Archive for February, 2013

Simple Rules Apply In Finding a Good Market to Sell Merchandise

Flea markets have lost sales just like everything else.  Going back in time to the mid 90’s (1995-1997), the markets were great.  On Sundays I would make between $900-$1,500 in sales every Sunday.  This is not so today unless you travel to different markets each week selling items people NEED and WANT at a true discount price versus retail store prices.

1.         Review and compare all locations you are considering.  This will take a lot of time.  Remember, location, location, location is #1.

2.         Go to the markets yourself as a buyer and see for yourself how the traffic is and talk to the professional vendors at least 2 or 3 times and get their advice on market conditions.

3.         After you narrow down your choices to two markets, test them as a vendor at least 3 to 5 times each; then decide.  You need a lot of buyers and not cheapskates that want everything for nothing.

4.         You will find markets that seem busy with a lot of so-called buyers, but look at them closely to see what they are buying, if anything.  Get a cup of coffee and sit down and observe the market.  Take notes.

5.         Back in the mid 90’s my average profit was 100%, which was not bad for one day.  I made an average of $1,000 for the day ($500 profit).  Our dollar was worth more.  In today’s economy, if you average $300-$500 in sales, that is good.  Today you cannot survive on profits of 100%; you need profits of 300%-800%.  Profit on your core items, not the high end items which if you double your money at 100% profit, that is good.  Core items are your items you sell all the time.  Example – you sell sunglasses at $5.00 each or 2 for $9.00 with an average cost of $.64 – $1.00, profit margin is 500%-700%.  Now you are making money.  In order to make these margins you need to spend time locating sunglasses in the off season (winter months or from November through February).  Wholesalers are more inclined to sell them at your price point.  Remember you make the money when you buy not when you sell.  Should you wait until March through June to purchase sunglasses your cost is going to be $1.25 – $1.75 each and there goes your profits down the drain.  Try to buy larger quantities and stockpile them.  They never go bad.  Sunglasses are a seasonal item and the best months for sales are April through July at all markets.

6.         More free merchandise:  lawn mowers, weed wackers, snow blowers in the trash.  Just pick them up and change the spark plugs, change the oil, sharpen the blades and clean them up.  These make great sellers at outside markets.  I know a vendor that sells only these items each and every Sunday.  He goes to the same market every Sunday and makes $350-$800 each and every Sunday on free merchandise that people throw away.  He only sells from March to November each year and earns several thousands of dollars in cash.  This vendor only drives around his home town a few times a week picking up trash.

7.         Final note — Make your plans now.  Locate and/or purchase merchandise in the off season.  Get prepared for the next season which is only a few months away.  Buy your merchandise and try to buy the entire deals for pennies on the dollar.  Sell off some of the excess merchandise to vendors out of your selling area.  Do not sell to vendors in your market area.  You can locate buyers on Craigslist or EBay or word of mouth.




How To Start Making Money With A Limited Budget and/or No Cash

1.         On trash days or the evening before, drive around in better neighborhoods.  People throw out a lot of perfect items and boxes of merchandise.  This is yours for the taking.  Clean up the items, test them, and then sell them at the flea market.  Free merchandise to sell equals pure profits for you.  Look for ads on Craigslist for free items.  Also place ads on Craigslist that you will haul away free items.


2.         Several people I know started their flea market business in this way in order to make enough cash to buy new merchandise to sell.  Some vendors just keep getting free merchandise every week.  With a little effort, time and gas money, anyone can do it.


3.         Contact people who run estate sales.  Tell them that after the sale is over, you will remove anything left over.  Sweep all the carpets as needed, mop floors including all tile and vinyl floors and broom all concrete floors.  Always check the attics for items — there can be big money in items left here.  Tell them if it is all trash, you will give them a price up front for removal and dumping fees  Charge $20 per hour per person, plus dumping fees and $25 for your gas.  Get paid the same day you finish the work.


4.         Here is a real life example:  In October of 2012, I was driving through a nice neighborhood in the South Hills of Pittsburgh and noticed a large oak entertainment center on the curb with several boxes and trash bags.  I stopped to check it out.  The entertainment center was in perfect condition.  A lady came out of the house and said that it was free to take.  I told her that it wouldn’t fit in my Honda and she, of course, laughed.  We talked for a few minutes and one thing lead to another.  She told me that there were old cards in two of the boxes at the curb.  I asked what type of cards and she said baseball and football cards.  I looked at them and placed them into my car.  The cards dated back from 1959 to 1980, and most in perfect condition.  I took them to a collector I knew and sold both boxes for $850 cash!  You never know what you will discover on trash day!


5.         If you want or need to make money, get off the couch and do it!  Anyone can do this.  You can come up with a thousand reasons why you cannot do it something without giving it a try.


6.         Remember, you will have good days and bad days looking for merchandise to sell.  Look for merchandise in the off season.  This is the time you will find quality merchandise and the best deals!