Tips for Selling at a Car Boot Sale

Here are some tips for selling your stuff at a car boot sale.

Know Why You’re Going

There are two basic reasons why people sell at a car book sale:

  • To get rid of things
  • To make money

Knowing which one is your priority will help you with your pricing.. Either way, however, you really won’t make a fortune.

Have a Pricing Strategy

Don’t take things that are too expensive. Bare in mind that people are looking for a real bargain. You’re probably better off selling anything over £5 on eBay or in the small adds.

  • Know what you want for each item before you go
  • Anticipate that some people will want to haggle – some people will haggle over pence
  • Factor in your costs (pitch, food, fuel)
  • Remember that you won’t sell everything
  • Be prepared to adjust prices if you need to
  • If you want to shift things, be prepared to drop prices at the end of the day
  • Consider what you’ll do with unsold items – bin, charity shop, another sale

The early-birds will often want to pay very little (they may be traders themselves).  People who arrive after 9 may be willing to pay a little more.

Prepare Your Items

  1. Check that items are complete and in working order
  2. Clean and tidy items if they need it
  3. Pack things into boxes so they are easy to transport and unpack
  4. Put on price labels
  5. Label things if it isn’t obvious what they are
  6. Label clothes and curtains with their size
  7. If possible, pack your car the night before
  8. Pack your table last as you’ll need it first

Some people put price labels on their items, other’s don’t. Of course, labelling takes work up-front (you’re unlikely to have time to label everything on the day), but your stall will be easier to easier to manage if you put prices on things. I’d recommend this strategy if you’re less experienced. Some people prefer not to label. The advantage is that, when potential customers ask a price, you know they are ready to start negotiating, that they are interested in the items you’re selling, and that they’re ready to enguage with you, the seller. This can be a good strategy for experienced sellers, but can be more work on the day.

Take the Following

  1. Your display equipment: table, rail for clothes, picnic blanket / plastic sheet / creates and boxes
  2. Food and drink
  3. Carrier bags for people to take purchases home
  4. A float (I wouldn’t bother with coppers)
  5. Your pitch fee
  6. A pen for making signs and adjusting prices
  7. Stickers / paper for prices / labels
  8. Sun hat, shades, sun cream, rain coat, umbrella
  9. A chair
  10. Wet wipes (for your hands and to wipe goods if they fall on the floor or get finger marks on them)
  11. Tape for re-sealing boxes when you take things home again
  12. A friend (if possible) so you can take a break, have someone to chat to

Arrive Early

If you don’t arrive early you won’t get a good pitch – you may even miss out on a pitch altogether!

  1. Check with organisers if you’re not sure how early you should arrive
  2. Make sure you know where you’re going
  3. Use the loo before you go!

Display Your Goods Effectively

People won’t buy what they can’t see, so make life as easy for your customers as you can:

  1. Put larger items at the back. You can stand things on boxes if that makes life easier
  2. People often don’t notice things that are too high or too low, so put your best stuff on your table
  3. Group similar items together
  4. Label things if it isn’t obvious what they are
  5. Clothes are easier to look through if they are on a rail rather than in a box or a heap
  6. If you have a small collection of similar items like soft toys or books, display them all together in a crate or box

Enjoy the Experience

  • Don’t drink too much if you’re on your own
  • Keep you cash / valuables secure
  • Have fun

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