How to Run a Flea Market?

Last Updated on October 5, 2020

In almost every community all over the world, there are regular flea markets, usually held at the same place, typically once a week.

Organizing a regular Saturday or Sunday flea market for an area that doesn’t have one is a great idea for a local business. You start by finding a parking lot that is unused on say a Saturday or Sunday. You offer to rent it (to use profits for charity?) on a day when it is otherwise unused. Normally, the owner will make a deal to allow this free or for a small percentage of your profits. If the owner is smart, she or he will also get a cleanup deposit from you.

After any flea-market disbands, there is usually a mess of paper, garbage and abandoned goods to deal with. Once you have the space, you get the word out that there will be a big “Garage Sale” a chance to empty your attic and basement at a certain location. If part of the proceeds is designated to go to charity, you will get a lot of help from newspapers, TV and local radio stations. They will publicize your event.

Next. You make arrangements for space and then sell and assign small areas for people to put out all their junk on portable tables on sale for the day.

Price is whatever the traffic will bear. Experiment. One parking bay space for the day might cost your tenant $10 or $20. If you are having trouble renting, you can make the price “free unless you sell over $10 worth of your goods.” You might have cheaper rates and designated areas for used baby clothes and toys only. Or higher-priced areas for antiques and fine art.

The learning process is going to be ongoing with you having experiences good and bad until with perseverance, your particular flea market becomes an “institution.”

Study what the competition is in other towns or neighbourhoods. What are they doing? Imitate what works and try to improve on the competition’s existing arrangements.

An alternative, to start very small and gain experience, is rent your own space at a flea market, or go to any place with heavy foot traffic, put your blanket down and peddle whatever you want to get rid of.

We have found that marking everything with a sticker price of “$5 or best offer” is more efficient and sells more than bargaining for every item.

Once you go to a flea market or auction sale, you have probably noticed that everything from broken furniture to “new” appliances are on sale.

Happy trading.