As you work on planning the opening of your new flea market business, you’re going to need to pause to do some math. Before you can get too deep into the hands-on work of putting together your business you will need a plan, a budget, and some capital.

The Plan

To determine a starting point for your budget, you must first lay out a plan, which should include a timeline and a list of items you will need to start your business. Some of the items you will need to consider are:

  • Transportation: You will need reliable transportation to get yourself to and from your new job as a flea market operator, but you will also need something large enough to transport your merchandise.
  • Displays: Whether it’s tables, pegboard, shelves, or custom-built displays, you will need a way to make your product accessible to the public.
  • Employees: Most flea market businesses will not require employees right away, but make sure you can do without them before you decide not to include this expense. Are you able to work the long hours required each weekend, and can you unpack and pack up your merchandise as needed without assistance?
  • Merchandise: It can be hard to determine how much merchandise you will need to start out, but you should take shipping times into account and try to have enough merchandise on hand for 4 to 6 weeks, so that you have time to order more in case your products sell faster than anticipated. If you sell a product that has a longer lead time, you should consider keeping more in stock.
  • Storage: If you cannot keep your merchandise at your flea market stall during the week, where will you store it? You may need to invest in a shed or pay rent for a storage unit.

The Budget

Once you have your plan written out, you can do some research to add up how much your plan will cost you. There are some areas you can cut corners — if you already own transportation or can avoid renting a storage unit — but there will certainly be some areas you just have to budget for. You should plan on paying two to three months’ worth of stall rent out-of-pocket; you can certainly hope to be turning a profit before then, but better to plan for the worst than be left over-budget. Also, allowing for this amount from your start-up capital will allow you to reinvest your first profits back into resupplying your merchandise.

The Capital

When you have your budget planned out, you can add up the first two to three months of expenses in addition to any initial purchases needed — this will be your start-up capital needs. If you are fortunate enough to be able to take the amount out of savings or pay it out of pocket, you can avoid loans, but if not, you can use this benchmark amount to begin looking for a financial institution to meet your needs.