The Ultimate Vendor Flea Market Checklist
Are you a list maker? I sure am and if you have ever been a vendor at a flea market then you know that there are a MILLION things to remember, am I right? So I scoured the web and asked my flea market friends what their Favs and MUST HAVES are for being a vendor at a flea market. Here’s what I came up with.
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Canopy-Obviously, you need a canopy of some sort. Most vendor spaces are 10×10 but some people use two spaces so have purchased the larger 10×20 canopies. If you are new I recommend starting out with a 10×10. A canopy is not always a requirement but you look more professional and if it rains your items are protected. Also, it provides you and your customers some much-needed shade on those hot summer days.
A couple tips about choosing a canopy, some up scale flea markets require you to use a white canopy so if you plan to participate in those you may want to stick to white. Otherwise, you may want to choose a branded color so you can stand out a bit, totally a personal preference. Also, I highly recommend getting a commercial grade canopy. Yes, they are more expensive BUT if you plan to be a flea market vendor several times a year it will be a good investment and they often come with side walls which can be a lifesaver in rainy weather and defines your booth space for your customers.
Canopy weights, Seriously this is an important item that you don’t want to forget. Mother Nature is unpredictable. You don’t want to be the girl that had her canopy fly way during a strong gust of wind. :0 I used these weight bags that you fill with sand that you purchase from home depot. I fill them up with sand and attach them to the poles and I have never had an issue with wind, fingers crossed.
Cash Box or Cash Apron: I decided to purchase a compact cash box that I use with my DIY Flea Market Check out Stand but you can keep it simple and use a cash apron. If you do go the cash box route I highly recommend getting one with a key and locking it while you are walking around and helping customers.
iPhone/iPad: You will need this for taking photos of your booth and products during the show and to use with your credit card device. I bring as many devices as possible. Try to go to the location of the flea market ahead of time to check your cell phone coverage. If it’s weak you may want to explore other options.
Credit Card Reader: I currently use the Square credit card reader but there are many options. I like Square because they are reliable and several people have used it previously and their information pops up automatically and people ask, How did it know my email? They also have the new contactless chip reader but I have not tried this one yet.
Cash & Coin: This is a hard one to estimate but I always take a lot more change than I think I will need. I find that most people use credit cards more than cash but at flea markets but as I said I like to be prepared with enough cash because you never really know. I normally bring around $150 in change.
Business cards: You want your flea market customer to visit you on social media and on your blog or website. This helps them to remember you and to possibly purchase additional items from you. Make sure your blog or website is clearly listed on your business card or better yet a post card would be great because you can add photos and additional information.
Device chargers: Some flea markets offer electricity but in my experience, most do not. You will be using your phone/device A LOT during the day and for several hours so you will want at least one of these to keep that phone charged so you don’t miss a credit card transaction. Also, make sure to charge them up the day before.
Note: Some of the items on the free printable are self-explanatory so I won’t go over every single one.
Your Free Printables Are Below!!!
Nice to have–
Table covers: I sell a lot of furniture so I normally use my furniture pieces to display my smalls but if you are a crafter or Jewelry maker you will most likely use folding tables for your display. Some people use custom made cloth covers and others use fitted table covers. Consider your brand and decide what the best option for your business is.
Tape Measure– If you sell furniture or large items your customers may need to measure an item to see if it will fit in their space.
Shopping Bags & Tissue Paper– I think of my flea market booth as a mini store that fits in with my overall business brand. So I recommend purchasing some shopping bags that match your business style. Have fun and pick out colors and styles that match your brand. Please, however, do not use plastic shopping bags or leftover bags from the grocery store. Save those for your yard sale. I normally purchase small and medium size bags. Customers are surprised and delighted when you offer them a proper bag with tissue paper. You could also drop one of your cards in there so the customer will look you up online when they get home.
Newsletter Sign up– Ask your customers to join your mailing list to keep up with future flea markets and news from your business. Consider sending out a thank you email to all of your customers after the event.
Sold tags– If you sell larger items your customer will most likely need to come back to pick up the purchased item. If you have helpers who have no idea that an item is sold they may sell it to someone else. NOT GOOD 🙁 I have them out their name and phone number so that I can call them in case they forget. Trust me it can happen 🙂
Extra price tags: Pretty much every time there is something that I missed pricing or I decide to adjust the price based on people’s interest.
Rubber Mallet/Hammer: Pretty handy for pounding your canopy stakes into the ground.
Chair/Stool– This should probably be under the must have category because If you think about putting up your canopy moving in furniture and products and then you are standing for several hours in the summer heat well, you get the picture. You will want to sit down for a bit while you are not busy. Your feet and husband will thank you 🙂
Kleenex– This was a hot item at the last flea market I attended. It was the spring in the south and everyone seemed to be having seasonal allergy issues. I could have sold those Kleenex for a $1 because everyone was sneezing and runny eyes and noses. I was so happy that I had these with me.
Paint touch up kit– If you have painted items like furniture or crafts that may get a little scuffed up during the move you will be so happy to have a touch-up kit with you. Here’s how I make my kit. I use some small containers to put a little bit of the paint I have used on my furniture pieces. This sounds like a lot but I normally use a lot of the same colors. I take several small artist brushes and some sand paper. If you scratch anything you can fix it up right away.
In Case of Rain 🙁
So if the weather man says it’s going to look like this on Flea Market Day, I have some tips for you.
Some flea markets these days allow you to set up the day before. This is great because you don’t have to arrive at the location at 4 am and get all of your items unpacked and staged BUT if it rains overnight you want to make sure your items are protected. This is a little bit tricky for people who sell furniture and larger items but I have some tips for you!
So if the weather looks dicey the day before or the day of you will want to take some extra steps to make sure you and your items aren’t a soggy mess.
So I normally stage my larger pieces in the general area that I want them on show day. Which is normally around the perimeter and the center. I also try to place the smaller items near the areas that I want them.You can always change up your vignette’s as the day goes on and when you sell items.
Here are some supplies that will help protect your items.
Plastic sheeting-After I move my items towards the middle I wrap them with thin plastic sheeting, especially the sides exposed to the elements.
Metal Spring Clips-I use these to hold the plastic in place. You could also use painters tape or rope.
Plastic Shower curtain & Rings-This is a clever trick that I learned from other vendors. If your canopy does not have sides you can use cheap plastic shower curtains attached to the top pole with shower rings. This will really help to protect your items from the rain. Isn’t that smart?
Pool noodles-This was another clever thing I learned from my flea market friends. You know those pool noodles that kids use to keep them a float in water. Well, you can use them in the corners of your canopy to keep the rain from pooling on top which can cause your canopy to collapse from the weight.
True Story, One of my friends got her booth all set up the day before the flea market. The forecast predicted a very high chance of rain. She protected her items inside the canopy with plastic BUT during the night water pooled and here canopy collapsed inward. It was a huge mess and some of her items were damaged.
Here’s a photo that shows you where to place them.
2×4’s or plywood-If you have large items, like furniture, that sit on the ground you will want to lift them up off the wet ground to protect them. You can use scrap wood, 2×4’s or plywood.
Spoil your customers–
Peppermint or some type of candy-There are two things that most people love, free stuff and candy, am I right? I like to have some available to offer to people that come thru my space If nothing else it makes them smile.
Aromatherapy candles: Why not have nice scented candles thru out your booth. It set a nice ambiance and a nice scent is always pleasant. I wouldn’t use anything overpowering or perfumey though because that can be unpleasant to some.
Smile: I always acknowledge my client in some way. Either with a smile or a hello. Always be friendly and inviting.booth spaces are normally very snug so I try not to overcrowd them. I give them space to leisurely walk thru and see if there is anything they can’t live without.
I hope your flea market event goes off with out any issues and that it’s a glorious success! Please ask me any questions and I’ll do my best to answer!
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