With shows like Flea Market Flip on the air, plenty of people have dreams of making some extra spending money, or even starting a career selling items at flea markets. Well, we have good news and bad news. The bad news is, flea markets aren't as glamorous as they are on TV (same can the said for pawn shops), and you won’t make fistfuls of cash over the span of a one-hour TV show. The good news is, there’s plenty of money to be made at flea markets if you put in the time and energy and go about things in a smart way. Here are a few basic tips to help you make the most of a flea market. 


Buy Low, Buy Low, Buy Low


When buying items to sell at the flea market, common sense dictates that you should pay as little for them as possible. You need to be mindful, however, that you need to leave yourself plenty of room to make money. When you buy an item, be mindful of how much you can actually get out of it. If you can’t at least double your money comfortably, walk away. Consider that it’s more than the actual price of the item you’re investing. 


You have to pay for your flea market space, storage between markets, gas, time, and other miscellaneous expenses that eat away at your bottom line. Then, there’s the actual selling. You may turn a profit on a deal, but it may be months before you sell the item. Flea market patrons are accustomed to haggling and will drive a hard bargain, so you’ll have to set your price a bit higher than what you’ll actually accept.


A great way to get cheap prices on items is to bundle them. If you’re buying collectables, many times you can get entire collections for pennies on the dollar from people who are moving or just tired of storing items they don't use. You can often get items for cheap because you are taking the entire batch off of this person’s hands at once, which is far less work for them. If you’re selling custom t-shirts, make sure and buy in bulk. You can get amazing prices per shirt with WhoopTee the more you buy. 


…And More Math


Sorry to hurt your head before with all that math. Truth is, markups and expenses are only the bgiging. You need to make sure you have a ledger of the items you’re selling and for how much, that way you can go back later and figure out if you're making enough money for this to be viable. Add up what you’ve brought in, and make sure to keep detailed accounts of everything you spend. Add in gas and other misc. expenses and subtract them from your gross sales. Look at that profit and consider if the time you’ve put in is worth the bottom line you have. You may need to adjust your strategy.