A permanent Indoor Flea Market booth is like having your very own little store. Instead of setting up in the morning and breaking down again in the evening with a regular booth located somewhere on the Flea Market grounds, a permanent booth allows you to keep all of your merchandise set up and in one place. Although this sounds perfect for those wishing to enter the retail world, there are pros and cons of both the permanent booth scenario and the weekend one.
Regular Flea Market vendors set up their products in the morning of market day and breakdown and remove the unsold items at the close of market. With a permanent booth, vendors keep their booths set up as long-term or full-time booths. Normally, Indoor Flea Markets or Antique Malls will have a checkout area for customers to come to one location to cash out. This is great for the vendor of a booth because they don’t have to be there when the market is open. You don’t have to stand behind a table in the open air and collect cash from the shoppers. Your weekends are free and you will receive your sales money at the end of the month. Your rent for your booth will hire staff that take care of the financial details which means your rent could be quite a bit higher than at a weekend Flea Market. But, you now have the time to be able to buy more merchandise or make more art for the booth.
Regular Flea Markets are normally open only on the weekends. Indoor Flea Markets and Antique Malls keep hours more like that of a retail shopping center. Open 7 days a week with full retail hours, Indoor Flea Markets can attract more shoppers at hours that a weekend one cannot. But, on the downside of these hours is that people can take their time in buying and come back another day. There is no urgency to purchase. At a regular Flea Market, people buy quickly because the item they want may not be there next week or even at the end of the day. There is only a finite amount of merchandise in the booths. There is also the out of sight out of mind syndrome in an Indoor Flea Market where people need time to think about a purchase usually means they won’t buy it and spend their money on something else.
Because you have a permanent indoor booth, you can create shelves and tables and display pieces that don’t have to weather inclement weather or a daily breakdown. You have the time to create cool displays and attractive set ups. You can hang pictures, add large pieces to sell like furniture or even appliances and even set items in arrangements.You can make your booth look pretty and it is perfect for holiday decorating. It can be more complicated than putting down a tablecloth and putting items along a table but you can organize your products to show them off in their best light! But, on the negative side, customers will come by and move the items you took so much care to arrange perfectly! You will need to get into the habit of dusting and arranging often You won’t be in the booth every minute that you are open in a permanent situation. You will find that people will touch everything leaving fingerprints on glassware and children will be unattended and make you hold your breath while they crawl around. People will sit on chairs that are fragile and for display only and they will “accidently” knock over your vignettes. If they are walking around holding items from another booth and then decide that they don’t want something, you will find that item right in the middle of your sterling silver salad bowl display! Shopping is about looking and touching and that is what people will do in your booth. Be prepared to set up over and over again.
Merchandise will no longer be in danger of damage. You will not have to worry about breakage from setup and breakdown because you are now permanent. Even when you are super careful and think that you have packed everything well, there is always some damage to items that have to be packed and unpacked so often. A permanent home until it is sold, gets rid of the chance altogether. You will only have to worry about a customer dropping the item.
Most Indoor permanent Flea Markets and Antique Malls will take credit and debit cards so you don’t have to worry about how a customer pays. The Market will take care of that for you. This payment opportunity gives the shopper the ability to spend more in case they don’t have cash on them and they can choose items from a variety of booths without having to pay each time. Since banks have a small fee for these transactions, the Market will take that out of the money owed at the end of the month. As far as finances are concerned, a permanent Flea Market/Antique Mall will collect sales tax. Many outdoor or weekend Flea Markets will let the collection of sales tax be up to the vendor and then the vendor is responsible for paying them. And others will collect sales tax from the vendors at the end of the day. Depending on your accountant or how you have set up your business, sometimes, having someone else take care of your taxes is a big relief!
A nice advantage of having a permanent Flea Market booth is that you don’t have to worry about putting your items away and storing them when you are not at the Flea Market. Breaking down your booth in a weekend market is one thing, but taking it home, getting the bins out of the car so the kids can sit in the backseat and storing the bins in the house is another. Garages are the perfect place for storing weekend market bins, but if your garage is like many others, there is very little room. A permanent booth gives you the opportunity to not only leave everything in place, but also gives you a bit of extra room to store backup merchandise. You may have a permanent booth in one Flea Market and an occasional booth in another. Having the space in the permanent booth allows you to keep it all in one place and not in the middle of your dining room!
One worry that people have about a permanent Flea Market or Antique Mall booth is that their things may get shoplifted. Since you are not in the booth every second, and the employees at the mall have lots of booths to watch and customers to checkout, you have a legitimate fear of losing some of your investment to theft. Many markets and malls have a security system for the entire mall, but those cameras rarely pick up people switching tags or putting small items in their pocket. You can put security cameras in your own booth since the systems have gotten very small and easy to use. The signs saying “we are watching you” can appear a little unsettling and not very hospitable. Theft in any retail environment is a problem and you can’t put a bulky chain on everything. It is a risk you take. Jewelry and expensive collectibles can be put in locked cabinets and sometimes, malls will have a large counter and cabinets that display very expensive things for all the vendors of the mall. A customer can just ask to see something and the cashier can get it out right there.
Negotiating, dickering or haggling is generally not the acceptable way in a permanent Flea Market. The price on the tag is the price of the item. Customers know that and treat the place like regular shopping center. But, because the haggling on price tradition is so pronounced at a weekend Flea Market some may try it at the permanent ones. Sometimes, if the item is a big one or an expensive one, the management may call you when you are not at the Mall and ask if you are “firm” in your pricing. This gives you a couple of moments to consider what someone is offering knowing full well what price you put on the item. Your decision should be based on the offer and whether you want to sell the item right now or wait for someone to buy it who won’t want to negotiate. Keep in mind that your booth is set up in a place that has a higher rent than a weekend market and you may be contributing to an advertising campaign and…the reason you chose this market is so that you didn’t have to haggle!
If you are not a “people person” an Indoor Permanent Flea Market is ideal! You don’t have to talk to anyone except maybe the manager when you come in to replenish your merchandise. At a weekend outdoor market, you are salesperson, customer service and cashier all at the same time. At an indoor market, you are decorator, craft maker and a shopper. At a permanent market, you are relying on others to sell your product and if that person is busy, the customer may just walk on by and not even look into your booth. So there is both good and bad with each type of Market. You have to decide where your personality is best suited. Just remember that sometimes sales are made because you are such a great and funny person. Then again, some people buy because the display was so perfect.
The decision to set up your Flea Market business in a permanent location or a weekend occasional one depends on your personality, bank account and your commitment. Either way, you want to make money, have great customer attendance and move product. One you can experiment with and see if you like the schedule, the other you must commit to for a period of time and rely on others to get the sales job done. And then again…you can do both!
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