101 Flea Market Pricing Guide

101 Flea Market Pricing Guide and Strategies for Flea Market Success in Season and Out of Season

An online flea market pricing guide to equip flea market vendors of all experience levels to succeed before, during, and after a flea market!

 

PLANNING BEFORE BECOMING A VENDOR FOR FLEA MARKET

  • Locate opportunities to be a vendor. Do a Google search for flea market directories, and you will get multiple websites to choose from that list flea market names and contact information. Craigslist will show you advertisements looking for flea market vendors if you search the events link under the Community section on the home page. News sources are also options if you know where to look.
  • Make your picks and write down questions in a notebook. Based on your search results, pick two or three flea markets to visit. Write down these questions in a notebook for flea market management. What tax documentation will I need to be able to sell at this market? Can I pre-pay for a spot? Is there any additional information that I need or can receive as a selling vendor?
  • Visit the flea markets and take your pen and notebook with you. Spend at least an hour at each of the flea markets that you visit. For each flea market, write down what you see about the parking arrangement, the flow of people traffic, what booths are attracting the most people? Are vendors using extension cords, and for what purposes? What are the prices for products?
  • Create a product pricing guide in your notebook. Find out what vendors are charging for the same products that you intend to sell. Your goal is to beat their prices. Write the product names and their costs down but do it discreetly without drawing attention to yourself. This is your flea market pricing guide, and it will come in handy later.
  • Identify a booth area that is seeing a lot of people passing by it.  The more people that are walking past your booth, the higher chance you will have at selling your products. Great spots for booths include: by concession stands, by parking lots, by main street intersections, and by entering and exit gates. Get one of these spots, if possible.

101 Flea Market Pricing Guide

  • Pay close attention to the extension cord setup. It is essential if you intend to use electronics that need to be plugged up. Look at where the nearest available outlet is. This will give you an idea of how long of an extension cord you will need.
  • Get the answer to the tax documentation question from flea market management. The tax documentation that you will need will depend on what territory you are in, and what each flea market requires. Be prepared to get a tax certificate from your state’s tax department. This will enable you to charge sales tax on the products you sell.
  • Find out the amount in taxes you will owe on your sales. If the flea market management cannot tell you this, then call the office of a tax accountant in the area to find this information out.
  • Get the answer to the pre-paid spot question from flea market management.  If you can get a pre-paid booth spot, then see what choices they offer you. Choose a place-based upon two things. First, how much people traffic did you see that area getting? Second, does this spot allow enough room for your size canopy tent? If the space is small, then you will have to buy a smaller canopy tent.
  • Get the answer to the additional information question from flea market management. The answers you get will vary from flea market to flea market. Expect to find out if they provide a parking permit, if they can put you on a vendor email list to keep you informed, and if they can tell you about any wholesalers where you can buy products for re-sell at discounted prices.
  • Set up your canopy tent based on your location, and on what you are selling. If you are located on grass, then bring four stakes and a hammer with you to secure the four tent legs. If you are located on cement, then bring four buckets with sand in them to ensure the four tent legs.
  • Bring wind curtain sidewalls to display products and a mirror. Make sure that your canopy tent has holes in it to allow wind curtain sidewalls to be hung from them with hooks. These come in handy if you need to hang up paintings, or rectangular door-sized mirrors where a customer can see themselves in that new hat that they just tried on.
  • Choose tables based on the size of your canopy tent you are bringing. If your pre-paid spot allows for a more massive sized canopy tent, then you can probably bring 8 ft. long tables. A smaller canopy tent will dictate that you bring 6 ft. Long tables.
  • Pick tablecloths that match up with 6ft. Or 8ft. tables. The tablecloths will add a more professional look to your booth. White cloths may not be the best just because these cloths are more susceptible to the appearance of dirt and stains. Make sure the tablecloths touch down to the ground on all four sides of the tables.
  • Go to the bank and get $500 worth of change and put it in a cash box. Get your change from the bank in a way that will give you plenty of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, one dollar, five dollars, and ten-dollar bills. This way, you will not run out of change. Have a cash box with enough container slots where you can place all this money.
  • Have two chairs available as well as another person to help you. Another person will help reduce the workload, and it will allow each of you to get away from the booth to take a lunch break and walk around. The extra person will also help in preventing theft.
  • Pack a cooler with food and beverages if there is no concession stand at the flea market. You do not want to go a full day out in the hot summer sun with nothing to eat or drink. A cooler will fit nicely under your table.
  • Store all your products for sale in plastic tubs and plastic filing cabinets. These both make storage easy, especially for pick-up and drop-off. You can place them either under your table or by the back-wind curtain sidewall of the canopy tent. Bring as many products to sell as the storage space will allow.
  • Fill up a book bag of non-selling items that you will need—place pens and makers in plastic bags. Put rubber bands around your business cards. Bring a travel kit with skin protection products (sunblock, bug repellant, hand cleansing items, etc.). Roll up your extension cord. Bundle up shopping bags. Include a small box with an adding machine and other relevant office supplies.
  • Get to the flea market a minimum of two hours ahead of time. This will give you ample time to unpack and set everything up. It is common for customers to arrive at flea markets before the opening time. So, I want to be ready for transactions a half an hour before the start time.
  • Slow down and watch behind you. The flea market site will have other vehicles and other people everywhere. Be safe.

flea market selling tips

KEEP TRACK OF YOUR SALES AND YOUR PRODUCTS FOR FLEA MARKET

  • Know what your most popular selling products are. One of the best flea market selling tips to follow is to put your four or five top-selling products on your table for display. Place only one of each product on screen, to prevent stealing.
  • Recording customer information after a sale helps make repeat customers. This is where having a laptop with you comes in handy. An Excel spreadsheet will allow you to collect a customer’s contact information. An easy to use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is NetHunt. NetHunt will let you send out bulk emails and create leads from emails.
  • Record inventory as you sell products. Know how much of each product you started and left with at the end of the day. Set up an excel spreadsheet with a subtraction formula that will calculate ending inventory, as well as an if-then method that will highlight inventory numbers once they reach a certain amount. This is how you know when to re-order.
  • Allow customers to pay with cash, check, and credit cards. Payment Cloud, Flagship, and Chase all provide credit card payment processing services for vendors. Check with one of these, or another bank, to make sure that their processing services will allow for all major types of credit cards. Then, contact your cell phone provider to make sure your cell phone can take credit card payments.
  • Apps will allow for mobile credit card processing. A cheap provider that has a free app and reader is EMSplus. This app provides excellent features such as email receipts, and it stores customer data securely.
  • Never leave cash unattended. If there is no one there to help you, then you will have to take all your money and coins with you if you must leave your booth. If this describes you, then get a hand-held zipper purse big enough to fit all your cash and coins. Place this purse in a coat pocket you have that has a zipper. This way, the money cannot be lost or stolen.
  • Write a sales receipt for every sale made. A carbon copy sales receipt book provides both you and your customers proof that a purchase was made. Make sure you collect the payment first before you fill out a receipt for the customer. Get a spiral bound carbon copy sales receipt book, so that you can put your pen in between the spirals. This way, you will not misplace your pen.
  • Bring the same notebook with you that you took when you made your flea market visits. There might be a product that a customer is looking for that is accessible that you do not have, but that product is very similar to what you have in stock. Write this product down in your notebook and consider purchasing it from a wholesaler, if possible.
  • Save yourself a lot of time and trouble by making all sales non-refundable and non-transferable. Create a sign on the giant colored poster board with giant letters that makes this crystal clear to your customers. Hang the poster up where they cannot miss it.
  • Establish a price to make a profit. For example, if you paid a wholesaler $5.50 for a product and then marked it up 35%, then your re-sell price to sell to the customer will now be $7.43 ($5.50 x .35). Pick a price markup percentage range between 30% – 50% and set your prices for each product accordingly.
  • Decrease and increase your prices on time. If product demand is high, then you can raise the price. However, wait a minimum of one week before increasing the rate. Keep a product price the same if the product is steadily selling. If product demand is low, then you can lower your rates. But, do not do this until the next business day. Be sure to maintain a profit margin still, though.
  • Make it easy for customers to locate the prices for every product. The products can be labeled individually with price tags, or you can take the flea market pricing guide that you wrote down in your notebook, type it up, print it out, and put it on display on your table. A colored poster board with readable letters and numbers will work too. Make sure this is readable from ten feet away.
  • Sell items in bulk. Exclusive deals, like selling five products to someone for the price of four, will sometimes work in your favor—place bulk deals on your pricing guide, sign, or poster board. This is one of the best flea market selling tips for clearance sales. We are sellinventory always track how much items we are selling in bulk.
  • Never let a product leave your booth if it is not paid in full. Even if the person only has part of the money on hand, make the person come back if the person does not have a credit card available. This must happen before the person walks away with the product.
  • Bringing family members to help you will give them work experience. This way not only do you and your family members get to hang out with one another, but they gain real-world sales experience that they can talk about at a job interview someday to sell themselves to an employer. They can bring old products to the market that they no longer use. This helps get rid of the clutter around the house.
  • Record a journal entry of one highlight per day in your notebook. Journal entries are great for helping a vendor reflect on what went well and what went not so well. This will help a vendor mature and grow as he or she continues selling over time.
  • Know when to use some of your profits to re-order more products. Your Excel inventory records will tell you when it is time to do this if you use the if-then formula discussed earlier. When several of your most popular products are highlighted because they are at low numbers, then it is time to tap into your profits and re-order products to stock back up.

PRODUCT DISPLAYS SHOULD BE ACCOMMODATING

  • Clothing size labels must be visible. Within a short period, prospective customers should be able to locate small clothing, medium, large, extra-large, etc. Clothing rack size dividers are a great tool to separate one size of garments from another. This type of organization will increase the flea market success that you will experience as a vendor.
  • A full-body dummy model is great for displaying clothing attire from head to toe. If you have three or four pieces of great clothing to show off, then this is the way to go. This will stand out to the fashionably conscious customer. Women will love this. Just make sure that every piece of clothing you are showing off on the dummy model is clothing that you have available to sell.
  • Use multi-layered shoe racks with shoe size labels to show shoes for sale. A shoe rack with three or four levels is ideal. The size labels need to be big enough for someone to read from 10 feet away. Make your canopy tent accessible for interested customers to come inside, sit down in a cushioned chair, and use a shoehorn to put on the shoe. You can assist if needed. Now that’s service.
  • Small items need to be placed in small plastic containers by similarity. If you have five small items for sale, then have five small plastic containers. The container size can be one foot long by six inches wide. Place these containers under the table or near the back of the canopy tent to prevent theft. These containers are great for storing toys such as action figures or race cars.
  • Use dummy head models with a flat circular bottom surface to show off hats. Have a small, medium, and large-sized dummy head model. Have hats available that will fit on each of these head models. Place them in order on your table, starting with small on the left, medium in the middle, and large on the right.
  • Limit public access to makeup, nail polish, and hair gel products. Put all these cosmetic products on glass shelves within closed glass cases if you can. If a sealed glass case is outside of your budget, then showcase containers are an excellent alternative to show off beauty products, while still limiting public access. Pinterest has some great pictures of what these looks like.
  • Expensive silver and gold jewelry booth setups should be a replica of what you find in a jewelry store. Like beauty products, the jewelry should be placed on glass shelves within closed glass cases. Some of these have an electricity feature where you can turn on the lighting to add some extra appeal to the view of the jewelry.
  • Inexpensive jewelry that is hand-crafted with beads can be hung up within your canopy tent. Get a pegboard that will allow you to insert multi-prong tool holders within the holes on the board. This will enable you to hang up all your hand-crafted jewelry. Put one pegboard within your canopy tent, so you can easily monitor everything all in one spot.
  • Small jewelry and technology products must be kept in enclosed containers. Pay close attention to earrings, rings, flash drives, memory cards, and other low products throughout the day at the flea market. These have the highest risk of being stolen. Storage containers with latches that have six rows within them are an excellent fit for these types of small products.
  • A simple table display and nothing else is okay. If you are uncomfortable with hanging products along wind curtain sidewalls, and you don’t want people walking inside your canopy tent to look at products, then there is nothing wrong with keeping your different products in individual containers on the table in front of you. Smaller plastic containers will work best.
  • Consider gender when arranging your booth setup. This comes down to knowing who your customers are. Women are more likely to take their time when they shop, so a booth setup that will allow them to come in the canopy tent and move around will be more ideal for them. Men are more likely to pick their product, buy it, and take off, so make everything easy to find for them.
  • Buyers should not be made aware of boxes and containers underneath your table. Your tablecloth needs to hide these items.
  • When allowing people inside your booth, make sure space is handicap accessible. One way to create a concierge environment at your booth is to allow room for people to move freely, including those people in wheelchairs. Also, an empty cushioned chair outside the front of your booth will have a welcoming appeal to any fatigued senior citizen that needs five minutes to sit down.
  • Make your most popular selling items the most visible. The prospective customer that walks by your booth should be able to immediately recognize your most popular products within 30 seconds of visiting your booth. When people are stepping up to your booth and leaving right away, this is an indicator that you may want to re-arrange the setup of your products.
  • Create an extra table stand for products by placing one giant plastic tub on top of another. The plastic containers may come in handy if you run out of places to put products you want to sell. This should be done as a last resort, though, as it might look a little tacky. This is where you use an extra tablecloth if you have it.
  • Placing three tables in a U-shape around the sides of your canopy tent is most ideal for movement in and out of the booth. This is probably the most common open booth setup that exists at flea markets. You might want to limit the number of people that you allow into the booth at one time. Three or four people are a good number.
  • Use the other side of your poster board if you need to re-write your message. If your letters and numbers are not readable from a distance away, then take a marker and re-write them in larger sizes on the unused side of the poster board. Clear messages that anyone can see and read will bring you flea market success.
  • Take a moment and pretend that you are the customer. As you look at your booth from the customer’s perspective, determine if all your products are organized in a way that makes for a convenient shopping experience. If this is not the case, make the necessary adjustments. Make sure your extension cords are not near where people will be walking.

flea market success

GET THE WORD OUT ABOUT FLEA MARKET PRICING GUIDE

  • Take advantage of word of mouth. The market for new customers is so much bigger than just the people at the flea market. Place an ad in the Sunday newspaper. Has it mentioned in the church bulletin? Use Mailchimp to notify a lot of people in your network. These strategies will work best if they are implemented and repeated four weeks in a row before the flea market.
  • Send out a group text to family and friends regarding your flea market booth. You will be surprised at how far a text message to ten people you know will go. Those ten people can forward your text onto even more people in their network.
  • Check on the cost of producing business cards. A booth is not complete if it does not have business cards in a business card holder for people to take. It is an excellent means for customers to follow up with you. Call or visit your local Staples and UPS store to get price quotes on business cards. Both places can help you design and print business cards.
  • Create a promotional flyer to hang up around town. Just by using PowerPoint or Publisher, you can create an artistic flyer to promote the flea market. This can be hung up on telephone poles, storefront windows, park benches, and bulletin boards all over town. Laminate if for an upgraded look.
  • A banner is an answer. Hanging a banner at the front of your booth will help you gain immediate visual attention, and it will make your booth stand out from the other booths around yours. The website, Banners on the Cheap, has various banner options and sizes to pick from along with a contact number.
  • Use raffles to bring people to your booth. Think of a couple of prizes that you can afford that people will have an interest in getting. Type up a creative raffle sign and place it in a sign holder stand on your booth table. Next to the sign holder have a jar and a stack of paper slips for people to fill out and put into the pot. Inform the people that you will announce a winner at a specific time.
  • Add some creativity to your signs and labels. Other than making your letters and numbers on your signs large enough to read, artistically writing them will give them added appeal. Another option is to use Word Art on Microsoft Word. Word Art has several artistic styles, font choices, and font sizes. This will correctly apply to signs and labels.
  • Extend your people to reach beyond your booth with plastic shopping bags. Shopping bags are an extra expense, so make sure you can fit them into your budget. If you are an established and successful vendor, then plastic shopping bags with your business logo and contact information on them may be the right move to make. 4Print USA is a good website for ordering plastic bags.
  • Promote your flea market using social media. You can use Facebook to create a business page, announce an event, post pictures, and mention special offers. Be sure to respond to customer questions as quickly as you can on Facebook. Also, Instagram is great for sharing photos from your past flea market experiences.
  • Wipe off old messages and write new notes on a dry erase board. Writing with a variety of colored dry erase markers will draw added attention to board messages that you want to communicate to your audience. These are great for promoting clearance sales. Consider getting an easel to set up your dry erase board outside your booth if you do not have room under the canopy tent.
  • Have a set of art supplies in your bookbag to make announcements over the day. As supply and demand change overtime during the flea market period, art supplies such as colored paper, markers, and tape will come in handy if a special announcement must be made. Be able to adjust on the fly.

MAKE CONNECTIONS WITH THE CUSTOMERS ON FLEA MARKET

  • Say hello to each customer if you can. The little things that can often be overlooked a lot. Saying hello is one of those little things. Make an effort to at least say hello and ask the customer how he or she is doing.
  • Have an activity the kids will want to do when they visit your booth. One idea is to set up a hula hoop as a target and have kids toss a bean bag or yarn ball through the hoop to win a prize, such as a small toy. Make sure that it is possible to do such an activity. You do not want your products to be knocked over, broken, and damaged.
  • Know how to negotiate with customers. When it comes to discussing prices with a potential customer, have a low, a middle, and a high number in mind. Start with a high number and see where it takes you. Your small number still must earn you a profit on the product. For example, you could set your low number to make you a 30% profit margin.
  • Bulk deals might help you sell products that you are trying to get rid of. When applicable, offer bulk deals to customers. This is necessary if there is a specific type of product that you are trying to get rid of, and do not have plans on re-ordering for future flea market sales.
  • Candy dishes and drawing tables are welcoming invites to kids. Having a candy dish on your desk will make kids happy. Be sure to monitor these areas of your booth, though, so that kids only take one piece of candy and so that they don’t steal your pencils. Just put one or two pencils out at the drawing table with around 20 sheets of paper.
  • Offer two items for three dollars. This is another excellent way to offer a deal to customers. These deals are great when trying to sell hand-held items. These are deals you can adjust in price by going up one dollar in the price for each additional item that the customer wants to buy. For example, offer three things for the cost of four dollars.
  • Be able to explain and show how to put the product together. There are a lot of people who do not like to purchase a product that requires them to take the parts out of a box and put them together. It is a deal-breaker for many. By explaining and showing how to put the product together, you can win over customers and overcome objections that they must buy a product they have to put together.
  • Remove defective products from your product inventory. If you notice that a product is faulty, then remove it from the display and put it off to the side. Never sell a defective product. This is 101 flea market head knowledge.
  • Do not be afraid to make small talk. The best way to make a sale is not to sound like you are making a sales presentation to a person. Instead, have a conversation with the person about your products. Be up on current events. When people see that you have an interest in talking about topics other than just your products, they will warm up to you, and they will be more open to buying from you.
  • Exhibit a pleasant personality. Being friendly to all people regardless of nature they show towards you is excellent customer service. Be kind to everyone. Display positive energy towards them.
  • Know when to approach the person. Do not ask them right away if you can help them with something. They will let you know when they are ready. Once you have given them a few minutes of space, you can then step in and share some product knowledge with them.
  • Sell yourself as well as the product. People are not just buying your product. They are buying into you as well. Say more than only product information to your potential customers. Tell them stories. People love good stories.
  • Be aware of the features and benefits of your products. You should be able to state three features and three benefits about every product that you offer on the spot when a person asks you. Features are what the product does, and benefits are how the product helps improve a person’s life. Saying these will impress prospective buyers, and they will recognize that you know your stuff.
  • Take advantage of downtime while you are sitting in your booth. Let us face it; flea market vendors have a lot of responsibilities. Make your life easier by completing some tasks when you have downtime and are not interacting with a customer. This downtime is a great time to answer emails from customers.
  • Mention unknown facts about products as you attempt to get potential customers to buy them. Your sales appeal will increase if you can mention effects regarding a product that a customer will not be able to find if they research the product on their own. For example, talk about a particular person’s life before and after they used the product and how things improved for them.
  • Inquire about bags. Ask flea market management if they provide bags for the customers’ products to go into. Place every receipt you write in the bag with the product. Bags with products and receipts in them are proof that the customer paid.
  • If you do not know the answer to a question, be upfront with the customer. It is okay to tell a person you do not know a solution to the problem that he or she is asking you. Offer to get back to the person with an answer if you can find one. Say it as a conditional statement. Do not make a promise that you cannot keep.
  • Follow up with customers after the flea market is over. Pick a handful of customers to call after the flea market is over. Follow up with them to tell them that you enjoyed meeting them and that you hope they are satisfied with their product purchase.
  • Get a customer you made a connection with to write a positive Google review about your flea market booth. People read Google reviews for businesses all the time. Positive publicity matters. Any positive comment you get from a customer will work in your favor.

STOCK AND RE-STOCK AND NEVER GO OUT OF STOCK

  • Expand your product inventory as your success increases. Start small. A non-selling stock takes up a lot of space around the house and has the potential to create clutter that you do not need. For example, you could start by selling blankets. Once you prove that you can sell sheets successfully, then you can consider selling quilts along with the blankets. You have to check your inventory control system to increase your success on product inventory.
  • Buy new products to re-sell in small quantities. Go to the wholesaler and buy the minimum amount required of a product. See how fast the product sells at the flea market. Adjust your order quantity based on customer demand.
  • Make time to network with wholesalers. Ask the wholesaler you work with if there is a regional convention where wholesalers meet. Put it on your calendar to attend at least two of these conventions a year. As you network with more and more wholesalers, you will become more knowledgeable of the types of discounts out there that you can take advantage of.
  • Create a contact list in your cell phone for wholesalers. Losing a vital phone number is annoying. Add contacts right away.
  • Learn what different wholesalers have to offer you. Just like flea markets, wholesalers have directories as well. Some of the top wholesale directory sites include: 4Wholesale USA, Greatrep.com, and ToyDirectory.com, Inc. 4Wholesale USA have 54 product categories and 700 suppliers.
  • Include at least one product in your booth that is super high in demand. Electronic products are top demand products. You will not be able to make the typical 30% – 50% profit margin on these types of products. A 10% profit margin on a high demand product will probably be more realistic. The idea is to draw more people to your booth using this top demand product.
  • Buy enough products to fill up your display tables. What you’re trying to do here is have enough products on hand to keep people interested and at your booth, so that you will have a chance to engage them in a conversation, so that you can attempt to make a sale.
  • If a customer insists on getting a damaged product, give it to the person for free. Never take money from a customer for a damaged good. This is just proper business etiquette to practice.
  • Search for new wholesale products to buy once a month. Call wholesalers ahead of time to see if they have the products that you are looking for. Make it a habit to become familiar with what days and times certain wholesalers get their shipments in. This will help you to plan accordingly.
  • Have products for special occasions stocked up in your inventory two months ahead of time? Remember, many businesses have Christmas items on display on the first day of November. You should follow a similar practice. Make sure to mark prices down on holiday products the day after the holiday is over. Also, it is wise to have some wedding products in stock throughout the year.
  • Bring at least three days’ worth of products to sell. This means that you will want to be able to keep products displayed on your tables for three straight days without a noticeable drop-off. The best time to re-stock your tables with products is when people traffic to your booth slows down.
  • Think twice before bringing a chair or a couch to a flea market. Chairs and sofas take up a lot of space, even in large vehicles, and they are a pain to move from your car to the booth spot. You are better off calling around to some thrift stores that will take that chair or couch. Just make sure to get good use out of it before you do this.
  • Sell the same category products if possible. If you manage to sell a baseball bat, then it is worth it to try and sell the same person, a baseball glove and a baseball. They will most likely use all three products. When you offer a customer multiple products that go together, you are practicing 101 flea market common sense.
  • Host a garage sale to raise money before becoming a flea market vendor. The garage sale is good practice to get before working at a flea market. It will help you work on your customer service and sales skills, get rid of products you no longer use that someone else might want, and earn some extra money that will go towards inventory purchases.
  • Obtain the price of the same product at three different wholesalers. Make an effort to search for deals on products. Calling and visiting three various wholesalers will give you a higher chance of getting great product deals.