Swapfest volunteering guide

Table of Contents

  1. Timeline
  2. Communication
  3. Garage setup
  4. Sellers
    1. Non-prepaid lot
    2. Prepaid line
    3. Season passes
  5. Buyers
    1. Early bird line
    2. Regular line


  • 0530: Gate setup started and early morning vendor line/pre-opening lines up tended to and sorted
  • 0700: Sellers and early-bird buyers admitted
  • 0900: Buyers gate open, need extra workers from 0845 to 0930 to cover that rush
  • 1400: Swapfest ends
  • 1600: All vendors must be gone, we should be nearly done with cleanup
  • 1700: We must be gone


We generally use the repeater, information for which can be found at: http://web.mit.edu/w1xm/www/

Garage setup

Walk up and down garage, make sure there are no cars parked in level 4 and above MIT PD will usually drive over and check for that themselves around or before volunteer setup too Signs and tables are in the basement of the garage. Signs should go on Albany St., pointing in the direction of the garage entrance. The table should be brought up to the first floor outside the garage for early bird registration, then up to the third floor before 9AM. If the tables can’t be brought up in time for 9AM regular admission, set out cones to demarcate the area people need to be admitted into for Swapfest.


Non-prepaid lot

Items needed:

  • Registration forms (blue sheets)
  • Seller rules (white sheets)
  • Flyers for next month (pastel colored sheets)
  • “V” permits (for the first space)
  • Non-V permits (for additional spaces)
  • Handstamp
  • Cash to make change with
  • Optionally a pen
  • Optionally a radio

The Albany Street/Massachusetts Ave lot is reserved for Swapfest. If employees try to park there and are not there for Swapfest, try to convince them they need to park elsewhere.

  1. Give person a registration form (blue), a copy of the rules (white), and a flyer for next month (pastel). Tell them to fill out the registration form and get your attention when they have.

  2. Ask them how many spots they want and how many people they have.

  3. Charge them, $20 for the first spot, $15 for each subsequent spot. Every spot gets one person; additional people are charged just like buyers - $6, or $5 with a previous flyer. There are no discounts for spaces, no matter how many flyers they bring. If they are paying for additional people, those are just like buyers and can get a dollar off with a flyer.

  4. Give them a vendor permit with a red V on it, and a permit without a V for every additional spot (for example: 5 spots = 1 V and 4 non-V). Tell them they must show this to enter the garage, and must display it prominently when they have set up in the garage.

  5. Make sure they know where to go.

  6. Stamp their hands.

  7. When the prepaid line has already gone in, send the non-prepaid line down Albany Street to the garage.

  8. If someone in this line (without a vehicle) wants to buy an early-bird buyer pass, charge them $15 (just like an additional space for a vendor), offer them a flyer, and stamp their hand. They do not need to register, do not need a permit, do not need the seller rules, and do not get a discount with a flyer. They may enter the garage immediately after the vendors.

Prepaid line

Items needed:

  • Prepaid vendor paperwork (V and non-V permits pre-printed with their names, stapled to copies of the sellers rules, which are on white paper)
  • Flyers for next month (pastel colored sheets)
  • Non-V permits (for additional spaces)
  • Handstamp
  • Cash to make change with
  • Optionally a radio

How to process prepaid vendors:

  1. Ask the person for their name.

  2. Give them their paperwork (should be alphabetical in the folder) and a flyer.

  3. Make sure they have as many spaces as they need (should match the number of pre-printed permits). If they want additional spaces, sell them for $15 each (no discount for flyers) just like a non-prepaid seller, and give them the appropriate number of additional non-V permits.

  4. Make sure they do not have more people than spaces. If they do, charge for the additional people just like buyers - $6 each, with $1 off for a flyer.

  5. Stamp their hands.

  6. Let them go into the garage once we open.

Season Passes

This is slightly complicated because very few of these are sold on-site, they are only available certain months, and they involve a lot of money and receipts. You should probably find someone very experienced to handle this correctly. If you must deal with it, here is the gist.

  1. We only sell them at the April and May Swapfest (there is no point buying them later; beyond that, the discount is no better than mailing in advance registration month-to-month).

  2. The first space costs $99.

  3. Additional spaces cost $70 each.

  4. They must fill out the same blue registration form non-prepaid sellers use and it must be perfectly legible.

  5. Our volunteer must fill out the receipt section at the bottom of the blue form, being sure to include the amount of money paid, the number of spaces, the volunteer’s signed initials, and the handstamp must be used on the receipt. The volunteer must also put all this info (amount of money, number of spaces, volunteer’s initials, handstamp) on the top section that we will keep.

  6. Tear off the receipt section at the bottom of the form and give this to the seller, along with everything else you would give a non-prepaid seller (copy of the rules, flyer, one V permit, however many non-V permits they’ve purchased additional spaces for), and stamp their hand.

  7. Be absolutely sure this blue form is not lost, and make sure the person in charge of advance registrations knows that you sold a season pass.


Early bird line

  1. Block off a car size entrance into the garage to make sure everyone goes through a volunteer to get their pass.

  2. If they are a prepaid early-bird, their paperwork is with the prepaid sellers paperwork in alphabetical order. The only major difference is that their pre-printed pass has an E instead of a V.

  3. If they are not prepaid, charge $15 for each early bird. There are no discounts for early-bird buyers, regardless of flyers or MIT/Harvard IDs.

  4. Stamp their hand.

Regular line

People line up in front of the table

We open at 9:00

  1. Collect money - $6 for each regular buyer. If the person is an MIT or Harvard student, count them on the clicker counter, and they get free admission. If they have a previous Swapfest flyer (on paper; no smartphone screens), or a MIT or Harvard non-student ID, they get $1 off. Have them put the flyer in the bin. They do not get additional dollars off if they have both flyers and IDs.

  2. Stamp their hand.

  3. Give them a flyer for next month.