SWAP MEETS - A FUN WAY TO MAKE MONEY ON THE WEEKENDS By Darren Hendricks
Looking for a way to make extra money, meet lots of interesting people, spend quality time with your family, enjoy great outdoors ... and do it all without missing a day of work? Or maybe your goal is to make two or three-day weekends only working days of week. You may be able to do all of that and more as a Swap Meet/Flea Market marketer! You can find regularly scheduled Swap Meets and Flea Markets in cities and towns of all sizes across nation, each attracting many hundreds, even thousands of bargain hunters. They may be held at local drive-in theatre, in large parking lots, warehouses, parks, and community centers - just about anywhere there's enough room to put up some booths and bring in a crowd. The majority of time these meets are held on weekends, although in some locations you can find them starting on Thursdays and running four consecutive days. Swap meets and flea markets are fun, profitable, and can be a great launching pad for your business. Many people who began with Swap Meet sales have gone on to open Gift Shops, or run sizeable Mail Order businesses. A SWAP MEET BY ANY OTHER NAME…
According to our FAR HORIZONS Business Coaching staff, there are actually three distinct types of Swap Meets.
Note: (In interest of simplicity, from here on in when we say "Swap Meets," we're also referring to flea markets, craft fairs, and similar events as noted below).
1.Outdoor Swap Meets
These usually run gamut in terms of merchandise. Here, you can find anything from high end stereo systems to fashion jewelry to families clearing out Auntie Emma's garage of old tools, toys, and various parts and pieces from who-knows-what. Ordinarily these events attract folks looking for some bigtime discounts and bargains.
These usually attract a more professional class of marketer. The displays tend to be more organized in appearance, and merchandise is generally of a consistently higher quality throughout meet. Rather than tables there may be booths, and each marketer tends to specialize in specific product categories.
These may be held indoors or outside; you'll find them in parks, or as part of a local carnival, fund-raiser, county fair, or other similar event. Usually marketers show their wares from booths, and offerings can vary from homemade to high-ticket, (or homemade and high-ticket) depending on location.
WHEN YOU PACK FOR THE SWAP MEET, DON'T FORGET THIS
We've heard from scores of successful Swap Meet sellers over years, and they tell us that two most important things you can bring with you are:
1. A friendly, upbeat attitude.
2. Willingness to barter and "play game."
As one member puts it, "People come to shop at Swap Meets looking for a bargain, and they come because it's fun. So I keep a smile on my face and I'm always ready to enter into bargaining game. I have my 'bottom line' price in mind, and I don't go below it - but I'm always willing to give a little on original asking price. That way my customer feels good about purchase, and I still make a nice profit. We both come out winners."
Whatever type of Swap Meet you choose to begin with, there are some simple, basic steps you'll need to take before event, during event, and after event.
Let's start with ... well, beginning!
A FEW THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU CAN START
1. First, find out where local Swap Meets are, if you don't already know. This shouldn't be too hard; they normally advertise in local newspapers, and in giveaway magazines you can find in convenience store racks. Smaller meets may not advertise, but if you check with local drive-ins, or let your fingers do some walking through phone directory, you should find some.
2. Next, scout meet yourself. Take a look around, observing tables and booths with a marketer's eye. What are vendors carrying? More importantly, what aren't they carrying? What are they charging?
3. Reserve a table (or booth, as case may be). Do this by contacting meet manager, who will provide you with pricing, along with a list of rules and regulations you must follow when marketing at meet. The cost for renting space at a Swap Meet varies widely, from a few dollars a day to much more, depending on meet. Try to begin at an inexpensive yet well-attended meet, so you can keep your initial cash outlay as low as possible.
4. Select your merchandise. FAR HORIZONS' Business Coaching staff generally recommends you begin with $450-$750 worth of merchandise (meaning your actual cost).
5. Get your other supplies ready.