Archive for September, 2012

Know Your Prices At Brick and Mortar Stores

You need to research selling prices on merchandise you decide to sell.  If you cannot buy merchandise cheap enough and sell it cheaper than any retail store (but still need to make a good profit) forget it.  This takes the most time – researching and locating wholesale suppliers.  That is why I say never ever reveal your sources for purchasing merchandising.  Your sources are valuable.

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Best Time and Worst Time to Buy Merchandise

The best time is the off season because your prices are at least 60%-80% cheaper and the wholesalers and vendors need cash.  They will deal if you ask them.  Save a percentage of all sales and hold until the off season to buy for the next year.  Example:  never buy sunglasses in May, June, July or August unless you want to pay top dollar and make little to no profit.  I buy sunglasses around Christmastime or early January of each year.  My cost is then around $.57-$.68 each for brand name glasses that I sell for $5.00 or two for $9.00.  These are name brand, brand new with factory price tags.  Stay away from shelf pulls and returns – too much junk in those deals.  My profit on a 2 for $9.00 sale is 792%.  My source for sunglasses sells the same ones from April through August at $1.25-$1.50 each.  These glasses are good quality and hold up.  Buyers like the price and quality.  I also inspect, clean and remove all tags on each sale – a little service no one else offers.  And I don’t understand why vendors who have a perfect opportunity to make more sales and profit by offering a little service do not do so.  Remember, service sells and people remember you for that which equals more profits.

Buying the Entire Deal

The best way to go is if the price is right, if it’s quality merchandise, if it’s new and if it will sell at the markets you go to.  Not all merchandise sells at every market.  Buyers are different everywhere.  If the deal is good, buy all and wholesale out what you do not need at 100%-200% of your cost – double or triple your money fast.  The best place to sell is Ebay or Craigslist.  Be careful of Craigslist though, as there are a lot of scams on this site.  Never sell to local vendors that sell at the same markets that you do.  Sell wholesale to out of state vendors when possible.

What To Do If Buyers Complain About Your Prices

First off, make sure your selling price is lower than any store.  Know your competition at the market.  Offer something like a little service no one has.  Know your merchandise.  You do not ever need to be the lowest price on any item sold, unless it is junk or defective, etc.

Here’s a first hand example that happened to me on July 29, 2012.  There are five other vendors selling sunglasses.  Three of the vendors changed their price to $3.00 each at the end of the season sale they claim in July.  Sorry, they are not selling glasses, so they think by dropping the price will move them.  Not so.  First off, you get the cheapskates buyers, who are nothing but a problem.  You are better off packing them away until next year.  Their profits drop down to 100%  and their cost is an average of $1.50.  My profit is 792% per sale. I sold 90 pairs of glasses at one pair for $5.00 each and two pair for $9.00 each on Sunday and not one buyer said that the other vendors were selling their glasses for $3.00 each.  Why?  Because I sell name brand quality sunglasses and inspect and clean them for all my customers .  With a little add on like inspecting and cleaning them goes a long way.  Plus I give away a visor clip for every two pair purchased.

Sales at Flea Markets Do Change

Sales at Flea Markets Do Change.

If you think you will make $600-$1,500 in sales everyday you are at a flea market, you are dreaming.  Possibly at a special event and/or fair for a few days only.  Store sales are up and down everyday so are the flea markets.  You deal with weather, time of the year, time of the month, the size of the market, type of buyers; even if you sell at a large market with transient buyers or run a route of different markets, this will occur.  I do not know of any business where sales are the same and real stable everyday.  Different factors cause sales changes, so be prepared and let’s assume you are a vendor with a few years of experience and have your equipment and stock.  Make a plan and stick to it.  Total income for the day, deduct your set up fee, gas, then take at least 25% of your sales for replacement stock, then 25% rain day fund.  This leaves 50% for you.  Should you decide not to do this, it will adversely affect you at some point.  Be smart and plan ahead.

For example:  sales $500 plus gas $15, set up fee $25, gross net equals $460.  Hold $115 for replacement merchandise, $115 rain day fund.  This leaves $230 for you to spend as you like.  A lot of people will come up with excuses of why they cannot do it.  Forget that!  If you have no plan, believe me, you will fail.  Now some days you may not need any money to spend which should occur at least once or twice a month then just put the money away in your rain day fund.  You will have weather day problems or emergencies where you cannot go out, then you have your rain day fund to fall back on.  Plan ahead and pay yourself.

Business Sense

Business Sense

All this information can seem overwhelming; it’s not.  After the first year it will be like brushing your teeth everyday.  In any business you need a plan and put it on paper to review and follow it.  Even though we are talking about a flea market, business planning applies to everything you do in life.  The reason I say flea market selling is one of the best businesses to be in are:  low overhead for merchandise buys, equipment, gas for a truck, small set up fee and that’s it.  No major rent, utilities, insurance, and other red tape that a brick and mortar store has.

The best part is that it is a cash business.  Note:  if any brick and mortar store’s sales fall to low they are stuck in a lease, whereas in the flea market business, you can just move on to another market.  Now this is common sense.