Mouthy Money editor Edmund Greaves meets author and entrepreneur Robert Gardner to find out about…Read More →
Spring has definitely sprung and so car boot sale season is well underway here in the UK.
It is also traditionally the season for a good declutter, so why not turn your unwanted belongings into cash?
In this article, I will give you some tips on how to offload your old stuff and maximise your profits.
First thing’s first, do your research. That means searching online to find the biggest and most respected car boot sales near you.
Once you’ve chosen a car boot sale, find out if there are any fees to pitch up and sell your goods.
It’s also a good idea to visit the site beforehand to get an idea of where the best spots are.
If you’re a first-timer, go on a bank holiday, as these are the events likely to draw the biggest crowds.
Check the weather forecast a few days before and change your plans if it looks wet or particularly windy. A sunny day will bring out the crowds.
Get a friend or family member to go with you if possible. They can help you set up, or mind the stall if you need a loo break or want to do some shopping yourself.
Finally, pack your car the night before so you can have a quick departure on the morning of the sale.
There are certain essentials to take with you to the boot sale.
Food and drink (you’ll thank yourself for making up a flask if it’s cold). By taking your own food, you’ll also save money (and queuing time) at the burger or tea stall.
Be sure to take sun cream and a sun hat if the forecast is for hot weather. But also pack a jumper or a coat in case it gets chilly. And, of course, this is the UK we are talking about, so take an umbrella.
One or two folding tables, depending on how much stuff you have to sell. Sturdy wallpapering tables are good. It is worth keeping any items with a little more value on the table where you can see them, as you do get some light fingers at a boot sale.
Having said that, if you do have things of value, you may be able to get more money for them online.
A clothing rail and hangers mean you will be likely to get a better price and sell more of your clothing items. It looks far better than having them scrunched up in a ball on the floor. A tarpaulin or large sheet on the ground is good for displaying things like toys and footwear.
Make sure you take a float. A lot of customers turn up with £20 notes and won’t buy from you if you cannot provide change. A money belt will keep your profits safe.
If you have some old plastic carrier bags, they can be useful. You can even sell your clothing for £1 a bag at the end to get rid of the final few items.
Bin bags are also useful to scoop up your unsold wares and any rubbish at the end.
Selling at a boot sale can be tiring, so consider squeezing in a couple of deckchairs for comfort.
Get there early
It pays to arrive early. Many of your potential customers will, so you need to as well.
It also takes some of the stress out of setting up. Not only is it irritating when people are clamouring around your car as you try to unload, there is also potential for theft.
You will still find cheeky dealers trying to get in first even if you arrive early. My tip is to politely but firmly tell them you are not selling until you have set up.
Be prepared to haggle
Be realistic with your pricing. People expect to find bargains at a boot sale and your prices should be cheaper than the local charity shop – and certainly much cheaper than eBay.
If you over-price you may end up taking a lot of your wares home with you.
Be prepared to haggle with customers. But at the same time, you will get some seriously low offers, so stand firm if you are confident you can get more.
I tend to become more generous with my pricing as the morning wears on, as I don’t want to go home with anything.
But don’t forget that the whole point is to make money. So, even if you get £1 for something you really wanted £3 for, it is all money in the pot.
Have a think about your pricing in advance. You can attach price labels, but it takes work and if you are haggling, it is probably pointless.
However, you could have a 50p box or have signs saying ‘all books £1’, just to give customers a guide.
Be friendly and approachable
It may seem like common sense, but being friendly and chatting to people might lead to more sales. It also helps to pass the time.
Are you planning to make money at a boot sale this year? What are your top tips?
Photo Credits: Unsplash
Shoestring Jane is a full-time self-employed mum of three daughters. Her frugal partner in crime is handyman extraordinaire, Mr Shoestring. They are constantly on the look out for ways to save and make extra money. Read more on her blog, Shoestring Cottage.