Flea market tip: 10 ways to get a great bargain at the flea market

Most people dread the thought of bargaining for goods at the flea market. But there’s a little-known fact that might get you motivated to play the game: prices don’t really exist at the flea market!

Plus, haggling can be fun for both you and the vendor (who is an old pro at the art of bargaining).

This is why we invite you to follow these few simple rules next time you visit the flea market, so you, too, will be able to master the art of flea market haggling and get some serious bargains.

Flea market tip #1: Put your game face on.

Don’t act overjoyed when you spot something that you must have. Pick up the item, note the price and then look at something else. Then return to your item and calmly express interest.

Flea market tip #2: Know your price.

Think about the maximum amount you are willing to pay for the item before you start bargaining. That way you will appear confident and won’t have to trip over your own words when the vendor asks you how much you want to pay.

Flea market tip #3: Turn on the charm.

It never hurts to be friendly. Engage the seller in some conversation so you can form a relationship. If you appear threatening and cold the vendor won’t want to give you a deal.

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Flea market tip #4: Go low.

You starting price should be half of the price you are actually willing to pay. The vendor will then give you a price, lower than the original. Be prepared to go back and forth a few times. You will soon find a deal that you both like.

Flea market tip #5: But not too low.

Know the value of the item and when to stop bargaining. You do not want to insult the seller by trying to get the item for less than it’s worth. Also, if you are going to engage the seller in bargaining, they probably think you are going to eventually buy the item. Don’t start haggling if you aren’t serious about making a purchase.

Flea market tip #6: Hesitate.

If the seller’s final offer it too high, hesitate and look worried. Then tell them that you’re going to look around while you think about it. The vendor will probably start up the bargaining again. Remember, they are also there to make a profit.

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Flea market tip #7: Point out flaws.

Don’t be afraid to use any damages in the item to your advantage. When trying to get the vendor to lower their price, point out that there is a chip in the bowl.

Flea market tip #8: Be patient.

Go to the seller late in the day. If it’s around closing time the vendor might be willing to give you a better deal so they can make a buck and get rid of some of their goods.

Flea market tip #9: Be polite.

Always thank the vendor – even offer a handshake. It’s important to build a good rapport. If you form a relationship you might get a better deal on other items in the future.

Flea market tip #10. Have fun!

Approach the situation with a smile, and don’t feel defeated if you don’t get your desired item for as good of a deal as you’d hoped for. That’s just part of the game!

3 comments

  1. Philadelphia Flea Market News

    Very nice and helpful article. I would say the most important thing, which the author mentions two times but I will state a little differently, is not to demand a better price and DO NOT act like a snob. Once you do that, you have made it personal and no longer business AND you will get nowhere.

    Also, I would be very very careful when implementing #8: Be patient. That depends on how much you want the item. If you could live without it, then be very patient. However, if you really want it or need it to fill a collection, then patience is not a good idea. Chances are that if you find it to be a gem, others will also and most likely it won’t be there at the end of the day. In fact, it might not be there an hour after you walk away. Once you gauge how much you want/need the item, then you can decide how patient you should be.

  2. Ruth

    Most of the advice is good, but times have changed. Most flea market sellers do this for a living and the price of goods have gone up considerably due to the economy and internet sales. Despite that people are still looking for vintage prices. The most popular way, today, to turn off a seller to negotiation, is to ask their best price, get a lower price and then low ball that price. Pointing out flaws is a useless tactic unless the item is being sold at a very high price. Many dealers sell used items, expect flaws. If an item is under ten dollars and not a common one or is truly vintage don’t even bother if negotiate. I’ve had people offer me fifty cents for a two dollar item. One cannot even buy a cup of coffee with fifty cents these days.Lastly, the rent at flea markets has gone up and dealers need to make that rent before they see any profit and can begin serious negotiating.

  3. Selling at flea markets doesn’t just mean clearing out some junk from your basement and throwing it on a table . You can actually build a business around selling at flea markets. But you’ll need some flea market sales tips to really increase your profits going forward. Here are some flea market selling tips to make your next flea market sale a huge success.

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