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I have been enjoying car boot sales for as long as I can remember, both buying and selling at them. Over the years I have learned several ways that can increase your profit when selling at a car boot sale that you should always consider when you are selling. Here are 10 ways to increase your profit at a car boot sale that I have learned. For other various tips and advice on car boot sales then please check out my posts ‘Car boot sale tips for sellers‘ and ‘Car boot sale tips for buyers‘.
Now it seems almost silly to say but the amount of times that you will see people trying to sell dirty items is unreal. How can you expect to make money at a car boot sale with filthy items? People will be more drawn in to items that seem like they have been well taken care of and cleaning can definitely make them look that much better. You don't even need to do it all before you go to the car boot sale, take some wet wipes with you and clean any items whilst you are there.
If you have the original packaging then show that you do. The item out and on top of the box or with the box behind will sell a lot better than having no box or sat within the box on your pitch. Though if the item is still sealed then keep it sealed, even if some customers will want to open it, this is after all proof that the item is new and unused.
Neat and organized
If you have some organization to your pitch then people can more easily see what you have for sale and any similar items will be grouped together, potentially selling together. You can even make it simpler by packing your boxes with similar items before you attend the car boot so you can put them straight out together.
For those with a lot of items then it is a good idea to borrow or invest in wallpaper tables (one of the cheapest I have seen has been in wilko) and/or tarps (or anything else big enough) in which to put and lay your items on. This can make your pitch more attractive to buyers and keeps items off the ground that can potentially ruin the item. I have a personal hate of when sellers have items like books directly on the ground because it will ruin the book if the ground is damp and let's face it most mornings in England the ground will be damp!
You will also want to try and make sure it is easy to tell where your pitch ends. This just makes things a little bit easier for potential customers to know who to inquire or pay for an item. Some customers might even walk off if they are unable to tell and they can't easily get hold of one of the stall holders. In some very rare cases with unscrupulous sellers, your item might be sold by your neighbor for their profit if they can get away with it. Thankfully this is quite rare in my experience.
All hung up
Selling clothes can be a pain if you have a lot of them, but you don't want your best clothes to end up in a rummage pile. You should consider bringing a clothing rail just for your good quality clothing that you want to charge a bit more for. You can even then use signs on the rail to show people rough sizing or prices of the items on the rail. I would always recommend that you try and weigh the rail down though as it will catch the wind on a windy day, though I did see one family make a sellotape rope to tie it to the car once!
Go big or go home
It amazes both myself and my wife just how little some people bring to a car boot sale. You should always try to think about the pitch fee and also the value of your time spent in trying to sell at a car boot sale. I have seen many people just walk right by tiny stalls with barely a glance over their items.
Whenever we have sold at a car boot, every possible space in the car is taken up with items to sell, tables and clothing rail for display. Even after a good day and all that we have taken with us we will still be taking things home again.
For those that do have a few items that they really want to get rid of then consider using other options in which to sell your items. Local auctions can be used to sell individual items or lots, this can prove to be cheaper than a car boot depending on the commission prices and local Facebook selling groups, especially since there will be no fees.
Haggling is usually a must at a car boot sale. Just think of the haggle scene in Monty Python's Life of Brian and that you are being forced into the world of haggling and you might see some humour at least in the situation.
It is usually a great idea to have a general knowledge on what sort of prices you want for what your selling. This will not only allow you to haggle better but will make you sound more confident and sell the item at the price you would prefer to sell it at.
One of the things my wife and I do is the simple haggle technique of marking up the price of our more expensive items (not by too much) which leaves us and customers room to haggle down to the price that both parties want for an item. You might even get someone that is happy with the marked up price so you will get unexpected profit.
Another tactic that me and my wife do is aim high and lower the bar as the morning goes on. This means that we will try to get as much as we can for items at the start of the day and then after a certain time we will lower the prices or take slightly lower haggle on items but still within the price range we have agreed is preferable.
I am sure that many of you will have been to a car boot and after hearing a price are deep in shock. That is how I feel sometimes.
From my experience it is actually quite rare that a large sale will go down at a car boot, but there are exceptions. As such you will need to make sure that your pricing isn't going to drive people away (even £1 can drive some people away!). If you often visit car boot sales then you will usually get a feel over the sorts of prices are usually asked at each one, two of the car boots Emma and I often visit are very different in items and prices. Skylark has generally cheaper asking prices, whilst Fordham has slightly higher asking prices.
If you have researched your items on eBay, and are charging what you have seen on eBay, then you might be better off selling them on eBay. I can understand though that many people do not want the hassle of using or selling on eBay. If that is the case then once you have researched the price, try to sell it for what seems reasonable. It is unlikely you will get what someone on eBay has gotten. You can even mention that the item has gone for ‘X' amount on eBay to show that you have researched and are doing a deal for them since you don't want the hassle to sell on eBay. Many people will check up on it though via the eBay app.
I once met someone at a car boot sale trying to get £50 for an anime boxset at a car boot sale, because he had seen one sell for that price and said he would even sell it on eBay if it didn't sell at the car boot. What he didn't say or maybe not see was that the same boxset had sold on the same day for £20 on eBay. Big difference in the prices there!
To label or not to label that is the question
Now this is one that is up for debate. Some people do not like to label at all. Some love to label everything.
Personally I would use a balance of the two. Use labeling on certain items, such as rummage boxes or piles of clothes. This will mean that for some items you will not have to always repeat yourself but at the same time can interact with them more when it comes to the rest of your items.
Every other possible thing
Location. location, location
Just like the right home a pitch at a car boot sale will all be about location. The sheer size of some car boots combined with how busy it is, how much people bring and even the temperature can mean that not everyone will go round the entire car boot. As such those pitches that are closest to the entrance or car park will usually do better than those further away.
We regularly attend 3 different car boot sales and have been sellers regularly at two of them. As such we learned very quickly which one to turn up at the crack of dawn, queuing with the other sellers and which one we could go to a little later. All so we could get closer to the zone that is closer to where the customers will be coming from.
Bring the money!
One thing that will always amaze me at a car boot sale is how little change sellers will bring. After all if you can't give people their change then you will lose out on a sale.
Not everyone will be bringing coins and small notes to the car boot. Some people might have only just visited a cash machine in which case they might be packing some £20 notes! All you will need is a couple of people in this situation to blow your change away. As I stated in my post ‘Car boot sale tips for sellers‘, Emma and I usually have a float of £50 in change with notes as well, just in case.
Bring in the muscle!
It is incredibly easy to be overwhelmed at a car boot sale. You will have to keep track of prices, customers and change, even whilst getting your items out of the car when you have pulled up! As such bring help. This way one of you can unload the car whilst the other can arrange the stock and deal with customers, it will also deter any thieves from striking whilst your back is turned. Unfortunately it does happen and has happened to ourselves, even when there was two of us. Which caused us to use the system we now use in which one of us (me) will unload the car whilst the other (Emma) sets up the table and deals with customers.
When all unpacked then there will be two people in which to deal with customers. I will say though that try to make sure they roughly know what you want for most items as you don't want them selling an item for £1 that you was trying to sell for a lot more!