My wife and I have been selling at car boot sales for many years now, ever since we got together in fact. But before we got together we was also doing car boot sales with our families and even for charities. As such we have both learned many tips and tricks to use when selling at car boot sales. I will share these with you as it is now turning into car boot sale season.
Seems quite a silly thing to say, research the car boot sale you want to set up at, but it is actually quite an important.
If you have not been to the car boot sale before, then it is well worth going to it as a buyer the week before you plan to. This way you can judge on how much traffic the car boot sale gets via the crowds and how many stalls are there. You can also see the types of stall that are there, from professional sellers and regular car booters. If there are quite a few professional sellers then that usually means that it is profitable car boot sale.
Check your items out on eBay first. Car boot sales are good to sell items but at the end of the day most people go to them for a bargain, so it will be a lot harder to shift your expensive items at them. The amount of times that I have seen someone try to sell an item at an extortionate price because they have seen fetch mega money on eBay is way too high.
Lastly for research always make sure to check the weather. This will help you judge on if it is worth going to the car boot sale or not. After all, fewer people head out to car boot sales when it is raining, even when it is an indoor one. It will also help you to judge when to pack up and leave the car boot, as it might be sunny in morning but raining for the afternoon.
Being prepared can only help you more in the long run so you should always try to pack the night before, after all you don't want to wake the neighbours do you?
We find that it is best to use fruit boxes that you can get for free from most supermarkets, as they are designed to stack on each other, so less chances of things moving in car whilst driving. Also make sure the tables you are using at the top or in the seat wells so they can be set up first thing when you get to the car boot sale.
Best bit about doing most of it the night before is that you get that little bit longer in bed, oh blissful wonderful bed!
This is one of the most important things you need to have for a car boot sale and can be destroyed early on if you are not prepared!
Ideally for your float you should have plenty of twenty, fifty and pound coins as you can, and always make sure that you have a few five and ten pound notes as well. At nearly every car boot sale you will always have that one person (more than one if unlucky) that will hand over a twenty pound note, and say they haven't any change at all, to pay for one thing that costs one pound. If you haven't prepared then this can destroy your float or you could lose a sale. We usually take around forty to fifty pounds worth of change and a few notes just in case.
Also hide it but keep it accessible! We put it in the driver's well and lock the other doors, but also keep a few coins in our pockets. The last thing you want is to leave it on the floor or table and have someone seize an opportunity and run off with your money.
Food & Drink
Car-boot sales are one of the only socially acceptable times to be having a burger or a jumbo sized hotdog with bacon for breakfast! After all you will have been up since four or five AM just to be ready and get there.
That eats (no pun intended) into your profit and depending on how much profit you have made and how you are feeling, might mean you stay longer than you want to. So bring your own food and drink as they are a fraction of the price and you don't have to leave your stall either.
It is also a very good idea to bring wet wipes with you. You will most likely have some dusty items which might need a little wipe down but you will be handling that and be dealing with money all day. Money isn't the cleanest of things so after a while you will feel your hands become grimy, then food is the last thing you will be wanting to handle!
Bring another person
Anyone that has been to a car boot sale and had to handle a stall will know how stressful an experience it can be sometimes, especially from getting in and setting up your stall.
That is why it is important to bring another person with you, so friend, your wife/husband or kidnap and hold hostage another family member! (We sometimes do this with my wife's Dad! haha). It allows one person to unload whilst the other can unpack and deal with buyers, which then also deters thieves (unfortunately some people don't even want to pay fifty pence for an item). My wife and I have experienced this several times, especially at the start when you are busy trying to unload and set up. We have adapted the method of myself setting the tables up and unloading the car, whilst my wife will set the items on the table and deal with the early horde.
Bringing another person not only makes the day easier as there will be two people for customers to ask and hand money over to, but there will be proper company for yourself and it gives you greater freedom. You can explore the car boot sale, go to the toilet or grab food and drink. Also having that extra set of eyes makes you less appealing to thieves.
Now this might seem a silly thing to bring with you to a car boot sale but it can be very helpful for you to do so.
Whenever my wife and I go to sell at a boot sale we will bring ten to twenty pounds of our own money for when we have a wander round the boot sale. This helps because you will not be spending any of the profits you have made that day or dipping into your float.
These can really help at a boot sale, though be prepared to change or remove them as the day draws on if they need to be.
The best way to use them is as a generalization for a box or group of items, so ‘All clothes 50p each, 3 for £1' and so on. Having a box which has piles of stuff can bring in the rummage fans that will dig though to see what is there for fifty pence or a pound.
Do not fall into the trap of trying to label everything as you might as well be wasting your time as many people will haggle with the price and as the day draws on you might just want to shift the items so reduce it.
You might want to also remove any existing price labels that are still on your items from when you purchased them – people might assume that this is the price you are charging now.
Haggling and Deals
This is a near extinct art in the UK with it only seeming to survive at car boot sales and a few other places. At the end of the day you shouldn't be afraid to haggle as it can actually be quite fun.
Doing a kind hearted deal with a customer, especially a child that really wants a toy or an old lady can actually not only give you a little profit but cause others to become a little more interested in your stall or more likely to return.
This sounds so silly but you will have been up and busy since the early hours so it gets harder to maintain but it is also amazing at how much people lose common sense and politeness when at a boot sale. So it is a good idea to keep check of your patience and be as polite and friendly to everyone that comes to your stall and the other stall holders around you, as this might get you an extra sale.
At one boot sale another stall holder was our biggest customer because we were polite to them, kept up conversations and even watched over their stall for them.
Set a time you want to go home
The day can be really long and will drag, so it is often a great idea to set a time when you want to leave or a goal to try and reach before you set off.
Most boot sales although they continue until after midday usually start to die around half ten to eleven AM, my wife and I usually pick that time to pack up and leave unless the stall is going really well still. We often will also have a minimum amount of money we will try to make for the day, this is flexible with us as we will judge it on what we have brought with us, when in the season it is (as the first few of the season are always for us a lot better) and then we will always make sure that we have covered fuel and pitch cost, but usually we set it between £50 – £100.
On Friday I will be posting car boot sales tips for buyers, which I hope that you will enjoy as well.
Do you love going to car boots either as a seller or a buyer? Do you have an tips that you think I haven't covered, then please let me know by commenting, I would love to hear them.