How to Sell at Flea Markets

Tips for Selling at Flea Markets, Antique Malls, and Vintage Shows

Toying with the idea of renting a booth? Perhaps you should. It's fun and lucrative if you do it right. Here's how to sell at flea markets, antique malls, and vintage shows:

  • 01 of 11
    Alameda Flea Market and Antique Show
    Paige K. Parsons/Moment//Getty Images

    There's more to starting a flea market business than paying for the booth and setting out your stuff.

    Though the rules vary depending on where you live and the flea market itself, following these steps will get your booth off to a great (and legal) start.

  • 02 of 11
    Alameda Flea Market
    CC BY-ND 2.0, flickr photo by craigemorsels

    Before you sign the rental agreement for any ongoing booth, make sure you have the right type of merchandise -- and in the right amounts. Your stuff might move better at an estate sale or consignment shop. 

  • 03 of 11
    couple shopping at indoor flea market booth
    Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Once you know you're ready for a regular booth (one that's open at least one weekend a month), you have to decide which booth type suits your personality, lifestyle, and available time best.

    At old-style open-air flea markets, you have to be on hand unless you hire help. At permanent indoor flea markets and antique malls, you stock and set up your booth, but someone else takes care of the selling.

  • 04 of 11
    woman selling funky vintage clothing at flea market
    Steve Ryan/Taxi/Getty Images

    Indie markets, vintage shows, food markets, and curated fleas have exploded onto the flea market scene in recent years. That means sellers have more merchandise options than ever before. 

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • 05 of 11
    shopper vintage merchandise at flea market
    Krzysztof Dydynski/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

    If you plan to sell antique or vintage goods in your booth, have you considered specializing in a particular style, period, or type? It's a great way to make your booth a go-to spot for regular customers.

  • 06 of 11
    Flea market merchandise at pop-up Paris flea market.
    By David McSpadden from Daly City, United States (Pop-up flea-market) [ CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    No matter what type of goods you decide to sell, you'll need lots of them -- especially once your booth becomes a smashing success. Learn where successful flea market and antique mall sellers source their merchandise. 

  • 07 of 11
    Vintage merchandise in a flea market booth.
    CC BY-ND 2.0 "Flea Market" by dorena-wm

    There's a definite learning curve to stocking your booth with goods that sell well.

    With experience, you'll have a better handle on what to buy -- and for how much. For now, protect your profits by avoiding these six common merchandise mistakes. 

  • 08 of 11
    Shoppers hate a loud, pushy yard sale seller.
    Sean Murphy/The Image Bank/Getty Images

    Merchandise mistakes aren't the only type new dealers make. There are lots of pitfalls when the shoppers show up too. Avoid missed sales and misunderstandings by making sure you never, ever do any of these seven things.

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • 09 of 11
    outdoor Saturday flea market at Plaza Constitucion
    Richard I'Anson/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

    Are you looking for some selling tips that will help make your new booth a success? If you follow these do's and don'ts for vendors, you'll start off ahead of the pack.

  • 10 of 11
    shopper and seller haggling at a flea market
    Danita Delimont/Gallo Images/Getty Images

    Your customers will expect to haggle, and you'll see your fellow sellers doing it too. You can refuse, but that makes little sense. Shoppers want to feel like they're getting a good deal -- and they assume you built haggling room into the prices in advance.

    Learning how to haggle is an absolute must for flea market selling success.  

  • 11 of 11
    Flea market shoppers at Marche aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves, Paris
    Oliver Strewe/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

    Do you hand over your money to people you hate? I'm guessing not.

    Flea market, vintage show, and antique mall shoppers feel the same way. They probably won't buy your stuff if they don't like you.

    How can you make sure your customers like you? For a start, make sure you don't do these six things.