How to Make Money at a Swap Meet

You could promote several items at a swap meet.
You could promote several items at a swap meet. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Swap meets, often referred to as flea markets, enable independent product sellers to offer a variety of wares to the public. According to "Entrepreneur" magazine, swap meets generate about $5 billion each year. Some swap meet sellers travel to various locations before finding the ideal location for making money. You may need to test several swap meet locations and an assortment of products to find a balance for making money.

Visit local swap meets to see the types of items other vendors are selling. suggests observing vendors who are busy with customers. Check the product types and the price ranges among several vendors for items you want to sell. Determine if vendors are promoting a higher percentage of name brand or generic goods.

Locate the event promoter or ask someone who works in the entrance area about operating dates and times. Get details such as the various booth sizes and costs. The price for renting a space varies widely, from about $100 to more than $1,000.

Check with your state’s licensing division to determine if a vendor’s license is needed to sell items at area swap meets. Submit the requested information and pay licensing fees, as required in your state.

Shop for items to sell at a swap meet. Visit online sites to find competitively priced products. Inquire about volume discounts from wholesale product suppliers.

Purchase your inventory of items. Choose niche-based products that can appeal to a variety of buyers, such as candles, sunglasses or miniature cars. Select inexpensive items that might sell for less than $20, to appeal to impulse buyers, suggests

Make a plan that factors the amount of sales you’ll need to generate a profit. Calculate your estimated profit per sale. Divide your swap meet rental costs by your estimated profit per sale to determine the number of transactions you will need to make money at the event.

Rent a space at the swap meet to set up your products so that they are easily accessible to would-be buyers and attractively displayed, such as on mirrored tables or polished shelving. Greet shoppers in a friendly manner and offer competitive prices for your items.

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