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Do You Need Business License to Sell at Flea Markets?

Are you wondering at business licenses you need to sell at a flea market? If YES, here are top business licenses you need to get hold of.

First and foremost, it is imperative to note that laws and regulations governing the sale of items at flea markets vary by state, and sometimes by county and municipality too. However, in most states in the United States, you are expected to obtain a business license from the state in which you intend to sell your items before you can become a flea market vendor.

If the flea market, or flea markets, that you sell at are in a different state from where you live, you may also be expected to get a business license for each state. Also, you may have to get a permit from the city or county in which the flea market is situated.

In addition to a business license, you will also need a resale certificate from your home state, so that you can source items at wholesale without paying sales tax. Also, if the state or city where you intend to sell items collects sales tax, you will be expected to set up an account with the necessary revenue agencies to enable you to submit the taxes you have collected.

It is advisable that you research, consult, and check the rules in your area: You may be expected to apply for a temporary sales permit even if you will only be selling once or twice. In addition to state and county regulations, also note that flea markets have their own policies concerning vendor sales, therefore it is pertinent to know these before booking a spot.

Just like with state and county rules, if you are a one-time seller, you may not be expected to comply with all flea market requirements, but you should know what you are expected to do before arriving at the market to sell. A good number of flea markets have arrangements with state and local tax authorities to submit sales taxes on behalf of vendors.

Ensure to ask the flea market owners or managers if they offer this service. Also, note that some of the permits and licenses you require to sell at a flea market can take ages to get. Owing to that, ensure you submit your applications earlier, especially if you plan to sell at outdoor flea markets that are only open during the warmer months.

Step-by-Step Guide to Sell at a Flea Market

Indeed, selling at a flea market may not require much in terms of business planning; however, it is vital to have a plan in place before you start any kind of commercial business.

  1. Choose What to Sell

In this line of business, your first consideration should be what you would like to offer prospective buyers. Do you intend to sell handmade goods like jewelry or crafts? Or are you looking at selling antique tools and furniture?

Take your time to research and find out what you can about local flea markets, and also to get firsthand info on what vendors are selling. If you already know the sort of goods you intend to sell, and then research your would-be competitors (or, better still, research to see if there are any competitors in the first place).

If you are not very certain of the items you would like to sell, walk around and see which stalls draw the most foot traffic. With that, you will get a good understanding of what sells well in your local market and can use that as a reference.

  1. Put Together a Business Plan

Putting together a detailed business plan is very important to the success of every business endeavor. A well-detailed business plan is expected to state the mission of the company, the financials involved in getting started, competitors in the space, and other notables, like how you intend to price your items.

This might seem tiring and daunting for a flea market business depending on how much work you expect to do, but a more concise version of a business plan can do more good than harm. A simple business plan template can point you in the right direction.

If you already own a small business and just intend to invest in selling goods at a flea market, then you must already have drafted a business plan. Just take your time to augment this plan to include your new sales channel so you can manage its specific costs and revenue forecasts.

  1. Register Your Flea Market Business

In the United States, a good number of flea markets may not need anything more than just a table, products, and a daily or monthly fee to set up shop. Notably, this is one pro of selling at a flea market—you have matchless flexibility when it comes to the amount of work you want to invest in starting and running your business.

Notably, you could always start your business by keeping things simple and straightforward, unless your county and state ask for more. In the United States, a good number of states like Connecticut expect flea market vendors to acquire certain permits to sell and collect sales tax.

Therefore, it is very necessary to check your local rules and regulations on how to sell at a flea market while staying in accordance with the law. If you are expected to collect sales tax and acquire permits to sell at a flea market, then you should also consider registering and forming a business entity.

A sole proprietorship may be adequate for most sellers since it is a one-person, unincorporated business that handles any income from the business as personal income when it is tax time. However, if your flea market business has two or more partners, or you want more protection, then you should consider other business entities like the LLC.

  1. Market Your Flea Market Business

You can have some of the best items in the market, but if people don’t know about your business, you will definitely find it challenging to get sales, and also to grow as quickly as you would. Therefore, it is imperative to market your flea market business effectively.

In times past, flea markets may have been low-tech affairs. However, in this modern age, vendors will do almost anything they can to stand out in the crowd – be it through a website, social media presence, reviews, or even online advertising.

Customers are also quite eager to check out what flea markets have to offer before they show up, especially since rotating food vendors get more people through the gates and onto the floor. Owing to that, properly branding your flea market business doesn’t have to be a grand affair. Note that social media accounts are a wonderful place to start.

Simply snap and post a few photos of your goods, let followers know where you will be and when, and interact as often as possible. If you can get satisfied customers to leave reviews of your business, it will also help to boost your brand image.

  1. Choose How to Take Payments

A good number of flea market sellers prefer to keep payments simple: mostly cash, and fewer credit cards. However, you will have to understand that fewer people these days are paying with cash than ever. It is not good for businesses to turn away customers who are eager to buy your items but only have plastic in their wallets.

Owing to the advent of technology, we now have easy-to-use readers designed to make mobile transactions easier for small businesses. If you have ever done business with a local vendor yourself, then you have more or less swiped your card with a square card reader that can be as easy as an earpod on a Smartphone or tablet.

However, regardless of the hardware you choose, you will have to pay a processing fee per transaction, normally a flat fee or a flat fee plus a fixed percentage of the transaction.


Flea market selling can be a remarkable, gainful, and exciting way to make some money. Regardless of what your goals are, there are numerous factors you have to consider before you get going. And just like with all businesses, there are laws that govern the sale of items at flea markets.

As a flea market vendor, you will be expected to obtain permits, licenses, and certificates that allow you to purchase inventory at wholesale and sell it.