Flea Market Booth Shenanigans

In January, I was thinking about the best way to declutter my house while also recouping some cash.  Normally I would just put up a free ad on Craigslist or take a car load to the thrift store, but in this time of saving for land/future house, every penny counts.  I finally settled on the idea of a flea market booth if the rent was cheap enough.  In this area, a flea market is indoors, typically a large old warehouse building without adequate heating and cooling where you get a booth as you would in an antiques store.  Except in the flea market, anything goes and you can sell Little Debbie snack cakes if you so choose (seriously, I have seen this).

In typical Frugal Shrink style, I procrastinated calling the flea market until February.  I had been at my mom's house chatting with her and my grandpa about decluttering.  My mom had the brilliant thought that if a person had 20,000 items and they sold them each for one dollar, that of course  would total $20,000.  In that moment something clicked for me and I realized I needed to call the flea market and start selling stuff.  Cheap.

They did have one small booth available when I called, a small end booth for $30 a month.  It's bigger than an end cap but smaller than my previous antique booth.  I can (and do) cram a LOT of stuff in there.  The walls pretty much consist of boards and chicken wire, but it did come with a couple of shelves already hung on the "walls." I took in a few standing shelves to display other stuff. The costs of being in the booth are the $30 per month rent and 10% commission.  They don't charge the 3% credit card fee as some do.  They cut checks twice per month and for some reason don't take your rent out of the checks- you have to pay that separately.  There is no contract and there are very few rules, which I both like and don't like.

I've been putting in my personal household castoffs and castoffs that my mom has generously donated to me and things are FLYING out of the booth.  I price things very cheaply- just above yard sale prices but still cheaper than 90% of the other booths.  I'm sure I am well-loved by the other resellers.  Ha ha.  Most items are $1, $2, or $3, although I do have some higher priced items as well.  It's a good mix.  I'm looking to move stuff fast, and I try not to be too emotionally attached to my stuff.  Think about how popular dollar stores are- people don't think much about their purchases in there because the stuff is so cheap.  I'm going for that same concept with my booth. 

One of the ladies who works there told me that I'm selling really well which surprises her.  I should've asked why but didn't think to do so- I suspect it has to do with the fact that I just have inexpensive everyday household items.  She also told me that the people who work there like to shop my booth. The last few times I've been in, the employees have immediately come back and shopped the booth, which is great!!  Whatever moves stuff out the door.

In terms of financials, I am doing much better than I ever did with my antique store booth.  My items there weren't expensive, but they weren't cheap, either, and of course they had to be within the parameters of what they wanted to sell and not just any old thing.  My checks so far have totaled around $346 over eight or nine weeks.  That includes the 10% store commission but not the $30 per month rent.  Not a fortune by any means, but not bad for offloading castoffs very cheaply!

I'm not sure how long I'll keep this up, but it has been a fun (and profitable) project!!


Danavee said…
I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My jaw dropped at how much you're making. And the idea of moving lots of stuff quickly for cheap really makes a ton of sense. I like that you aren't having to cover the 3% for cards (THAT ADDS UP). I have never really thought about getting another spot elsewhere, BUT you are making me think about that. There are things that my place won't take (that aren't moving on Craigslist) that we need to sell. Hmmmm. I have more questions! I'm gonna message you on FB!
Thanks, Danavee!!! I know, I had never considered the "move lots of cheap stuff" theory before now but it clearly works! Can't wait to hear what you decide to do. :)

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