Flea markets, over the years, have gotten a somewhat bad rep for offering weird and cheap items, but, like garage/ yard sales, flea markets are a great place to find deals and items to upcycle! If you’ve never been to a flea market before, it can be a lot to take in the first time. If you’re really looking to be creative/ looking for a deal, follow our tips below to have the best experience at a flea market.
1. Shop with a purpose: Flea markets are known for having everything under the sun. They’re usually huge and can overwhelm you if you’re there to simply browse. It’s most useful to arrive with an idea of what you’re looking for (i.e. furniture, decor, movies, a bike, luggage, etc.) Bringing an ideal list will help narrow down your search.
2. Research pricing: Sometimes retail items are sold at flea markets as well. Often it can feel like you’re really getting a bargain on things like books, DVDs, and shampoos/soaps, but with coupons, you can still sometimes get items cheaper in other stores. Make sure before you buy anything, you have some idea of what it’s really worth.
3. Bring cash: Some flea markets have ATMs but not all. Most vendors will not take credit or debit cards. It’s important to bring enough cash and a diverse amount of bills (i.e. 1s, 5s, 10s, 20s.)
4. Make sure you’ll be comfortable: Another way to prepare for a flea market is to make sure you’ll be comfortable. Wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen, bring water and dress in layers. You’ll likely be outside a lot and for a while, so do what you can to make it easier on you throughout the day.
5. Go early & stay late: The best items will be up for grabs if you get to a shop first. If it’s an item absolutely must have, be sure to buy it right away. If you’re bargain hunting, the best time to be at a flea market is towards the end. That’s when vendors will be most likely to haggle or lower their prices.
6. Get a map: When you get to the flea market, if there is a map, get one! Many flea markets are overwhelmingly large or have many different shops/vendors. Knowing where you’re at and where you’ve been can help you get the most out of the experience. Also, having a map can help you mark shops you have items waiting or shops you wanted to hit again when the market is closer to closing.
7. Take your time: There’s a lot to see at a flea market. It’s easier to get more out of the experience when you are willing to make a day of it. That way, you can go early to get the best items, and stay late to get the best bargains. Sometimes the same items are sold at different prices within the same shop. Taking your time can help you to make sure you don’t buy anything without getting the best deal.
8. Barter!: Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the vendors. A flea market is the best place to test the boundaries of price. Make sure you don’t try to haggle too much with the same vendor though. If you can’t pull the trigger on items you’ve haggled on, but weren’t that interested, you may have a difficult time bartering for an item you really want with the same vendor later.
9. Be realistic: You may see an item you really love, because it’s nice and unique. If that same item does not have a space in your home, it won’t really end up being a bargain. If you’re buying something as a fixer-up, make sure you really have the time, knowledge, and patience to put the work into. Without those things, is it really a bargain?
10. Use Buddytruk: When you find a piece you really must have that you can’t fit into your vehicle, you don’t have to pass on it. On demand delivery is what we’re here for. Usually vendors will hold an item that day, but not for longer. When you need something moved fast, snap a picture with your Buddytruk app, and someone will be on their way to help you out.
Make sure you use a combination of all of our tips to get the best experience and deals when you’re at a flea market. Good luck and happy hunting!