How to Start a Swap Meet Business

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One of the easiest ways to dip your entrepreneurial toes into the small business world is to sell items at a swap meet. Starting a small business at a swap meet will teach you valuable skills that can translate into long-term success.

Visit your local swap meet (also known as a flea market) several times before you actively start your business. See who is selling, what is selling, and the amount of customers who are walking in the door. Conducting some simple market research will help you start your swap meet business succeed from the very beginning. It can be frustrating trying to sell your items if the customers are not interested, or are not a good fit for the area.

Find sources of product for you to sell at your stall. While some may simply start by cleaning out their closets, it is always best to remember that your customers are looking for great prices on great products. Trying to sell the junk that you have around your house may not be the best idea. Buying items in bulk is one of the best ways to get started. Online resources such as link buyers with retailers who have stock that hasn't sold and they need to sell quickly.

Speak with the swap meet owners or management. They will probably have an application that you need to fill out explaining exactly what you are going to sell. This is used to control the types of things that are sold at their flea market. Unless it is a specialty swap meet (such as a wedding or jewelry expo), most owners will limit the number of vendors that are selling similar items. Doing your market research at the swap meet first will minimize the chances of your application being rejected.

Set up your table, display your wares and interact with the public. Always remember that being pushy is not a great way to sell. People go to swap meets for great deals, but it is also a form of entertainment. Reel them in with your superior customer service, and you can be a huge success. If you don't have immediate success, keep trying. Just because you have a slow weekend doesn't mean that they will all be slow. Sports events, the weather, and the time of year can have a dramatic effect on the amount of customers that walk through the door.

Think about creating a formal business plan to help your swap meet business grow. The Small Business Administration has development centers that can help your business grow.