As people are turning from employers to self-sustaining sources of income, flea market vending is becoming a popular alternative to traditional jobs. Flea market vending offers a viable solution because of the small amount of cash it takes to start up and the freedom that the business offers. Setting up to become a vendor is essentially a snap. Knowing what to sell is the big question, though. By following a few simple guidelines vendors can build an inventory of merchandise that will make their booths profitable show favorites wherever they set up.
As a vendor your goal is not only to sell products that people will buy but also to purchase those products at a cost low enough to allow you to sell them for a decent profit.
At a minimum you should be able to double your money on each sale. If your cost for an item is $ 2 but you can not sell it for more than $ 2.50, you are not making a decent profit. If that item could have sold for double what you paid, it might have been worth the investment to purchase a box of them. Remember that you are selling in limited spaces and you need to be able to stock items that will bring in profits high enough to earn you a living, as well as to purchase more merchandise. Once you understand that your merchandise must have profit potential, you need to find out what people want to buy. It is not going to do you any good to end up with a box of low cost inventory that no one wants.
Go to a flea market and explore what is going on at the booths. Why is a particular booth getting so much attention? Are people just looking or actually putting their cash on the table? Interest is a good thing, but if no cash trade follows, a crowd at the booth is not doing a vendor much good. Spending the time to evaluate what sells and what does not give you a better idea of the type of merchandise to sell.
Avoid merchandise which is only interesting to certain groups of people without your booth being set up at an event specifically for that interest group. If there are going to be forty thousand people at a show, you do not want to cater to only a few hundred of them, you want something that will be of interest to all of them. For example, if you specialize in gemstone rough and set up a table at a rock and gem show, all you need to make sales is quality gem rough material at reasonable prices. If you go to a flea market, however, only a few people in a large crowd may be interested in your products. You will need something else to draw the general crowd. If you are diligent you might be able to find merchandise that will appeal to both the public and your special crowds.
You will also want items of varied price ranges. You will want some higher priced items which bring good per sale profits, but you still will want to feature some inexpensive low cost items for impulse buyers. People who otherwise would have passed up purchasing anything at your booth will often buy an interesting one or two dollar novel item that Aunt Martha would love or little Johnny is begging mommy to buy for him. These items may not bring in cash cow profits on their own, but sales add up over the weekend. Seeing others smiling and handing over cash for merchandise will also draw others who are curious to see what people are buying.
If you are planning to set up a semi-permanent booth somewhere or plan to return to a particular location periodically, it is a good idea to stock consumable items. Consumable products are items which people use up and run out of, such as skin creams or printer ink. Stocking quality consumable items that are hard to get elsewhere will allow you to build a repeat business. The more repeat customers you can generate, the more profitable your entire business will become. Repeat customers will not only buy their favorite product over and over again, they might see other things that they want to "pick up" while grabbing their new supply and they are also good word-of-mouth advertising for you.