Paljekirppis flea market and tips for it

Table after cleaning

I held a flea market table for the 1st time about 12 years ago as I was living at Orivesi. In 2009 I had a table in Oulu at the since closed Alppistore. From 2012 onwards I’ve used Paljekirppis every time I’ve had the need to sell excess stuff e.g. when moving or emptying wardrobes / warehouses. I practically never buy anything from flea markets because I’m not an impulse buyer and I don’t like aimlessly wondering on store aisles. For the same reason I rarely anymore buy clothes from physical stores.

There’s one good principle which works with everyday life as well with maintaining a flea market table: minimize your expenses in comparison to your income (=aggressive pricing, good table location and short rental period).

“It’s not the big income but rather the small expenses.”

I just recently had a 3 week rental period at Paljekirppis and thought of combining tips for having a table at a flea market (especially at Paljekirppis). I counted that the value of the clothes and stuff I took was 495 euros. The table generated 407 euros before rents. You always end up not selling all the stuff, some “disappear” and some are sold at -50% discount in the end. After you subtract 108 euros (3x 36) worth of table rents you come up with a number of 73.5% which is your share of the total sales. So you receive 3/4 of each euro and 1/4 goes to the flea market for expenses. I believe that this return ratio was as good as  it can be.

The “11 commandments” for Paljekirppis
  • the best time to have a flea market table for rent are summer months
    – people move more actively and they have more time, thus better sales
  • don’t even consider taking a table nowhere else than from the main corridor
    – yes, it costs a little more than elsewhere (36 euros vs. 15-29 euros), but it’s worth it
    – I now had table 64 and it’s probably the best single table on the whole flea market
    – most main corridor tables have the advantage of locating near the cash registers (and thus having supervising eyes)
  • be ready in advance and sign up for the main corridor queue in time
    – the queue can be over 1 month
  • price your stuff so that they are sold quickly (minimize your table rent expenses)
    – do the pricing at the privacy of your own home and not at the flea market
    – pricing is the part of the whole thing in my opinion (cause I like numbers)
  • plan ahead what you’ll take to the table at the beginning (unless you can squeeze it all at once)
    – ration your best products, don’t put it up all at once, so that people will stop at your table later on as well
    – see in my photos what happens when you have too much stuff on the clothes rack
  • fasten price tags on items and clothes in such a manner that each person does not have to take it in their hands just to see the price
    – your table will probably stay tidier for longer
  • fasten price tags on books only from the corner and in a bookmark manner
    – no one wants to buy a book which has a permanent sticky tag (or part of it) on the cover
  • an untidy table just won’t make good sales, it’s that simple, you have to clean it up daily without exception
    – consider buying the new cleanup service from Paljekirppis staff if you are away for several days
  • don’t start the -50% sale pricing too late and advertise it clearly
    – you’ll minimize your expenses by taking the final spurt in time (out of my 3 weeks the last week was -50%)
  • on the last one or two days consider having even extra discounts on top of the -50% just so that yo get rid of your stuff
    – by doing so you can squeeze the last cents of your table and lessen the amount of stuff you have to carry home
  • use your salesman’s skills if someone stops to admire items on your table while cleaning it (have a couple of empty price tags in your pocket for these kind of situations, I’ve often sold many items “on the fly”)

Bonus-tip: take daily photos of your table after cleanups (by doing so you can follow what’s been sold).