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Flea Market Business Idea

If you love a bargain and unusual items, you might be interested in how to start a flea market. Operating a flea market will involve finding a large space that can house many individual sellers.

You’ll be responsible for maintaining the property, supplying the utilities, and advertising the flea market itself. Once individual vendors rent a space from you, you’ll help them choose their area and collect their daily, weekly, or monthly rent.

You’ll also need to collect admission at the door or gate if you choose to charge customers a nominal fee to enter. Some form of security should be supplied to ensure everyone’s safety and minimize the chance of theft.

How To Start A Flea Market – First Thing’s First

The first thing on your list when learning how to start a flea market will be to settle on a location. Flea markets can be operated in outside venues like drive-in movie theater parking lots or inside old department store buildings that have been left vacant.

Rents should be relatively cheap in these areas if there is little demand for the buildings. You’ll want to make sure that there is ample parking and plenty of lighting. Vendors will usually supply their own tables and shelving, but you’ll need to supply a few items.

Be prepared to keep the rest rooms stocked and clean as well as perform other daily maintenance activities. You’ll need a phone and intercom system to communicate throughout the large area that makes up the flea market.

A set of business forms including rental contracts will be needed. Stock up on basic lumber and marking supplies to mark off each vendor’s area.

Special Education Or Training

While it doesn’t take any special training to learn how to start a flea market, you should have basic business management knowledge. A flea market will have a lot of cash business flowing in and out.

If you’re not comfortable recording every transaction, hire a bookkeeper and an accountant to make sure the accounts are in order. If your flea market operation takes a cut of vendor sales, you will definitely want help recording and reconciling each participant’s sales ledger.

Make sure that you get a business license and any other permits that will be required to operate legally. A good general liability and workman’s compensation policy will be a lifesaver if anyone is hurt on your premises.

Perform a regular walk through to make sure that your vendors aren’t selling any illegal products or selling restricted items to underage customers.

Be on the lookout for bootleg products that violate licensing restrictions. You should also be prepared to step in if any arguments become physical between vendors or vendors and customers. Believe it or not, these types of issues happen, especially if alcohol is provided at the flea market event.

Advertising And Finding Customers

When you’re looking for customers after you’ve learned how to start a flea market, try a few radio or print advertisements. Hand out flyers at other discount stores, at car shows, in auto parts stores, at thrift stores, and anywhere else that your target market might be.

Once people begin to come to your flea market, word-of-mouth advertisement will bring everyone else in. If business is slow, add a few coupons to the ads. A few carnival rides or other attractions could also draw in a crowd. People will always show up for free food. A free hot-dog and lemonade lunch will draw a crowd while keeping your costs low.

Growing Your Flea Market

After you’ve become successful at learning how to start a flea market, it will be time to expand. Open a second flea market across town or open a few of your own vendor booths inside. You could open a restaurant, a skating rink, or a dance floor in an area you haven’t been able to fill.

Many of your patrons may also frequent pawn shops, and this might be a welcome addition to the flea market. If you have excess space in your parking area, you may want to add a used car lot or sell outdoor equipment.

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