Flea Market Resale is suitable for anyone who has an eye for collectibles, likes to repair old treasures, and enjoys reselling. The goal is to buy items cheaply, restore them if necessary, and then sell them for a higher price. Numerous flea market fans and hobbyists earn a little money on the side, and a few even make this hobby their profession. Besides, flea markets are great for finding a reselling niche. But how does it work? Below we’ll introduce you to 3 different ways to make money with flea market reselling.
Strategies at a glance
1. From old make new and expensive
Some flea market resellers are resourceful tinkerers. For example, they buy an old car tire for two euros and transform this seemingly useless object into a couch table. This transformation creates a completely new object that can be sold at top prices because it is unique and also has genuine craftsmanship. It is precisely this method, known as upcycling, that some flea market resellers use because this is where the profit margin is sometimes the greatest.
2. Sell collectibles
Another way to make money with flea market reselling is to buy and resell collectibles. To do this, you should have a passion for certain items, such as Star Wars figures or Lego reselling.
You either have to find someone who has little knowledge of the true value of the item, or you buy a damaged or incomplete version at the flea market. Then you repair or complete the item and sell it to a real collector who is willing to pay a high price for it. This is another lucrative option.
3. Use arbitrage effects
The third option, which may bring in a little less but is the easiest to implement, is simply taking advantage of price differences. Especially online, this method works very well because there are price comparison portals that search the internet for the cheapest retailer. You buy the goods for the lowest price and sell them on another marketplace for a higher price. But of course, this method also works on the flea market. You don’t have to be a hobbyist to use this method, you just need a feel for prices and markets.
What items sell?
No matter which of the three methods you choose, there are goods that sell quickly and those that sit in the basement longer before you can sell them. It also doesn’t matter how cheap the item is to buy, as long as you can’t resell it at a profit. You have to learn what sells best and fastest.
Items best suited for upcycling, restoration, and quick resale for high profits include:
- Wooden furniture
- Upholstered furniture
- Garden furniture
- Old electronics
- Photography equipment
- Old glass vases
- Old bottles and glasses
- Animal horns
- Clocks and alarm clocks
- Old flags
- Antique books
- Old toys
It is best to concentrate on one of these goods and try to gain experience in flea market resale. Once you have made your first sales, you can expand your assortment and gain experience in other areas.
What to consider when purchasing goods?
Flea market dealers often don’t know much about the goods they sell. This is often because they are resellers themselves. Nevertheless, you should always ask them specific questions, such as whether an electrical device still works. When buying electronic items, it doesn’t hurt to take a few batteries with you to immediately test whether the device actually works. Even before the sales pitch, you can use your smartphone to check prices on eBay, Etsy, and other markets to see if the purchase is worth it and what your profit margin might be. As time goes by, your experience level will also grow, so you’ll soon develop a feel for it.
In order to increase the profit margin, you should push the purchase price down as far as possible through clever negotiation. If the merchant doesn’t agree to this game, you look for another offer. An exception is items that are already offered at knockdown prices because they are damaged or incomplete. You often don’t have to buy such goods at the flea market, just help yourself to them at scrap yards or recycling centers.
The best platforms for resale
Once you have obtained the goods cheaply, restored, or transformed, you sell them again. This can be done online or offline.
Large items, such as the car tire coffee table mentioned earlier, are best sold at weekly markets and street fairs because they are difficult to send by mail. The same goes for restored vases and other fragile items, for which you first have to get special packaging material such as air cushioning. Alternatively, you can also use eBay Classifieds.
On the Internet, you can sell anything that can be shipped without high postage costs and in normal boxes. Suitable marketplaces for this are
Always be honest and try not to make the item look better than it really is when you create your listing. Sentences like “The item may have slight signs of use such as scratches and scuffs.” avoid returns and unhappy customers. You’ll end up benefiting from positive reviews. We’ve summarized helpful tips for optimizing sale ads for yourself in a separate article.
Taxes and trade?
In the case of occasional sales among private individuals, which may also take place at markets, street festivals, or music festivals, the tax office is generous.
However, the borderline between commercial and taxable trade is quickly crossed. If you regularly go to markets to offer your goods or set up an account for professional sellers on eBay, you are trading commercially and are therefore liable to tax. If you want to expand your hobby and earn more, you should definitely get a trade license and register a business. If you do not earn more than 22,000 euros per year, the small business regulation applies (as of February 2021). In this case, you do not have to pay sales tax.
Being stuck with goods?
One risk with flea market resale is that you’ll be stuck with your goods and earn nothing.
One way out of the jam is to upcycle the goods into something else that will be more in demand. On sites like diy-academy.eu, you’ll find plenty of ideas to help you turn old cans, fruit crates, and flea market junk into scented candles, lamps, or keyboards. On Etsy and Facebook, such products fetch top prices and you can easily send them by mail.
With collectibles, the curse can even turn into a blessing, as they increase in value as they age. A good example of this is trading cards for Magic, Pokemon, and other games. If you own very rare cards, selling a single card will bring more than offering the whole set. You can also use purchased cards to complete a set. The trick is to invest properly and wait long enough for a significant price increase.
You will have much more problems with fashion items and electronic devices. Both of them are subject to sharp price drops, which is why we recommend using the arbitrage method exclusively for such goods.
When you start reselling, you should not only think about the money. Sure, it’s fun when you sell something and make money. But flea market resale should also be fun.
For hobbyists who like to repair old equipment, it’s fun to stroll the markets and pick up old cameras, game consoles, and DVD players. At home, the fun continues as the hobbyist brings these things back to life or, like Dr. Frankenstein, builds something completely new from the parts. Selling and earning money is not the most important thing for these people.
If it’s more about the money, you are guaranteed to be a thrifty person who likes to find the cheapest deal and haggle for hours with dealers. It’s fun to shop cheap and even more fun when you can resell the stuff at a high price.
On top of that, reselling is crisis-proof. In bad times, people sell the stuff they no longer need at truly knock-down prices. At the same time, even in times of crisis, there are collectors looking for specific items.
Low start-up costs
Unlike other businesses, you do not have high start-up costs when reselling. You can buy suitable goods for a euro or less and spruce them up. On online marketplaces like eBay Classifieds, you can post your offer for free. You simply include the shipping costs in the selling price, so that the customer pays them.
With a good eye for merchandise, supply and demand, a little negotiating skill, and some perseverance, you can quickly and easily build a side income as well as a successful reselling business. It’s a great side income that’s fun, crisis-proof, and can start with just one flea market purchase.