Whilst you might not think it from the weather, we’re now slap bang in the middle of car boot sale season, certainly for those enough who aren’t hardy enough to go during the winter months.
Car boot sales might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s no doubt that they can be a useful way of generating a bit of extra cash, as well as providing you with a chance to clear some unwanted clutter from your house. Whilst I wouldn’t class myself as an experienced car-booter (it requires too many cold, early mornings in a field for my liking), here are the tips I would suggest new booters need to consider before packing up your car and heading out to make your fortune:
- Think about what will actually sell – before you start piling everything and anything into your car, consider whether anyone will really want to buy your old junk. It’s true that people will buy some unbelievable stuff, but they’re unlikely to pay much for it, so you’ll be better off finding your bigger, better items first.
- Be realistic about pricing but don’t give it away – in the car boot sales I’ve attended buyers haven’t been prepared to part with much for anything, so decide beforehand what you’re going to charge for each item but be realistic about what you’ll get for it. That old video recorder may have given you hours of viewing pleasure, but to another punter it’s not going to be worth more than a couple of quid. But if you’re being haggled down to a price you’re not comfortable with, if it’s early enough in the day it might be worth holding out for someone who’s willing to pay a little more. Later in the day, it’s worth weighing up whether you should take a low offer or have to take the item back home and bring back to sell another time. Sometimes it’s better to get rid of the item and concetrate your efforts on more saleable items the next time round. If go regularly and find yourself taking the same things back home each time, it might be time to dump them and look for other stuff to sell.
- Be prepared – decide on your prices before you leave, as there are often buyers milling around before you’ve even got out of your car, which can leave you a little off guard. Get some small price stickers to put on your items if it helps.
- Think about how you are going to display your items – Organise similar items together to help “cross-sell”, and make use of the space you have, by using tables or groundsheets. Remember that wallpaper pasting table you’ve got stored in the garage? It might not see much decorating action, but it’s invaluable for car booting. Also, think about how you can catch people’s attention – obviously, this doesn’t mean by shouting or flashing naughty parts of your body, but by the way you layout your items or even the types of item you have to sell.
- Don’t park too close to the next car – this might be a little difficult depending on how keen the organisers are in cramming as many cars into their field, but if you can give yourself a little more space, do it.
- Watch your expensive items – car boot sales can be magnets for people who enjoy getting a “five finger discount”, so keep an eye on your more expensive items to ensure they don’t get nicked.
- Get there early – in general it pays to get to the sale early, as you’ll end up in one of the best pitches – you want to have as many people walking past as possible.
- Factor in costs – It’s no good earning £20 – £30 selling all of your stuff if your profit gets eaten up by the cost of your pitch, food and drink etc., so factor these in when you’re trying to work out if it’s worth going. To make it cheaper, take your own sandwiches or a flask of tea to keep you going.
- Go to the loo before you go! – says it all really, don’t get caught short – you might miss that important sale!
- Take some change – have a few 1p and 2p coins handy, as well as some change i slightly larger sizes.
I hope you’ve found these tips useful – we’ve found that we can earn between £50 – £100 at each car boot sale, although we only go a couple of times a year, as we don’t have that much stuff to sell.
Got any more car boot sale tips? Leave them in the comments below.
Update: there are already some really good car boot sale tips in the comments, so be sure to check them out.
photo credit: kamshots
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