandise

Whatever you choose to sell, you want the appearance of the booth to draw people in. Display interesting items prominently and make sure there’s enough space for people to comfortably browse. As with yard sales, it’s helpful to price items individually, since things will get mixed up. Engage shoppers with a simple hello, and have fun!

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Kim Vechiola
Kim Vechiola is the National Auction Buyer Advocate for StorageTreasures.com. Her role is to manage the relationships with the buyer community to ensure their voice is heard.
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