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"Any advice for selling at a flea market?" Topic

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834 hits since 2 Jun 2018
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Stew art Supporting Member of TMP02 Jun 2018 9:38 a.m. PST

Hello all!

At the end of September I'm going to Pacificon, here in lovely Ca.
For the first time, I'm thinking about trying to sell in the flea market. There are 3, one on Friday night at 11pm and the other two being held 1:30 to 3 on Sat and Sun.

Y'all have any good advice for a first time seller?

ChrisBrantley02 Jun 2018 9:55 a.m. PST

Just a general piece of advice…if the flea markets are crowded, buyers won't have time to carefully peruse a densely stacked table of goods. Make sure your items are displayed in an organized way where individual items can be easily identified at a glance. where you have multiples (like board games, etc.) keep second and thirds of the same items under the table until the first item sells.

As to which session, by Sunday, buyers are looking for deals from sellers who would prefer not to pack up and bring their unsold items home. Plus many attendees will depart early to make it home for work first thing Monday. So if you're looking to maximize return, I'd think you'd do better on Saturday, when you'll get maximum exposure and customers should still have plenty of dollars in their pockets.

Of course table pricing is another factor to consider.

Ferd4523102 Jun 2018 9:57 a.m. PST

First, be super organized. Know where everything is located.
Second have bags and/or boxes, tape, scissors and markers
Third, think seriously what you are willing to accept and what you are willing to bundle. The customer is a cheap guy (aren't you) so get over yourself and your expectation prior to setting up the table.
Fourth, have all kinds of change available.
I know there is more but that should get you started. H

Daribuck Supporting Member of TMP02 Jun 2018 11:16 a.m. PST

All this advice is good. My best advice: Have a "bottom" line price for everything you want to sell, and start reasonably above that, and decide if you are willing to deal. For example, I like to buy painted GHQ tanks, and don't like to pay more than $1.00 USD each. So I f I see 10 priced at $2.00 USD each, I'll pass by, but if I see them at $1.50 USD each, I'll say "I'll give you $10 USD for all ten…" HOPEFULLY, I get what I want, and the seller gets rid of ALL his inventory in one swoop. The moral is: KNOW your bottom line on what you want to sell stuff for. And do NOT be afraid top say no… or YES!

Mirosav Supporting Member of TMP02 Jun 2018 11:25 a.m. PST

Have your prices marked. Bring small bills for change. Know the minimum price you're willing to accept. Depending on what you are selling, bring plastic bags/boxes/etc.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP02 Jun 2018 12:05 p.m. PST

I'll second most of the previous advise.

Mark what they are and how much you want for them so the gamer three feet back from your stand looking over the shoulders of other gamers can see whether or not there's something he's interested in.

Always remember that the objective is not to bring the stuff home with you. Forget what you paid for it. Forget how hard you worked on it. Focus on the price at which it will go away.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP02 Jun 2018 12:12 p.m. PST



Flea markets can be crowded. If I peek at your table and see a bin of loose metal figs, marking it $0.25 USD each is no help. Are they WW2? Crimea? Babylonians?

It's no problem if you label it: complete grab bag of whatever in 25mm. Cool. But make it easy for me to give you my money.

If you have some items where the price is firm, mark that too. Save me and you both a lot of time.

Schogun02 Jun 2018 12:43 p.m. PST

Saturday AM seems to be the best time to catch the one-day visitors.

Label all items. Size, mfr, price.
Display your items on your table so all can see. Some folks will rummage in a box full of stuff but most will glance and go.
Plenty of change.
Bags, boxes, etc.

I have found that unpainted lead sells much better if I include a picture of it/them painted pulled off the internet.

Good luck!

KPinder02 Jun 2018 12:53 p.m. PST

All good advice. Also,

Find what size table you're going to have and lay your stuff out at home on a similarly sized area as a dry run. In this way you can try to figure out if you're overloading.

Find out what the rules are for under table boxes. The fire code in some places prohibit this. If it's ok, then some boxes of stuff at your feet can be useful, but only keep your bottom tier stuff down there.

Expect haggling. Think in advance about what you'll do if you get a big offer. If you have a bunch of similar items, be prepared for "what will you take for all of them?". If you try counting up what's left at full price at that point, that's a sale you'll probably end up losing.

Expect to be bored. A LOT of the time you'll be sitting there while people mill by. FMing gets real old, real fast. Try to stay upbeat. If the crowd Peter's out consider closing early.

Chat with people but don't hawk.

Look at your stuff before you go. Could you sell anything on eBay? It's a much bigger market. Forget about bulky stuff like board games or books. Those are where FMs really shine.

I'm sure there will be more suggestions.

Lucius02 Jun 2018 1:45 p.m. PST

For selling anything . . .

Smile, look people in the eye, and say hi.

Seriously. It counts just as much as the great advice above.

shthar02 Jun 2018 6:22 p.m. PST

Use plastic bags as padding when you pack for the show. That way, you got bags when someone buys something.

Dont make your setup look too professional, people equate that with expensive and just keep walking.

Beer flats and boxes of stuff works best.

And always have a dollar magazine box.

Oberlindes Sol LIC03 Jun 2018 12:07 a.m. PST

I'll look for you at Pacificon.

Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2018 6:20 a.m. PST

I agree with Extra Crispy. Label things. I won't spend my time rummaging through plastic bags of unidentified figures.

So labelling will get the customer to look at what you have. To sell it you have to price it to sell. Unless you have something very rare and desirable, keep the price down.

I have seen some things in the flea market priced higher than I could buy them in the dealer hall.

I bring it to sell it, not to take it back home with me.


Stew art Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2018 7:08 a.m. PST

Thanks everyone for the advice. I do appreciate it. Lots of stuff to think about here as I get organized.

davbenbak Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2018 9:24 a.m. PST

I would say go into it with the mind set of a flea market, not a dealer. If you are looking to make a profit and are firm on your prices then buy a dealer table.

For the flea market just put out what you don't want to take home. When it comes to pricing remember that something is better than nothing and be flexible. If you make enough to cover the price of your hotel room great! You are often dealing with folks that are looking to build a new army or scale or era on the cheap.

kallman03 Jun 2018 11:14 a.m. PST

I agree that folks at the flea market are looking for cheap and as a seller you need to understand that. I do price my items, I feel, at a reasonable price with the idea I want it to move and not have to carry it back. But there is looking for a deal and then being unreasonable. I am not going to just give it away and I have had some people get ugly when I did not want to go down more than what my bottom price is. Normally I take a look at what it would cost someone to buy the model/item directly from the manufacturer or a store then I take off about half or perhaps more depending on what it is and demand. For my stuff that is painted (and I am a good miniature painter) I tend to price those items at the cost of the model at retail or a bit above and then allow for dickering if someone is going to buy the majority of what I have. I do enjoy the bartering interaction, but as I said there is a point where the buyer is just being unreasonable and usually someone else will soon come along who knows that I am offering my stuff at below market rates and that they are in fact getting a deal.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP03 Jun 2018 12:33 p.m. PST

Last thing:

I sell all my boardgames on I know what prices are out there and the customers there understand how expensive shipping will be. I've sold off maybe 70% of my collection so far, and at very good prices. Typically 15-25% off retail except for a few $5 USD junkers.

Russ Lockwood03 Jun 2018 3:33 p.m. PST

Have your prices marked.

And in a conspicuous spot. Like most, I tend to scan the table, so if something catches my eye, I look for the price. If what I think is reasonable, and that depends if it's something I'm working on or something that's an impulse, then I'll pick it up for a closer look.

Also, if prices are clearly marked, I often pick out another item at whatever it's marked to round up the total to the next $5 USD or $10. USD

Bags, boxes, etc.

Always helpful.

Personal logo Condotta Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2018 8:57 p.m. PST

Bundle everything possible, with few individual items for sale. For example, if you have ACW 15mm figures, add any Osprey or other related books into bundle deal, include a storage case, bases, or even a painted unit as a bonus if they buy the bundle. Also, selling in bundles moves your stuff more quickly.

Beforehand, research what these items are selling for from various sources, list that price and then your discounted price. I sold items at a higher price than expected with less haggling this way.

Use large signs and print large, using multiple colours if possible, so those passing your table can clearly see what is on offer and what the asking price is.

Use prices that match currency denominations most gamers are likely to have in their wallet. Offer PayPal or other methods of payment if you have some expensive items to sell.

masm6110 Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2018 9:51 p.m. PST

My advice when selling don't be shy, engage people. Some slow down for a look but you need to get them to stop.

Ask them why they a looking at XYZ troops, do you you play that period, what scale etc.

Offer deals to them so they don't have to ask. This often turns a small deal in to a good size one.


dapeters04 Jun 2018 9:55 a.m. PST

Decide if your trying to make a buck or get rid off your old stuff. If the former be prepared to take stuff home.

Smaller prices and item, ie better to sell 20 airfix figures in a bag for 2 bucks and have 20 bags then 400 at 40 bucks in one bag.

CSherrange04 Jun 2018 11:12 a.m. PST

With all flea/ garage/ estate sales-

Do you want to make money, or do you want to get rid of stuff and have some money for a nice dinner (as my wife says when we have a yard sale)

If you want to make money, be prepared to not make money. If you want to get rid of stuff, be prepared to let things go at a discount.

MadBob Supporting Member of TMP05 Jun 2018 7:59 a.m. PST

All of the above is great advice. That said, don't be afraid to pack it up and take it home with you. If you dont feel comfortable selling something for a super low price, dont sell it. There will always be another convention or ebay or bartertown or TMP marketplace, etc.Dont be afraid to say no if someone offers you too low a price for something.
That said, dont over price your stuff and expect folks to jump all over it. Be willing to work with your customers on things. If you sell them something at asking price and they want something else cut them a deal on the second item or bundle the sale together.
but always be nice. remember you'll be seeing these guys for years at conventions and you want to have good relationships with them

Grumble8710605 Jun 2018 9:39 a.m. PST

All good advice above.

I'd add, keep your sense of humor and graciousness. Smile! There are vendors that I avoid (only one or two, thankfully) because of their attitude -- for example, seeming to take visible offense when I offer to pay less than their asking price. Decide in advance on your minimum for an item, and then be nice about refusing to go lower. It's a flea market, for pity's sake!

To let people know they can try offering less than the marked price, I usually put up a sign such as "Reasonable offers considered" or "I'm not afraid to bargain -- I was born and raised in Mexico!" grin

And to echo what others have said: engage people about their interests. It's a lot more effective than hawking your wares. Part of the fun for me when I'm a customer is seeing what's there without pressure. In my observation, most people at a flea market seem to like to look without feeling that they're being put on the spot.

Good luck! I hope you have a lot of success -- and a bit of fun, too, visiting with people who come by the table.

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP05 Jun 2018 9:23 p.m. PST

I would advise a _little_ hawking, if it is in a humorous bent and entertaining. I would engage such a seller.

Grumble8710606 Jun 2018 10:01 a.m. PST

I would advise a _little_ hawking, if it is in a humorous bent and entertaining. I would engage such a seller.

Agreed, with emphasis on the humor and entertainment. Not like barkers in the midway at the state fair trying to get you to waste your money throwing lopsided tennis balls at wooden milk bottles to win a worthless plush toy. evil grin

Stew art Supporting Member of TMP06 Jun 2018 2:34 p.m. PST

Thanks for all the continued advice!

I'm not really looking to make a ton o cash; mainly to offload some stuff that I have no use for and get enough for a nice meal or two…


Personal logo vonLoudon Supporting Member of TMP10 Jun 2018 3:46 p.m. PST

Make things affordable. Plenty of product in the hands of wargamers already. Have a price and your lowest acceptable price. Many people will not ask for a discount but you could offer one. Everybody's looking for a bargain, but beware the lowballers. So be sure to counter if way too low. Good luck and be patient.

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