Making Money the Flea Market Way

Making Money the Flea Market Way
  • Opening Intro -

    You've seen them near where you live and have likely shopped at one: flea markets.

    Typically, they're outdoor markets where second-hand goods are bought and sold. The term is derived from a French term "marché aux puces" for a market that sells used goods that might contain fleas.


Although fleas might be present in some goods, most flea markets have a wide variety of low-, moderate- and high-quality gear available for sale. Moreover, there are more than 1,100 such markets across the country, raking in more than $30 billion annually according to the National Flea Market Association.

You’ve shopped flea markets as a customer. Here is how you can work one as a vendor, making money the flea market way.

1. Become a vendor. To become a vendor at a flea market, you have to identify where such markets are located. Before applying for a space, you may need to secure a sale tax identification number or other business license first. Most flea markets are week to week, meaning you can sell your goods when you want, paying a fee to display your wares. Ask vendors about their experience buying and selling at a particular market.

2. Assemble your goods. You know what you want to sell at a flea market, right? You can sell just about anything at most markets although tobacco products, adult goods, liquor, and some types of food may be banned. Some markets are okay with ammunition while others are not. Novice sellers may start by selling goods that they have in their home. Instead of setting up a garage or yard sale at home, they take their stuff to the flea market. The advantage here is that a wider selection of people might be interested in purchasing what you have on display.

3. Be smart about pricing. You should have a good idea on how to price things before putting them on sale. You should also know that many buyers like to dicker and will offer a lower price. Some flexibility on your part can close the sale. Just make sure that you’re making a profit at the end of the day. If you buy products with the intent to resell, understand your costs before setting prices.

4. Pitch your wares. At flea markets you’ll find a wide variety of merchants on hand. Some sit behind a table, quietly taking in the crowds, reading a book, or listening to music. If you are a passive seller, you won’t make as much money as people that are proactive. That means displaying your goods where people can easily see them, hanging up related signage, and talking with people as they walk by. Don’t badger customers, but do let them know what you have available. Show yourself friendly and be ready to engage your customers.

Flea Market Considerations

Most flea market customers take cash only; few will accept a check. Some vendors accept credit cards, validating the same with credit card readers attached to their smart phones. Expect to collect sales tax as required by law or risk having your local government crack down on your operation.

See AlsoHow to Prepare for a Success Fall Yard Sale


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Categories: Money News

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".