Money from market trading

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There’s money in market trading


It might seem one of the most boring and unoriginal business ventures for years. Your local market is such an obvious place for buying and selling a wide range of goods. Not much money there you may well think! But anyone thinking this would be quite wrong. A market stall is one of the easiest, most profitable and best simple business opportunities there is.

The image of it as a small side-line venture is diminishing. It can be a large and lucrative business - and a business which can exceed many more prosperous looking ventures. If you have previously thought of market trding as 'not the business for you', you really should think about it again!

There are various different forms of market trading. All are one of the most basic ways of making money you could think of. And, simple, uncomplicated ideas are often best. Here we consider two of the most lucrative opportunities and either can be adapted for full or part time use. Choose which is most convenient! - Both would find it hard to be beaten by other businesses.


One of our most popular and fastest growing ventures in recent years has been the car boot sale. These are organised as charity or commerical ventures throughout the country, at all times of the year and in all types of locations. There are sure to be many near you!

Although car boot sales are good places to sell your household junk they are also good places for market traders to sell for large profits. You can sell virtually anything - even junk sells for good profits. A car boot sale in an excellent way of learning about market trading (and making money in the process) before moving on to bigger and more profitable regular market sites. A good way of starting in this business is to book your car in at half a dozen forthcoming car boot sales. These rarely cost more than £5 per time, and you could easily take up to £150 in a weekend (two markets).

In many cases your stock for a car boot sale will cost you nothing. Simply clear out all your household junk and take in to sell. This sort of thing sells readily. You can also ask neighbours and friends or relatives for junk. In most cases you will be doing them a service and they will not expect a share of the selling price.

When you sell your own junk you can buy it in to resell. Buy 'job lots' from second hand shops. Look around local household effects auctions. You can also buy from wholesalers - especially those who specialise in supplying regular market traders. Home made goods sell well. Food, crafts and paintings/drawings are good examples of this sort of thing.

In some cases all the selling price of your goods will be profit - it will be several HUNDRED percent at the very least. Most things will sell well at a car boot sale. Books, records and toys are especially good, fast sellers. Interesting ornaments, curios and semi-antiques always attract a lot of curiosity sales. The only thing you should really avoid is clothes, they will rarely sell well. You don't need impressive displays for a car boot sale. Simply pile everything into large boxes for easy transportation. everything in each box should be the same price which saves individual pricing.

When you arrive place the boxes on the ground in front of your car - buyers love to rummage for a bargain! Mark prices up a little higher than you would expect. Many people will pay the amount asked without question. If someone makes an offer you can still accept it and make a good profit. But, don't give anything away - keep it for sale at a future event. You don't need any special selling tecniques or 'sales pitch' for a car boot sale. Good quality junk sells itself. You can easily clock up takings of £70+ for a days car boot sale. Bearing in mind you will have very little in the way of overheads this is an excellent income. Develop a circuit of boot sales - 2 per weekend and you can soon obtain a full time monthly income in less than part time hours!


A car boot sale is all very well, but there is a limit to the amount of money you can make. If you want to earn even larger incomes you really do need to look towards a regular market stall. This can still be part time - at weekends, the odd day off from work, or as a 'housewife' business. But, it makes an excellent enture for a full time business - working and earning every day if you like.

Market trading may look like a simple venture. In some ways it is. But, it can also be a very big business with large takings involved even though little capital is needed to start. Don't under estimate it!

Two types of market are particularly suitable for the intending trader. Probably the best type is the regular (daily, weekly etc.) markets that are run by the local council. These often operate on purpose made sites and sell all manner of goods. You can also trade in private markets. A particularly good example of these are the Sunday markets, that are held in many towns. Choose either, or both, depending on the sort of business required, and the time you have available.

When starting as a market trader you must first look for a market with good potential - don't buy goods and then just turn up at your local site! Most towns and cities have a variety of market sites.

When starting choose one where business is brisk, but not too busy. Anywhere within a 15 mile radius is most lucrative. When you have located a suitable market, contact the market organiser. This is usually the local council or a commercial firm - ask one of the existing traders who exactly. Contact the organiser for details of rents which are normally around £10 per day, per single stall unit.

The vast majority of markets will have a stall waiting list - so apply straight away so you can start as soon as possible. You will probably need to declare some details of the type of goods you intend to sell. This is important, since if there are already too many similar stalls, you will not be allowed to start. Gather information on your chances of getting a market stall in the surrounding area. You can then proceed to tracking down supplies to sell on your stall. The best way of doing this is to sell the same types of goods tht market traders already sell. These proven items are usually best, and it doesn't pay to be too different. Find an original range of products within one of the accepted market trades. Food, household goods, clothes, second hand goods, seconds, fabrics, shoes, crockery, books, toys, jewellery, sweets, small electrical items and curios are amongst the many things that are popular sellers on markets. It should not be too difficult to find a trade. All your goods should be on the same lines - for example, don't sell vegetables and books on the same stall!

Buying from wholesalers is usually the best way of getting goods for a market stall. A good range of wholeale outlets will be found in all areas. They all tend to specialise and some will even trade by mail order. You should arrange to visit several to get an idea of how they work. You can also buy goods from auction for market stalls. Or, buy surplus and bankrupt stocks, that you sometimes see advertised in newspapers. These can be bought for pence, but will often sell at reasonable prices.

Making products yourself is a very lucrative way of obtaining your products. Very little outlay is needed and your profits can be huge. This is ideal if you have some sort of skill or craft you can use. Jewellery making or home made cakes is a good example of this.

Wherever, or however you obtain stocks make sure the purchase price is very low, and there is ample room for a mark up of 300-400%! Remember that shoppers expect market stalls to be cheaper than shops, so you must allow for this in your purchase price.

When market day arrives you must make sure you are at the site with your stock quite early. Sometimes stalls are allocated on a first come - first served basis. This will give you the pick of the best positions - near the front of the market, but not too exposed in case of bad weather! Most markets provide you with some sort of stall structure. So don't go to the trouble of buying one when you start.

A market stall should always be attractively set up. Use a colourful cloth and arrange items at different heights. Hang items over the stall where possible, so that you use every inch of the available space. Move things around as they are sold to create a changing effect. Keep any valuable items and your money well in sight.

Goods for sale should always be carefully priced. And, you should not generally accept offers for anyting or 'haggle'! But, the great advantage is that you can change prices to suit demand. You don't need to 'call out your wares' as some traders still do. A good set of products will sell themselves. Always try to give a good service and good value, and you will be able to establish a lucrative and constant business.

Make a point of getting to know your fellow traders. They are an important source of help and advice. Listen to their suggestions for new product lines or wholesale sources. In particular, get their opinions of other markets in your area that may suit your stall even better than the one you are at.

Apart from these basics thers is little else you cannot learn whilst running your stall. Despite humble origins there is nothing humble about your takings. Some market stalls are run by very serious business people who take many thousands of pounds per week, from a round of stalls in the area!


Without doubt, a car boot sale followed by a regular market is the best and most profitable way to start in the business. You really cannot go wrong by following the simple guidelines.

When you first start, don't consider a daily market stall at the same location - keep moving around. And, don't try a permanent indoor market stall until you have some experience. These are a little different to shops, and can be risky propositions without some experience. In the same way, don't go in for antiques or collectors markets, unless you have some skill in this direction. Yes - these are markets, but this is where the similarity ends! Profits can be huge, but are nowhere near as guaranteed as with the markets we have mentioned.

It is important to remember, that market trading is a business YOU can start. Many market traders are professional experts, but this does not mean newcomers cannot start - and easily. Successful market trading is a skill that can be picked up in basic form very quickly. You are virtually assured of profit - whether as a weekend side-line or even a rewarding full time business.

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