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  #1  
Old 07/18/12, 10:19 AM
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Having a booth in an indoor flea market or antique mall

Let me know if the topic isn't appropriate for this forum.

Does anyone do this? I'm asking here because I don't know anyone personally who does this (that I know of). I was thinking about opening a bookstore that sells used books and other media, but I'm also very aware that those entities are kinda sorta on their way out and that the investment of time and money would be huge, and came up with this alternative.

What kinds of things do I have to do? Do I need to incorporate, have a tax ID number, get insurance? Finding stock would be NO problem, trust me on that!

I realize it's probably not something I could make a sole living at unless I had a lot of booths, but it could potentially be a "hobby" business.

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  #2  
Old 07/18/12, 10:55 AM
 
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I have booths at indoor flea markets. Along with some eBay, it is our sole source of income.

The flea market makes up the majority of our income.

Selling at a flea market can be very lucrative, especially if you are working it as a hobby business.

For a while, I had a booth selling new remainder books. We did pretty well.

No need to incorporate.

You may need to get a tax ID number; much of it will depend on your mall or flea market. Most of the malls and FM's here collect the sales tax from the customer, and file and pay the state. If that is your case, you won't really need one. You might need a TID if you are buying books from a distributor...they will probably require you to have one to open an account with them.

The FM or mall will have insurance to cover you.

Really, in a nut shell, once you've talked to a mall or market, all you need to do is plunk down your $150 in booth rent, and load the booth with books. It really is as simple as that.

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  #3  
Old 07/18/12, 11:00 AM
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: SD
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My dad did this as a hobby when I was in high school. In this state (assuming you are renting a booth, and not the owner of the flea market or antique mall) you'd need a tax ID # and that's about it. I doubt that he ever gave insurance a thought, but that was 20 years ago. It helped pay for his Antique Pox, but it certainly didn't contribute anything to the family income. He really enjoyed spiffing up his treasures and displaying them for sale.

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  #4  
Old 07/18/12, 11:11 AM
 
Join Date: May 2002
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A few more thoughts on selling books:

*If you are selling books, take the time to invest or build good shelves. This will pay off in spades.

*The more you have in stock, the more people will think you have.

*Work that booth. Once a month, move the books around some. This isn't rocket science, but will reward you with more sales. Don't get crazy moving it around, but condense and change a few shelves up.

There are people that walk the FM or AM every month, week or day. If your booth, even a little, looks stale or unchanged, they won't even step into it. Trust me on this.

*Make signs, even if handwritten, that say "NEW BOOKS JUST ADDED", "NEW PAPERBACKS IN STOCK NOW" and "CHECK OUR GARDEN BOOKS". Don't forget to change these signs every time you are in the mall.

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  #5  
Old 07/18/12, 12:23 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clovis View Post
I have booths at indoor flea markets. Along with some eBay, it is our sole source of income.

The flea market makes up the majority of our income.

Selling at a flea market can be very lucrative, especially if you are working it as a hobby business.

For a while, I had a booth selling new remainder books. We did pretty well.

No need to incorporate.

You may need to get a tax ID number; much of it will depend on your mall or flea market. Most of the malls and FM's here collect the sales tax from the customer, and file and pay the state. If that is your case, you won't really need one. You might need a TID if you are buying books from a distributor...they will probably require you to have one to open an account with them.

The FM or mall will have insurance to cover you.

Really, in a nut shell, once you've talked to a mall or market, all you need to do is plunk down your $150 in booth rent, and load the booth with books. It really is as simple as that.
I was going to start off by going around to garage sales and getting the choice items. You'd be surprised what people will offer at the end of the sale, too and what might remain. Our local library booksale also allows vendors to come in to a pre-sale before they open to the public, and they make a LOT of money off this. Many of those vendors sell the books on Ebay, and they also have people who purchase DVDs, vinyl LPs (we have a store in town that sells this on one side, and vintage clothing on the other) and other items.

Just last week, someone dumped a bunch of women's clothes in the laundry room trash can in my apartment building. Because all of them were still in usable condition, I "liberated" them and washed them, and since they weren't my size or styles I would wear, took them to a consignment shop. The ones they wouldn't take will go to a shelter my church supports.
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  #6  
Old 07/18/12, 01:28 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
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Yes, we've done well with garage sale books. You can buy great quality for pennies on the dollar.

FWIW, the best selling books for us are cookbooks, how-to, and military/war. Garden and plant books do okay in the spring.

We've done well with used vinyl...most of what we get is what I consider junk vinyl, but we sell them cheap. Some folks do VERY well with higher quality vinyl, but that is their thing, and they know old records. Old country and 70's/80's rock sell well for us when we can get them.

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  #7  
Old 07/18/12, 06:09 PM
 
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Vinyl is making quite a comeback, especially with teenagers and college-age young adults. Never thought I'd see THAT happen, because it was being phased out when I was that age.

I stopped by an antique mall near my house this afternoon, and they didn't have any booths open and have a waiting list. A large booth rents for $188 a month and smaller booths are about half that. I didn't stay very long because it's 100 degrees here today and the main room wasn't air conditioned.

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  #8  
Old 07/18/12, 06:31 PM
 
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I'm sharing random thoughts as they come to me, and as I have the time...I hope that is okay:

One pitfall that you want to avoid is buying junk books, just because they are super cheap or free.

You want to be selective with the books you stock, if you can, because copies of Learning To Microwave Hot Dogs, Bacon, and Other Fine Meats from 1981 will do nothing but turn customers away.

Focus on better quality stuff...it will pay off in dividends.

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  #9  
Old 07/18/12, 06:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clovis View Post
I'm sharing random thoughts as they come to me, and as I have the time...I hope that is okay:

One pitfall that you want to avoid is buying junk books, just because they are super cheap or free.

You want to be selective with the books you stock, if you can, because copies of Learning To Microwave Hot Dogs, Bacon, and Other Fine Meats from 1981 will do nothing but turn customers away.

Focus on better quality stuff...it will pay off in dividends.
I'd like to have a few things like that on hand for historical or even comedic effect, but you are right. I know that recent best-sellers, classics, and other items in good condition will sell the best. My experience from library booksales is that children's books in good condition also sell well, although IDK how they would sell in a place like that because most parents are not going to take children into them. Guess I could find out!

As for shelves, I have a ready-made source for them because I volunteer at a Habitat ReStore (most of the time; the building isn't air-conditioned and I'm not doing it this summer) and I would have no trouble finding good ready-made shelves.
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  #10  
Old 07/18/12, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thesedays View Post
Let me know if the topic isn't appropriate for this forum.

Does anyone do this? I'm asking here because I don't know anyone personally who does this (that I know of). I was thinking about opening a bookstore that sells used books and other media, but I'm also very aware that those entities are kinda sorta on their way out and that the investment of time and money would be huge, and came up with this alternative.

What kinds of things do I have to do? Do I need to incorporate, have a tax ID number, get insurance? Finding stock would be NO problem, trust me on that!

I realize it's probably not something I could make a sole living at unless I had a lot of booths, but it could potentially be a "hobby" business.
If in an indoor flea market, you want people walking by and stopping to see what you have.
Insurance that you will have plenty of walk by's.
Homemade brownies,,peanutbutter bars,,cinamon rolls,, fresh brewed coffee.
Either rent out the booth next to you and do this yourself for extra income, or see to it someone else does.
My sister and her husband supported a family of four for a year doing this.
Drinking a cup of coffee and eating a cin.roll while looking at your books.
Just a thought.
GH
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  #11  
Old 07/19/12, 10:01 AM
 
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I'm going to meet with someone from Free Small Business Advice | How-to Resources | Tools | Templates | SCORE and see what they have to say.

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  #12  
Old 07/20/12, 12:31 AM
 
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I visited a local antique mall today, and while there were no open booths, there was one booth that I just couldn't believe they allowed to operate; it was a toy booth and the items were piled waist-deep throughout the booth. It looked like a "Hoarders" outtake; how do people expect to make money when items are "displayed" in a manner like that?

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  #13  
Old 07/20/12, 07:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thesedays View Post
I visited a local antique mall today, and while there were no open booths, there was one booth that I just couldn't believe they allowed to operate; it was a toy booth and the items were piled waist-deep throughout the booth. It looked like a "Hoarders" outtake; how do people expect to make money when items are "displayed" in a manner like that?
They most likely don't.

In my experience, the booths that are literally piled up with product don't last very long. Booths need to be somewhat organized, and inviting to step into.
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  #14  
Old 07/20/12, 09:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thesedays View Post
I visited a local antique mall today, and while there were no open booths, there was one booth that I just couldn't believe they allowed to operate; it was a toy booth and the items were piled waist-deep throughout the booth. It looked like a "Hoarders" outtake; how do people expect to make money when items are "displayed" in a manner like that?
My wife has a friend that her booth is like that with small tables , old windows , all styles of ladies clothing , pocket books and hats , plus what ever else old she can find for free or CHEEP . We have " cleaned / organized ? " twice for her in the last year or so .
Last time we filled our Dodge maxi Van to the roof , with the seats out , to take away Her "Overage " that spilled into the isle , with the owners approval and Help .
The owners don't really care as she is able to make the rent most months .

We can find something for $ 5.00 /$ 10.00 , leave it with her and get $ 30 to $ 50 next time we see her , so it works for us.
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  #15  
Old 07/20/12, 11:20 PM
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It seems like the market near us always has the same thing. And always in the same place. Except for the books. lol I honestly don't see how they make money at it. We have one vendor that has tons of books, but they are so mixed up it is hard to find what you are looking for unless you have a few hours to look. I'd at least try to sort them somehow, but I can understand how shoppers are always moving books so I guess that could turn into a full-time job in itself. As a shopper I do appreciate a half-way organized booth.

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  #16  
Old 07/21/12, 03:13 PM
 
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One thing we did when we were selling books was to add a chair and a an end table, since we had plenty of room in the booth.

For us, we used vintage wood folding chairs, and an up-ended crate for a table. It looked nice and inviting, and was used more than I expected.

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  #17  
Old 07/22/12, 12:13 AM
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One of the better ways to make money is to RENT spaces in flea markets /antique malls.

It is much harder to make money selling.

Your best months will be the first 2 or 3, then all you good stock will generally have gone, & you are left with the dreck that does not move.

Just be aware of this.

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  #18  
Old 07/22/12, 08:27 AM
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
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I'm not just going to set up the booth and leave it there. I'll stop by periodically to rearrange and update it, in addition to picking up my money (assuming I end up doing this, of course).

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  #19  
Old 07/23/12, 12:45 PM
 
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Update: I spoke to a man from SCORE this morning, and he thinks I have a viable idea. He gave me some paperwork to fill out, and a list of phone numbers, and told me to come back next week, when he will be there again, and he can advise me further.

There was another person in the room, a young woman who wanted to start an organic food co-op, and she clearly had NO idea what she might be getting into, but that's what SCORE's there for.

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  #20  
Old 07/25/12, 04:42 PM
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I have two booths in a local consignment store. The owners have the tax number and insurance, all I have to do is pay my rent(s) each month.

Like the others have said, I change my booths up all the time. Put things in, take things out and hopefully sell things. I'm making my rents plus some more. Yay!

I also advertise on my local Craigslist, just to let the tourists know I'm there!! You'd be surprised how many tourists look at CL to get ideas of what's what in your town! Also, a FB page, which I haven't figured out. I'll learn though, believe you me!

One thing I heard recently on the radio, was you have to market yourself like mad nowadays. So, since I've never done a bit of marketing, I'm teaching myself how to market, how to get attention from the public. Sales, freebies and my website (below). I don't actually know if I'll sell anything from my website but it's cheap advertisement. The anchor we have for sale, it brings us a lot of publicity, so worth what we paid for it.

Actually, I like being in business this way. Suits us just fine!

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