As the world economy continues to slag along more people are shopping at flea markets and swap meets to get the most for their dollar. Flea markets and swap meets are definitely seeing a steadily increasing customer base. Consequently, vendors are putting better profit in their pockets while still providing very decent money-saving deals to their customers.
Although times for flea market and swap meet vendors are getting better, still there are certain items you should avoid selling to make money at flea markets. Here are the top five.
Although in many cases vendors can obtain new and used pants and jeans at very low prices, they must carry many different sizes. Not only must they be concerned with waist size, they must also be concerned with the pant length. Anyone just starting out in the flea market business will need to invest heavily in the beginning, as they will need to buy many different sizes and lengths before they will have the sizes their customers need.
2. Shoes and boots.
The same can be said for most footwear, which comes in many different sizes. You would need to make a rather substantial investment in the beginning, as you would need to carry many different sizes and styles. Footwear such as shoes, work boots and cowboy boots also takes up a lot of space in your vehicle while transporting it to the flea market, limiting the amount you can carry in one trip.
3. Cowboys hats.
Not only do hats take up a lot of room during transportation, they are also easily crushed and can be damaged. Again, there is the size factor. You would need many different sizes, as heads come in many different shapes and sizes. If a hat doesn’t fit or feel right, you will not make the sale. Hats are also light in weight, meaning that wind can blow them off your tables when you set up in an unprotected outside space.
4. Candles and chocolate and items that melt.
Regardless of whether you set up inside a building (often not air-conditioned in summer heat) or in an outside space in the sun, it is essential to avoid selling anything that will melt or go bad when placed in the sun. Even in the shade under an awning it becomes hot enough in summer to melt candles. Candles, anything chocolate-covered, candy such as Gummy Bears, Mike and Ikes and Tootsie Rolls, even vitamins will go bad when left in the sun.
When an item becomes unsellable, you lose money. You may be able to sell those damaged items at a steep discount, often at or below your cost, to recoup some of your investment, but in most cases the damage will be too severe and you will end up throwing your investment in the trash, or, as is the case with melted chocolate candies, eating them at home yourself after cooling them in the refrigerator. You may get the enjoyment of the taste but it might not be as sweet as it should be as you are not making any profit.
5. Glassware and other items containing glass.
When I hear glass breaking, I hear the sound of a vendor losing money.
Mirrors, snow globes, wine glasses, goblets, cups, plates, windows, grandfather clocks, anything that contains glass is breakable. Not only must vendors contend with wind if setting up outside, they must also contend with young children and adults who turn and accidentally knock items off the table, such as women with purses hanging from their shoulder. They turn, forgetting about their purse, and their purse knocks over the items on the table.
Even when glass items do not fall to the ground, it is often enough to cause damage when they merely fall over and make contact with other items on the table. Glassware must not only be unwrapped and unboxed at the beginning of the day, it must be wrapped again and placed back in the boxes when you close up at the end of the day, when you are most tired, giving you a lot more to do before you can go home. Glassware also can break in transit to and from the flea market.
6. Heavy or large, bulky items.
Items that have weight, such as tools, bench weight sets, boat anchors, bags of concrete mix (80 pounds each on average) can make for a very long day. The same can be said for items that are large or bulky, such as refrigerators, washers and dryers, stoves and mattresses. Not only will transporting them be difficult if you do not have a large truck or trailer, you also will not be able to fit very many in one flea market space. Renting a second or third space increases your costs, possibly reducing your profit. You also will need to unload them in the morning and load up what you did not sell that day. It can become labor-intensive and you could possibly hurt your back in the process.