One of the best things that has happened to me in the past year has been my booth. Now, I'm not exactly setting the world on fire (or my bank account for that matter). But it has made enough every month to cover the rental fee and commission, with a little left over. I've not sat down and done any calculations with the costs of the items sold each month, but I suspect I'm usually pretty close to breaking even, as long as I don't try to calculate anything in for my time.
And it is a way lot more time-consuming than anyone not involved might think. I spend some time every day on it, which is a challenge for a lazy-ass like me. On the other hand, it does give me a somewhat credible excuse for not cleaning the bathroom (or blogging).
Here's kind of what the break down looks like:
2-3 times a week: Hit the local thrifts, hunting for stuff. There are four that I visit regularly, and several more that I get to when I happen to be in that part of town. This has gotten a little easier since I've not been working.
Saturday mornings for at least four or five hours (and sometimes more): Yard Sales! Saling is better than the thrifts, because the prices tend to be better. The best is to hit a good church rummage sale or fund-raising sale, because their goal is to get rid of everything by sale's end. This always makes for great prices.
Evenings after buying trips: Spend at least an hour sorting, logging, and wrapping purchases. I list each item in a notebook along with the receipt. Everything gets put into Rubbermaid tubs when done.
Monday and Tuesday evenings: Spend a couple of hours going through at least one tub, cleaning and pricing all the items. I do try to do this when I'm sorting everything after buying, but if it's been a big day, I can't get to everything, so I prioritize getting stuff logged while I can remember whet I paid for it.
Wednesday evening: Spend 3-4 hours at the booth cleaning it up and re-stocking. Even though the staff of the Peddler's Mall handle the money end of the transaction, it's up to me to keep the booth tidy and full of stuff people will want to buy. You'd be amazed at how a group of browsers can really jostle your space without buying anything!
In the in-between times: Spend a couple hours a week bagging up smaller items into sets and pricing them. I also like to buy large bagged sets of items, like fridge magnets, and break them down into smaller sets. I keep a box of stuff like this by my TV chair and do it when I watch my soaps.
Every six weeks or so: Spend a whole day (usually on a weekend) at the booth and give it a thorough cleaning and rearranging, to keep it fresh-looking.
And this doesn't count: Time spent on supply runs, any research time, time spent at clearance tables in whatever store I might be in (grocery, drug store, Target, Borders, etc) looking for markdowns I might be able to sell, attending the odd auction, and the occasional curb dive on junk set out days.
All that adds up to a big chunk of time! But it's fun. It takes my mind off things. Keith says it's been really good for me, and I would agree. During the time when I couldn't seem to do anything right at work (according to my superiors), I had the booth to remind me that I am indeed a pretty smart and competent guy. For me, that was a bigger payoff than any money that this endeavor might generate.