The one thing I hate most about swap meets is being forced to load and unload the trailer constantly. After a few times doing things the hard way, I thought smarter, not harder, and came up with a system that impressed my competition as well as my customers. It requires a bit of cash, but it will save you enough time to earn that cash back tenfold!
First and foremost, I bought 5 commercial rolling racks. Next, I purchased 75 of these clear totes from Ikea. I was able to fit 3 on each shelf, for a total of 15 per cart (I did not put any on top – and did not use the lids). I would then just throw stuff that wasn’t selling from each department into the different totes until they were full. I could easily wheel the commercial rolling racks up my trailer ramp into my trailer. I had tie downs on the wall about a foot off the ground and a foot below the top of each rack with Velcro so I could strap in my carts (4 velcro straps on each cart flat against the wall). In my 7’ x 14’ trailer, that left me a spot in the middle of roughly 4’ x 12’ to load up larger items like furniture.
When I got to the flea market, I would drop my ramp, unload the middle and roll out the commercial rolling racks. Now here’s the beautiful part: I would take the totes off the carts and set them out in rows with aisles in between. Then I’d roll the carts back on and go park my truck and trailer. Aside from this commercial pop up tent with shade awning, I didn’t bring much else.
So now I’m at the swap meet and I’m all set up in the quickest time humanly possible. I have an attractive display of items that are organized neatly in rows, but still have that rummage feel as buyers have to bend over and dig through the bins (which oddly enough they love to do). When I’m all done, I can load the totes back onto the commercial rolling racks, put them on the trailer, and be on my way.