Teaching others to prepare on a budget!

Flea Marketing … It’s a Buyer’s Market!

I tell everyone that I don’t talk about on my blog things I don’t do. How can I ever, within good conscience, try to give you guidance or info… if I haven’t done it myself?

With that being said, here’s a little history about me….

For the last 25 years I’ve bought and sold ‘stuff’. For many years it was strictly a hobby and one that I enjoyed very much. I recall many transactions in the years of 2003, 2004, up to 2008 where I could spend $100 at an estate auction and turn that money into $500 within the week. I had my plan in place, my connections, and utilized them all.

For really unique items I turned to ebay and one transaction on a vintage demi perure of Mariam Haskell, which I purchased at auction for $25 grossed me $327.50 at the end of a 7-day auction. I could go on and on, but I won’t. Times for sellers were good back then… I know “Back then, right?”

Flash forward to today’s market.

I’ve been ‘out there’ for the past three weeks as a buyer and as a seller. I’ve been working the auctions (for buying) and the flea markets (for reselling). I’ve also been networking with many sellers and consignment store owners.

My baseline comment/take-a-way… things are very tough (for my general area anyway.)

I’ve also been monitoring things on ebay (global market right!) and things are tough. I’m hearing the same story everywhere… “We have a lot of lookers but no takers!”

Three weeks ago my husband and I spent $179 at an estate auction. I only spend money when I ‘know’ I can turn a profit.

I just ‘knew’ I could turn some profit, but what I soon found out is theelectric sander that used to resale at $15 is now only bringing $5. Luckily I bought 3 for $5 in a box lot, so I still came out ahead, but the fact remains… sadly things are too cheap because people are broke!

Another example… two cigar molds went up for auction. Of course I bid on these because I could tell they were antique. The auctioning company employee was THE only one bidding against me. I must interject here I have a problem with the employee’s of an auction company bidding against attendee’s but I wanted these molds! (Why do I have a problem? Well, it’s because they do it primarily and most expectantly to drive the price up a little and then back off. Some auction houses do not allow this practice and some do.)

I researched the cigar molds and one was 1860 patent and one was from 1913. Cool, right? I paid $17.50 for both, but the better one on ebay with about 12 pictures and it sold for $17.49… the other I let go at the flea market for $10 (it had lots of issues). So, my $17.50 investment only netted me $10 profit. Bummer!

However, I purchased a Food Processor, Braun (retail $158 I think it was) for only $4. Hooray!

It’s been about a year since I’ve actively tried buying and reselling and things have changed a lot. I’ll probably do another post about the topic again soon, but in the mean time, I have to say it is a buyer’s market out there.

It took me 6 flea markets over a period of 2 weeks to make $103 profit off of my $179 investment and pay for everything we kept.

Today, I purchased a 1/2 bushel basket (you know the produce kind, weave looking baskets with a handle) for only a $1. These retail for $5 and wholesale for $3.50 so no matter how this gentleman purchased it, he lost. I would have paid $3 for it but he sat his price and I paid what he set. Which is for another post – the whole price setting, haggling part. So….

Just say no retail and go look for a reliable flea market seller, consignment store, thrift store, or local yard sale.

Unfortunately people are struggling and selling all the extra things they no longer need at a dirt cheap price.

I hate to sound like I’m advising ‘taking advantage of sellers or people on hard times’ – I’m not. I’m just telling you what is going on out there.I also don’t want to discourage anyone from attending a flea market or holding a yard sale. If you need the money you have to do what you have to do, right? But, you have to separate yourself from the price you originally paid for said item.

For me, in our area, people (buyers) think everyone is on hard times and look at you as if you should PAY THEM to take an item. That is crazy! Sit on it and try a couple of more venues!

And in closing, I need to impress upon you the ability to barter. I’ve talked about this many times in the past, but in at least 1 flea market which I rent a table… I barter 2 dozen eggs. I’ve also traded fresh produce for some items that I needed here at home. Much more on bartering soon. Bartering, I believe will become the new system!

I’ve decided to change my method and quit selling “stuff”. It’s a thought process that came to me last week and I’ll update everyone on that soon too.

My skills are slacking off some and I’m seeing that flea markets are great place to exchange thoughts, try the market, see what is selling and what is not, and try bartering.

Stay tuned… much more coming on this!

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