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Business Plan for a Flea Market Vendor

written by: Storywriter•edited by: Ginny Edwards•updated: 5/19/2011

So you want to know how to be successful selling products at a flea market? Old or new? location? What else do you need to understand about this unique and exciting business?

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    One or more products. Old or new...and the addage Location, location, location

    Flea Market In this economy it is important fo all of us to get the most umph for our dollar. The one place that I know every Sunday that I can leave and feel that I got a good deal is our local flea market in Wentzville, Missouri. I have been on both sides of the selling process. Ten years ago my husband imported candles from China and we decided to sell them at the flea market. I am also a weekly consumer at the flea market. Here is the start of the process for being a successful vendor at a flea market and how you need to have a flea market vendor business plan.

    File Rosemont Flea Market 2 First of all, I would go to at least three or four flea markets in your area. When you do this, observe which of the vendors seem to have the most business. As you observe their customers, also observe whether the vendor is selling just a few types of products or a multitude of items. After you determine how many items they are selling, the next step is to determine whether they are new or used garage sale type items.

    I have found after frequenting many large flea markets that people come to get a bargain. Half of the people go for the new items and the other half want to find that diamond in the rough that will make them a small fortune on Antiques Roadhouse.

    I have also found that if you have a product that is unique and well-liked like fake designer handbags, shoes, and jewelry, you can just sell that and nothing else. At the Wentzville Flea Market you have many of the same sellers each and every week and they get there in the middle of the night to make certain that their spot is in the same place each and every week so that their customers know exactly where to find them right away.

    If you do want to sell new products, my husband researched products for over a year before we chose the candles that we sold well. He realized the China manufacturers and duplicate just about anything made in America and can duplicate it better and cheaper. The real cost in getting products from China is the shipping costs... and you have to realize that it sometimes can take months to get your product. The cheapest way to get the product to America is to buy in bulk a whole container of product and if you live far from a port, it will take longer to get the product in from the boat.

    The placement of your booth or tables at a flea market is important, too. If you are at a large flea market, you want to make sure that you are in a well-lit and well walked space that gives your customers enough to peruse your booth.

    This article is just the beginning of understanding how to become a successful vendor at a flea market. Check out the Flea Market Headquarters website and know that you must have a business plan before you start.

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    The Flea Market Vendor Business Plan

    businessplan It is essential to have a business plan even in the flea market business. No business works if you are not making money and the business plan is something you create before you start the business and something you review at least once a month to see if it needs to be changed.

    1. First of all you should have an introduction and overview of what you expect to accomplish at the flea market.

    2. Next, you need to review your sales and market potential. For a flea market you need to have a spreadsheet on the cost of products, the cost of transporting the products to you, the cost of the flea market booth fee, and the cost of employees if you have people working with you. The flea market will do the advertising but you need the cost of banners and fliers that you have at your booth. then you need to project how many products you expect to sell per hour, per day and how much profit there is per product.

    3. Then you have an operating plan. With this, you decide how many people will be working at a time and a schedule of when you will get to the market and how you will plan where you will put your booth. Include in your plan a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis.)

    4. Lastly, you need your financial analysis. With this section you determine how much you need to succeed per day and if you do not succeed what your exit strategies will be and your pay back analysis for any loans or change to the business to be more successful.

    Luckily, flea market vendors traditionally do not sign long term contracts so you can change your business plan, items, placement, as often as you find necessary to make your business a huge success.


    1. San Jose Flea Market: Wikimedia Commons / LFL16
    2. Rosemont Flea Market: Wikimedia Commons / Wolffystyle
    3. Integrated Business Planning Table of Contents: Wikimedia Commons / Travis A. Buckingham (released into the public domain)