• Promoters of Quality Antique & Flea Markets
  • and Craft & Vendor Fairs since 1992
  • Held at the Vanderburgh Co. Fairgrounds
  • Evansville, Indiana

Do’s and Don’ts of Making a Deal

Making deals has long been a part of the antiques game, and most dealers expect to hear, “What’s your best price?” every show. However, there are good ways and bad ways to approach price problems, and several of the antique shows have been promoting bad ways. Yes, dealers need to be thick-skinned, but you are better off dealing with a happy dealer rather than one feeling grumpy or insulted.

A big problem is that these shows all too often show the buyer getting 50% off, which just isn’t going to happen much in the real world because the profit margin for dealers simply isn’t as high as people may think, especially if you figure booth rent, gas, food, and hotels if the show isn’t in the dealer’s home town. A dealer may well start a show $500-1000 in the hole, so if they did happen to get a good deal on an item, that’s only part of the cost. Of course, those dealers giving 50% off get to be on tv, and something tells me that motivates many of these “super discounts”.

Back when antique malls became popular, the standard was that dealers could get a 10% discount, but these malls also created more dealers and increased communication. When non-dealers learned about the “dealer discount”, the response was, “my money is as good as theirs.” Public relations more or less required that malls start giving 10% off for anyone who asked (at least on items above a certain price). Anyone surprised that dealers then wanted 15-20% off. As both a collector and a dealer, I have to go with the idea that the money is the same from a dealer or non-dealer, but there certainly seemed to be greater expectations.

Still, expectations have to be rooted in reality, and the reality is that every dealer and every item is different. Unlike regular retail shops, there are no set “wholesale” prices, no place where every dealer can go and buy the same item at the same price every time (not counting those #$!% dealers who are buying and selling reproductions without proper labeling).

A discount of about 10% is actually still the standard range. If you get 20%, you’re doing really well, and 30% is terrific. Of course, all of that is relative to the asking price vs. your budget and how well you like the item. Getting a great price on something you don’t really like is only a bargain if you’re buying a present for someone who will actually enjoy the item.

And don’t be afraid to make the first offer. Just think about how you ask. Many dealers bristle when they hear, “I’ll give you…” It’s especially disturbing when the offer is one of those 50% deals (or worse). No, you aren’t “giving”, and really neither is the dealer. If a deal is struck, you’re paying for the item and all the dealer went through to buy it and get it to the show for you to find. Yes, dealers and collectors enjoy the hunt, but there’s still time and energy involved. It’s work. It’s also play for those into it for the right reasons, but something can be play and work at the same time.

Consider saying, “I can offer…” or “Would you take…”. And if need be, there’s always, “What’s your best price?” However, don’t be surprised if the dealer knows the old joke, “Best for you or best for me?” As usual, everything goes better if there’s a little consideration and old-fashioned politeness, so collectors shouldn’t assume that every dealer is making exorbitant profits on every item, and dealers shouldn’t assume that every buyer is trying to run them out of business.

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The next Collectors Carnival "Antique & Flea Market" is October 28th & 29th, 2017 at the Vanderburgh 4-H Center in Evansville, IN.

Show Hours & Admission: Saturday 9-4 and Sunday 9-3 / $2 per person.
Saturday Early Bird buying 7-9 am / $5 per person. Preview shopping during dealer setup on Friday is available from 3-6pm for $15 per person. There will be over 225+ vendors in 5 buildings plus outside vendors under tents & working out of their trucks & trailers. Vendors will be bringing antiques, collectibles, furniture, retro, vintage, upcycled, repurposed, toys, tools, glassware, china, jewelry, art pottery & advertising to the show.

This show is held in conjunction with the "Craft & Vendor Fair" which will be going on in a separate area of the fairgrounds on Saturday only and will have 100+ vendors in 3 buildings. This show will feature artisans & crafters bringing their homemade items as well as many of these vendors will feature "repurposed" items where they take vintage or antique items and turn them into something new.

Your $2 admission (kids 12 & under are free) gets you into both shows for one price. That's 8 buildings & 325+ vendors between the 2 shows!

There is a contract & set of show rules on our website that should answer any questions. www.collectorscarnivalshows.com

We do still have covered spaces available under roof as well as outside field spaces along the roadways for those of you that work out of your trucks, trailers & tents. Registration is simple. Just print the contract from our website, fill it out, sign it in the bottom left hand corner, mark the space you want and mail the bottom 1/2 of it back to us with your payment (personal check or money order).

We'll see you October 28th & 29th!
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