Archive for June, 2014


A survey was taken this year and 80% of buyers are only buying items they need due to the economy. The other 20% are impulse buyers and/or collectors and walkers. Sellers need to think about what they are selling. Take your own survey at markets and watch people what they buy. Sellers need items that are needed by most people. Offer services like cell phone repairs, watch batteries and bands, or just basic simple watch repairs and adjustments.

The top items to sell this this are:
1. Food – making food on site. People always have money to feed their face.
2. Homemade baked goods.
3. Candy
4. Packaged store foods
5. Fresh produce
6. Seasonal items like sunglasses
The list goes on. Always check with the market you want to sell at to see if you are allowed to sell items you select. Every market has their own rules and every item will not sell at all markets. You must test the various markets. Try to offer at least 2-3 main core items to sell, but in large quantities so you draw attention to your set up. Use bright bold covers for your tables. When using a tent, place 2 flags of your choice on PUC poles 10’ high to draw more attention to your spot. Talk to all customers within 20 seconds. Buyers like friendly vendors. Never sit on a 5 gallon bucket in front of your display – you will look like a homeless person begging for a handout. I see this almost every week. Who wants to buy from a vendor like that? In most cases a vendors sitting on buckets do not speak to the buyers other than placing their hand out for money if they buy something.



If selling new items, do not go to an antique or collectors market. You are wasting your time. It is best to go to a market that has a mix of new, used and collectibles or a show like a county fair that draws thousands of people; provided that you have the proper merchandise to sell. For example: sunglasses, T-shirts, cell phone items, food, etc. Farmers markets are mostly for fresh vegetables, fruits and baked goods. New or used merchandise will not sell at farmers markets. Shows are good if you sell the proper merchandise like everyone else there is selling. Watch your set up cost at shows, fairs, etc. This is where research and time comes in. Check it out first and ask questions.

The people who are running the show or event will always say it is great – watch out – never go set up to sell without doing your homework. Your wallet will show the results. Talk to vendors who sold there and find out what they sold and decide if the cost to set up and traffic will be worth your time. The grass always looks greener on the other side, but 90% of the time it isn’t. As I said before, moving around to different markets every Sunday in a cycle like 4-6 weeks, then start over again. This produces the best results with a higher income.


1. Appearance is number one. Choose bright colors, arrange merchandise neatly.
2. Speak to buyers within 20 seconds, otherwise, lose the sale.
3. Offer extra services others do not. Use poster board with clear lamination to protect your signs.
4. Attach 3’x5’ flags (of your choice) to your tent. They work. I have used them for over ten years now.
5. All merchandise must be clean (new or used).
6. Stay away from knock-offs.
7. Offer at least two price points – single and multiples.
8. Work with people on large purchases and adjust your selling price. Listen to what the buyer wants.
9. Consider moving around to different markets every week (your sales will increase). You will need help with this.
10. Try to sell items people want and need; this is where research comes in. Stay away from basic used household items. In most cases they have little to no value.
11. Be prepared prior to going out – check over your truck, merchandise, equipment, etc. Also, plan for rain. Have plastic covers cut to size to protect your merchandise.
12. Have plenty of change – $50 is normally enough and use a nail apron. Never leave a money box out in clear view.
13. Make friends with other professional vendors – get their phone numbers.


Finding excess merchandise in large lots is pretty much dried up. Every once in a while you can find a deal by becoming friends with other vendors. Prior to 2008 excess deals were everywhere, but not today. If you run across one, buy it, providing it’s a good deal on quality and price. Look on Craigslist in major cities. Even if you have to drive a distance to pick up a good deal, run the numbers first to make sure it is a good deal. Buying wholesale limits you in many ways. If it is not a quality product at a cost where you can resell at profit margins of 300-800%, walk away from the deal. Some wholesalers are a rip-off. Compare quality and price with freight costs. On EBay it seems like there is very little large deals anymore. But I found out that if a seller is listing several items you want to sell contact them directly to see if you can strike a deal. Pay with PayPal only using a credit card like Discover to protect yourself, If the deal goes bad, you can send it back to the seller with a tracking number, then call your credit card company to cancel the charges. Discover has done this for me several times over the past five years. They are great. Your best bet, if possible, is to become friendly with other professional vendors for sources of merchandise deals. These are normally all cash deals only. Trust no one! Check the merchandise and counts; protect yourself. If a seller gives you BS because you want to check and verify the count tell them “no thanks” and walk away. It’s your money. Some vendors and/or sellers are less than honest, but generally most are honest. It only takes one bad apple to rip you off.


Stop if you cannot afford to invest a little in your set up. Appearance and being organized means 80% of your sales. Just go to market and see for yourself Making do on all of your equipment set up only works to a point. Invest in yourself, buying quality tables and table covers. A commercial E-Z Up Tent is reusable for years if you maintain it; it will last. Aside from equipment set up, your merchandise needs to be clean and neat when selling your items. If it gets dirty, which it will, you need to spend the time to clean it up. Who wants to buy dirty new items? Not me or anyone with half a brain. I was told a long time ago that when you do something, do it right or don’t do it at all. Make sure your vehicle is clean also, inside and outside. Personal appearance is a major deal also. Buyers and other vendors all notice these things so do it right from the start even if you need to borrow some equipment at first. Having clean equipment doesn’t cost a lot of money – only some time and soap. Follow these simple steps and watch your sales increase.