Kimberly Martis is a Dutch Caribbean freelance writer. She writes about culture, beauty, tv-shows, music, movies, odd jobs, and fiction.
Do you have a room, attic, or basement filled with old stuff ready to be thrown out? Before you go ahead and throw everything out, you should consider selling it at a flea market. You may think that nobody wants to buy your old stuff, but at the flea market everything goes, and you can earn some extra money at the same time. Sounds like a win-win situation to me!
Preparing to Sell
Preparation is key. Make sure that you know what you’re going to sell. When you’ve put all your items on the stand and you suddenly don’t want to sell it anymore, you can take it off the stand. But if a customer wants to buy it before you take it off the stand, it can turn into an awkward situation; the customer may take it personally and not buy anything at all. And the most awful scenario would be if you actually sell something and regret it later. A sale is a sale, which means that after you’ve sold it you can’t get it back. If you can buy it again, it might not be a big problem. But if you’re emotionally attached to something, it can be a big blow.
Another part of preparation is the pricing. You don't need to make price tags for all the stuff that you’re selling. But you need to have an idea beforehand what price you want for each item you sell.
The Day of the Sale
Pick a Spot
When selling at a flea market, there are two options. The sellers can pick their own stand or you get a stand assigned. In both cases, it is best to get there early. Especially when you get to pick your own stand. This way you can pick the best spot to get an advantage when selling.
Get There Early
When you get there early, you have a chance to put your stuff up in peace just as you want. If you get there late, people might try to buy stuff straight out of your hands or boxes. This might be a bit overwhelming and may make you lose control. So, get there early so that when the potential buyers get there your stand is already completely set up.
Stay Till the End
Even if you haven’t sold much, it's important to stay till the end. Many customers decide to buy something at the end. Some do it because they don’t want to walk around with a lot of stuff the whole day. Others because they are trying to decide if they should buy an item. Others buy items in quantity for big customers. These are people that wait till the end of the flea market and buy all the stuff that is left. Therefore, it's important to stay till the very end if you really want to make some sales.
Tip: lower your prices at the end. This can be the extra push someone needs to buy something.
Bring a Friend
Selling stuff by yourself the whole day can be draining and boring. But if you bring a friend with you, it will be easier to get through the day. And you might even have fun. Besides having the support of a friend, it is also good to have an extra pair of hands to help you. It might get busy and your friend can help you sell your stuff or take over your stand when you need to go to the restroom.
Of course, it can be fun selling with your friend, but be careful to not (unintentionally) ignore potential costumers. If customers decide not to disturb you while you are in an engaging conversation, they will not buy anything from your stand.
You will sell more stuff when you’re friendly. Selling stuff might not be your favorite thing to do, but sitting there with a slap face will not make it any better. So, greet your potential costumers with a smile. You shouldn’t be fake but some friendliness will get you far.
Things You Can Use to Deal With Payments
Some people would like to pay by card. Nowadays you can rent a portable card reader. It’s not expensive and really comes in handy. If you don’t want to rent a portable card reader, you can also download a card reader app on your smartphone.
You can bring a money box with you to put all of your earnings in. Money boxes come in all sorts and sizes, so you can decide which one is best for you. One advantage of a money box is that it shows you how you are doing in terms of money; one disadvantage of a money box is that you constantly need to keep an eye on it.
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Fanny packs are back in style. At the flea market, they are more than an accessory. A fanny pack is great to put your money in and you don’t have to keep an eye on it as it is attached to your body.
Extra Items to Bring to the Sale
Presentation is everything. A tablecloth will help with that. So, bring a tablecloth with you to put on the stand. Besides that, you will want to put your stuff on a clean place and the stands are not always clean.
Bring bags with you for when you make a sale. Some people bring their own bags with them but the ones who don’t will appreciate a bag. If you’re going to bring bags with you, try to avoid plastic bags, as we all know plastic bags are bad for the environment.
At some flea markets there are stands that sell food. You can go spend your hard-earned money there or you can bring your own lunch. Besides that, it is always a good idea to bring lunch and some snacks as some flea markets don’t allow food stands.
Standing behind a stand for many hours in a row can be exhausting. Therefore, you should bring something to sit on as flea markets only provide stands. You can bring a folding chair or a stool as these are easy to carry and are comfortable enough to get you through the day.
Things Not to Do at the Flea Market
Make a Logo
A logo is something for professionals and companies. As you’re just selling old stuff at a flea market, you don’t need a logo. It will only cost you time, energy, and money. And it doesn’t make a difference to your customers.
Make Custom-Made T-shirts
The same goes for t-shirts. If you want to wear the same t-shirt as your friend, that’s possible, but don’t make t-shirts. It’s not an outing or bachelor(ette) party. Nobody will notice that you have on custom-made t-shirts and it will not help you make more sales.
Make Price Tags
Making price tags will cost you time and energy and it is definitely not necessary. As you are not selling in a store, you don't need set prices. Besides that, you might want to change the prices during the day, which will make your price tags useless.
Promoting the flea market is not your job. The organization is doing this, so leave it up to them. What you can do, though, is share the organization's flyer on your social media to let people know you will be selling stuff at the flea market.
© 2019 Kimberly Martis
Kimberly Martis (author) on July 02, 2019:
Hi Liz! We also have car boot sales but they aren't as popular as the flea markets. Unfortunately, you do need to be very observant as stealing seems to be apart of the flea market culture.
Liz Westwood from UK on May 19, 2019:
This is a very helpful article. In the UK we also have car boot sales. I have heard that you need to be observant to prevent some people helping themselves for free.