Thinking about renting a booth to sell your goods?


A little over a year ago my garage was full of finished furniture makeovers.  By “full” I mean there were about 5, but they left me very little room to work on other projects!  I wanted to sell my pieces but I wasn’t too keen on the whole Craigslist process of writing a listing, answering emails, battling spam, and inviting strangers to my home who would haggle me on my prices and critique my work in front of my face.

Thinking about renting booth space to sell your goods? Here's some great advice to help you know what to expect! girlinthegarage.net

I decided to search for a place to consign my pieces or to rent booth space, and the thought of that absolutely terrified me!  It’s one thing to have positive comments on my blog or on Facebook, but it’s something else entirely to put your work up for sale and wonder if anyone will actually want to buy it!  (Not to mention paying money to rent a space and not knowing if you’ll sell enough to break even.)

After phone calls, meetings, and visits to several stores, I finally decided on a nearby antique mall/artisan gallery to rent booth space.  (Here’s my “new booth” announcement last year if you’d like to read it.)  It’s kind of funny to look back and think of how nervous I was- and I’m happy to say that this weekend (June 1) was my 1-year anniversary there!  A lot has changed since I first started.

Thinking about renting booth space to sell your goods? Here's some great advice to help you know what to expect! girlinthegarage.net

Renting a space for one year does not make me an expert, but there’s a lot that I know now that I wish I had known when I was starting out.  So if you’re considering taking the leap, here’s some advice that might help you:

1.  Do Your Research

There are many factors to consider when looking for a place to rent booth space.  Location of the store is important- is it convenient for you to visit often?  Do they receive a lot of traffic?  Is the store clean and well-kept?  Are they open three days per week, or seven?  When you find a store you like, discuss fees and then take a tour and see which booths are available.  Often spaces near the front of the store or on the main floor will have higher rent than other areas of the store.  What is the monthly rent, are there commission fees, are there credit card fees, are taxes withheld?  Read over the contract and also be sure you know how much notice you have to give to vacate.  If you change your mind after a few months, you’ll need to know if you have to give 30-days notice or longer.  You’ll probably have to pay a deposit upfront and you may also have to pay extra to rent a cabinet or locked display case.

2.  Displays and Staging

Assuming not all the items you’re selling are furniture, where are you going to keep smaller goods?  If you’re planning to set them on furniture that is for sale, you might want to bring squares of fabric to avoid scratching.  (I do this because I protect my furniture with Annie Sloan wax which takes 30 days to cure, and sometimes I take the pieces to my booth after 2-3 weeks of curing.)  I also have a bookshelf in my booth for smaller items- if you do this and don’t want to sell the bookshelf (or anything else you’re using for staging), be sure to label it “not for sale.”  Also remember you’re not just renting the space directly on the floor- you are paying for vertical space as well as horizontal – so stacking will create more room and visual interest for customers.  (I also use scrap fabric when I stack, to avoid scratching.)  If you need ideas for staging, walk around and take cues from booths you are visually drawn to.  You can also get lots of ideas from blogs and from Pinterest.

3.  Pricing

Pricing can vary greatly based on your geographic area.  Your pieces may fetch higher prices in a neighboring town, but rent will probably be higher there also.  Pay attention to what similar vendors are selling items for.   You don’t want to give your goods away but you don’t want to scare people off either.  If you list a price and the item doesn’t sell for a while, consider lowering the price on just that item or offering a temporary discount for everything in your booth.  Especially if you’re new, it helps to build a customer base right away so people will buy from you again and also tell their friends!

4.  Littles

As you can see in the photo from when I first started, I just had some furniture for sale and that was pretty much it.  In my mind I was determined to only sell my furniture makeovers and nothing else.  After a couple months the store owner suggested I add some “littles” which would help with staging and also increase sales.  So I brought in a few things from home and then started looking at yard sales and thrift stores for unique vintage items (bottles, vases, anything old and collectible) that I could resell and make a profit on.  It really makes my booth look better and it helps with sales too.  (And it’s always fun going “picking” for my booth- although I often end up keeping some for myself!)

Click here to be notified when I have new content available about selling upcycled furniture and decor for profit.

5.  Visit Often

It’s good to visit your booth often.  Whether you’re bringing new merchandise, rearranging your items (since a simple change can make someone notice something they didn’t see before), or just making sure things are in order.   Unfortunately things happen and a drawer from one of my small tables broke, so I had to take it home and repair it.  It wouldn’t look good for me to sell a table with a broken drawer!  Also, customers will change their mind and may leave something in your booth that they picked up somewhere else in the store- another reason why it’s a good idea to check on things often.

6.  Discounts

As I mentioned above, it may help to offer discounts from time to time to motivate people to buy.  Especially if you have too much inventory, an extra 15-20% off for a day or weekend should help make some room for you!  We had a horrible winter here and my sales for the first few months of the year were pitiful.  Then the weather warmed up, and my booth was jam packed.  I offered a couple discount days in May and it was my highest month for sales ever!   Also- when you’re not running a discount, potential customers may have a salesperson call to try to get you to lower a price.  That has happened to me several times and I almost always agree or negotiate to a price we’re both happy with.  So make sure you answer the phone when the store calls!   😉

7.  Marketing

Most stores do some sort of advertising in local directories and on Facebook- but they’re probably not specifically advertising what’s in your booth.  Some ideas- you can list photos and prices on Craigslist and then direct people to the store and your booth number/location.  You can also advertise on your Facebook page or on your blog page or website if you have one (again, direct buyers to the store if you don’t want to deal with them directly).

8.  Review and Reassess

Everyone’s experience will be different- but my experience is that there have been months where I have not made a profit, months where I broke even, and months where I’ve made a nice profit.  I like not having to worry about selling my pieces myself and bringing strangers to my home.  I would suggest renting a booth for at least 6 months.  If it’s not working out, then reassess.  Do you have the time and effort to put into it?  Is there another store that would work better for you, or a different location in this store?  Talk to the owner and see if they have any suggestions- they should have some helpful advice!

Some people are perfectly happy listing and selling their items on Craigslist.  You can also sell certain items online through eBay or Etsy – or locally on eBay Classifieds or even specific Facebook groups for your town or county.

If you’re considering renting a booth space, I really hope this post has helped you!

If you have additional advice or questions, please leave them in the comments below.

Jen

Click here for my bonus printable Cheat Sheet:  The best types of furniture to buy to flip and make a profit (and which kinds to avoid!)

The best types of furniture to buy to flip for profit


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32 Comments on Thinking about renting a booth to sell your goods?

  1. Carole
    June 2, 2014 at 6:41 am (3 years ago)

    It did really help. Thanks for writing about this. I am starting my booth this month, actually tomorrow and I am so excited!! It has been a lot of work getting ready for this…I never realized how much work but I have enjoyed every minute of it. I will let you know in a year how it is going. Thanks again!!!!

    Reply
    • Jen
      June 2, 2014 at 11:25 pm (3 years ago)

      Carole, that is so exciting! Congrats and good luck!

      Reply
    • Debbie
      August 1, 2014 at 4:33 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks for your post! I recently started selling in a booth and find the information you gave to be very insightful! And, congrats on your first year!

      Reply
  2. ARod
    June 2, 2014 at 12:08 pm (3 years ago)

    great info thanks so much for sharing congrats on your 1 yr anniversary
    ARod recently posted…Meet the Neighbors no 20My Profile

    Reply
    • Jen
      June 2, 2014 at 11:25 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks so much ARod! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Yvonne @ Sunnyside Up-Stairs
    June 2, 2014 at 1:22 pm (3 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your first year with your own booth! I’m hoping to start selling items at our local farmer’s market booth, and it’s something like $30 a day to “rent.” Thankfully, I am only applying as a once-a-month vendor, but your post has prepared me for the possibility that I might not break even some months, but other months may be better. 🙂
    Yvonne @ Sunnyside Up-Stairs recently posted…Mini Mudroom RevealMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jen
      June 2, 2014 at 11:33 pm (3 years ago)

      A farmer’s market is a great idea to test the waters – low rent and short time commitment are a plus! Even if you don’t sell a lot, you can chat people up, hand out business cards, and try to get some custom orders. Good luck! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Susan
    June 2, 2014 at 2:03 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks for all of the tips! It was truly an inspiration!

    Reply
  5. Breanna
    June 3, 2014 at 9:00 am (3 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing these tips! This is definitely something I am interested in doing at some point and this makes me a little less nervous!
    Breanna recently posted…Free as a BirdMy Profile

    Reply
  6. jenny Tomson
    June 3, 2014 at 9:36 pm (3 years ago)

    Jen,
    I have been following your blog for a few months now. I have been refinishing furniture for myself and family since I was 18. (gulp) 20 years!! I am being encouraged and supported by my new husband to step out of my comfort zone and start a blog and start to sell. The website is live but still VERY MUCH in the development phase but the Facebook page is better. Anyways, this past weekend the hubs and I had this very conversation about which avenue to sell on (because I now have 5 pieces ready to sell and my garage is loaded with about 14 more pieces and who knows what in our storage locker! yikes. I could be on hoarders 🙂 lol. This was a great post & has offered good sound advice. So thanks 🙂 I also have a closer connection because I live in the same region as you. Only in Lake County! Your work is to be admired, thanks for the blog posts and inspiration! (p.s. my friend from high school just got approved to sell ascp & also lives in Valpo! Much closer than St John for you!)

    Best wishes,
    Jenny

    Reply
    • Jen
      June 4, 2014 at 7:42 pm (3 years ago)

      Jenny,
      That is so cool! There are so many great shops to rent a space in Crown Point if you’re close to that area. I considered renting there but the drive was a little further than what I wanted. And I totally understand what you mean about the garage- I’ve been trying to clear mine out so that I only have pieces that I really love and don’t just keep every piece that I feel needs to be rescued. 🙂 Does your friend have a store in Valpo? That is great news about the ASCP! So nice to “meet” you- congrats on the new blog!
      Jen

      Reply
  7. Melanie
    June 8, 2014 at 9:01 pm (3 years ago)

    Congrats on a one year anniversary! I have been a dealer in a mall now for a little over two years and one thing that helped me was to start with a very small space. It let me get the feel of what it took to keep it filled and how to stage it well for maximum profit, so when I moved into a bigger space with a bigger rental cost, I felt prepared.
    Melanie recently posted…Behind the ScenesMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jen
      June 9, 2014 at 2:04 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you Melanie! That’s a great tip also. Start small and then once you figure things out (like how often you’ll need to restock) – you can always upgrade to a larger space. If you start too big then you can easily feel overwhelmed! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      Reply
      • Carolyn Smith
        June 19, 2015 at 10:19 am (2 years ago)

        I have followed in your footsteps Jen. One of my issues has been pricing. I have seen items sell in my booth immediately and show up in someone else s booth later. So its always a guessing game. One thing Ive learned is don’t let your merchandise get stagnant! Move your booth around. Stage small items to make your furniture (bigger ticket items) more sell-able.

        Reply
  8. Dawn
    July 10, 2014 at 11:05 am (3 years ago)

    Hi Jen! I’ve read this post several times and am finally hoping to attempt something like this…but I’m having trouble finding a place like this locally (and I’m near a big city…St. Louis…so I’m thinking there must be something!). Any tips for what to search? I looked up craft malls and flea markets without much luck finding a place that’s “permanent” booth space. Thanks so much for this post. Pinned and shared on FB. 🙂
    Dawn recently posted…Coconut Crusted Oven-Baked Onion RingsMy Profile

    Reply
  9. Leigh Ann
    March 17, 2015 at 8:58 am (2 years ago)

    Hi there! I’m getting started on a small consignment space, and I have everything worked out EXCEPT branding. Should my little bitty space have an identity in addition to the overall store name? I ask because you recommend advertising items on FB, which of course would require a brand unless I post to my personal page. I LOVE the idea of advertising my services both as a “picker” and as a seller at this specific store, but I have no idea where to start with choosing a brand.

    Reply
    • Jen
      March 19, 2015 at 4:56 pm (2 years ago)

      Leigh Ann, I think branding is a great idea! Do whatever you can to help people remember you. I have business cards in a pretty dish in my booth and all of my price tags are actually mini business cards also. You could also hang a sign in your booth with your name or business name on it – that’s something I’ve thought of doing but haven’t gotten to yet. I’m sure there are lots of other ideas too! It may help to visit other booths and antique malls in your area and see what others are doing that you like.
      I hope that helps – good luck with your new space! Jen

      Reply
  10. Kristi
    October 4, 2015 at 11:50 am (1 year ago)

    Great advice. Really really great advice. Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us what you have learned. Your wisdom has been absorbed and taken to heart.

    One thing I learned years ago was that on yours smalls, it’s a great idea to put a electronic tag on them so they are harder to steal. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life, people steal, and unfortunately, even with these tags sometimes things disappear.

    I really appreciate your efforts in teaching us. I will definitely use what you have said. If I had known years past what you have said in this article, my space may have been much more successful. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Reply
  11. Lisa N.
    January 31, 2016 at 6:25 pm (1 year ago)

    Great information and advice, I have been renting a booth for over 10 years and love it. I have all sorts of items, I love to go to auctions, garage sales, clearance sales and even sell some of my own items I get tired of, this is a great way to be able to change the decor in your own home or even buy a new purse and sell an old one to pay for the new! (: I also love to craft ( cards, floral arrangements, mixed media pictures, refinish furniture and more) so this gives me a place to sell those items too. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Laura
      February 22, 2017 at 7:16 pm (1 month ago)

      I want so much to be able to rent a space the way you do, but I’m at a loss at how to find one!! I live in Portland Or. and when I look on line for a store type place to rent, all that comes up are these trashy little flea markets that are really nasty in Portland. How can I find a place for my stuff to sell? Any ideas would help. Thanks so much!!

      Reply
  12. Annette
    March 10, 2016 at 7:10 pm (1 year ago)

    What a great post! And I loved your before and after photos of your booth. Very nice. I own an antique “mini-mall” and we are always encouraging our dealers to do everything you just listed – stir the pot, flip the merchandise, visit often, re-assess your commitment in a few months. It really does help everyone in the shop!

    Reply
    • Jen
      March 10, 2016 at 10:22 pm (1 year ago)

      Thanks so much – I’m glad you like my post. 🙂 Definitely the harder you work on your booth, the greater your reward!

      Reply
  13. Sheila
    May 31, 2016 at 2:15 pm (10 months ago)

    Hi there. I just opened my first shop ever. I am renting a shelving unit in my area. Most of my items are small, so the shelves works for me better than a booth. Thank you so very much for all of your tips and information. You have no idea at how many times I referenced your page for help. God bless you and thank you. Hope to keep you informed that I needed to even enlarge my space!!

    Reply
  14. Lisa
    August 7, 2016 at 7:21 pm (8 months ago)

    Hi there! How did you go about finding spaces to rent from? I am looking for a store to rent booth space and feel like I’m hitting a brick wall. We are central to Will County, Illinois, so areas like Lake County and even Crown Point, IN are doable for us … But I can’t seem to find any…?

    Reply
    • Jen
      August 8, 2016 at 9:17 pm (8 months ago)

      Hi Lisa, I talked about this briefly in the blog post – but you should check any antique stores/malls or even little shops that sell refinished furniture near you. I know there are several places in Crown Point where you could check; there are lots of antique stores in that area. 🙂 Or even if you visit a vintage market, talk to the vendors – many of them probably rent spaces in a store too. (At least they did at the market I sold at.) Sometimes smaller stores will only let you sell items on consignment instead of renting a big space, but that might be a good place to start if you’re just starting out. Hope that helps – good luck!

      Reply
  15. txgrandma
    September 9, 2016 at 5:42 am (7 months ago)

    Thanks for this great article. I just recently took the plunge and boy is it a lot of work. I go between loving it and hating it but I am embracing the challenge as it’s something I have been wanting to do for a long time. I have been in business before and sold my stuff but this is different and so it has a big learning curve. It’s a good idea to have the 6 month lease to find out whether it’s for you and then reevaluate, which is what I plan to do.

    Congratulations on being there for a year.

    Reply
  16. Diane growdon
    October 28, 2016 at 9:05 pm (5 months ago)

    My husband & I started a consignment store March 28, 2015. Now we are moving into a 3,000 sq ft space. An old thrift shop, it hasn’t been painted in over 50 years. We make our own displays & have collected a lot of recycled materials for the renovation. What we can’t figure out, is what booth sizes to build & how we figure out what to charge??? Also, any ideas, for an inexpensive way to lower the ceiling; even with fabric, due to cost of heat? I’ve enjoyed all that I’ve read here & am very grateful to find this blog. Thanks & God Bless!!!!!!

    Reply
  17. Cheryl
    January 18, 2017 at 10:48 pm (2 months ago)

    Thank you Jen! I have been thinking of doing this but not sure if it will work. Will let you know what happens. Love your furniture and help!
    Cheryl recently posted…Taking a breakMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jen
      January 20, 2017 at 9:23 pm (2 months ago)

      Thank you so much, Cheryl! Keep me updated if you decide to do it! 🙂

      Reply
  18. Sandy Ryan
    January 24, 2017 at 1:05 pm (2 months ago)

    I am just getting started looking for a booth to rent. What is a good size booth when you are just starting out? I have a lot of inventory.

    Reply
    • Jen
      January 25, 2017 at 9:36 pm (2 months ago)

      Hi Sandy, it depends what you’re selling (how large or small) and how often you’ll be able to work to keep the space full. My space that you saw in the photos is about 9×10 ft. It’s larger than it seems- and remember you can stack items too, so you’ll really have more space than just 90 sq ft, for example. Hope that helps- good luck!

      Reply

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