Car boot sales: top tips to sell successfully

Make money selling your old stuff at a car boot sale near you using these tips and tricks to boost your takings.

Car boot sales are a great way to get rid of lots of your old stuff quickly, earn some extra money and have a fun (ish) day out during the summer.

If you’re thinking about doing one, here are a few tips I’ve picked up over the years that are guaranteed to boost your takings.

Find a local car boot sale

To start out you should find out where your local car boot sale is taking place next.

You can find a car boot sale near you using carbootjunction or by keeping an eye out for signs in around your local area.

Sort out the stock

 Sort out what you would like to get rid of and identify the items that other people might want to buy.

Popular items at a car boot sale include clothes, accessories, kid’s toys, baby goods, shoes, furniture, ornaments, photo frames, jewellery, books, CDs and DVDs.

If you have the time dusting, cleaning or even ironing will have a positive impact on how attractive your goods are to buyers when it comes to the day. Crinkled or dirty items are unlikely to get a look from passers-by so it is worth putting in a bit of extra effort.

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Choose the best pitch

Visit the car boot sale you plan to go to a few weeks before and scope out the area.

This will help you to determine where the greatest footfall is. Usually a good spot is near the food, but also the entrance and exit are prime locations for people traffic.

Get there early

Get an early start so you can secure the position you think will work best for your goods. You can usually turn up a couple of hours before to set up.

Make sure you give yourself enough time as there are often long queues of cars waiting to get in and nab the best spaces.

Prepare a float

I have missed out on countless sales purely because I haven’t had enough change for a £10 or £20 note.

Now I usually have about £25-worth of change to bring with me. You can change your money at a bank or in a big supermarket.

Get a small bag you can wear across your body to store this money and ensure it's kept safe on the day.

Get equipped

Most people hate rummaging so use anything you can to help show off your items better.

A collapsible table and some portable, sturdy rails are useful for displaying your wares. I guarantee this will deliver more sales than having items dumped on a plastic sheet or in a cardboard box.

A large mirror is also useful if you’re selling clothes and accessories as people like to have a look at what potential purchases look like on.

Car boot sale

Pack the car strategically

Put the equipment you’re going to use to display items in an easy to reach area so you can set up quickly.

This way you can take advantage of the first trickle of customers while others fumble to get everything together. The biggest volume of sales take place within the first hour so you don't want to spend too much time setting up.

Bring a helping hand

Doubling up with a friend or family member can boost sales and you will be quicker setting up.

You can both sell your stuff which will mean there will be a variety of stock, making your stall more appealing.

Plus, you can go halves on the cost of the pitch, which is usually around £10.

Take pride in layout and presentation

Some of the my most successful car boot sales were the result of taking a lot of pride in layout and presentation.

Making signs, arranging clothes by colour and organising items into categories just makes it easier for buyers.

If something on display is not generating any interest, try swapping it around for a more eye-catching piece that will get more people visiting your stall.

Be prepared for the weather

Be prepared for the weather with a large plastic covering. This will protect your goods from rain and if you manage to get a transparent one, your items will still be on show.

In my experience regular customers at car boot sales don't let a bit of rain stop them rooting around for a bargain!

Bring bags for big spenders

Have a stash of carrier bags on hand. These are for shoppers that take a liking to your stall and buy more than one item.

This might not necessarily bring in more money but it is just helpful and may produce a repeat customer.

Pull out the charm

People will be drawn to your pitch if you are smiling and welcoming. Show an interest in the customer as it has a big impact on sales. But try not to be overbearing as that will just turn people off.

Car boot sale

Price everything

There is perhaps a divide on this subject when it comes to car boot and jumble sales.

I am of the opinion that everything should have prices; not everyone passing through will be out to haggle with you. Some people would just like to know how much you want for something.

Also if you’re doing the sale with a friend they will be better placed to know how much you want to sell it for, as you may be busy with another buyer or on a loo break.

Price realistically...

Most people suggest a price between 10-15% of the original value is a good guideline.

I find it’s easier to look at something and just imagine what you would be prepared to pay for it now. It’s usually a good indicator.

If something is worth a lot of money don't undervalue it. If it doesn't sell you can always use eBay!

Read: How to sell successfully on eBay.

...but be flexible

Car boot sales are notorious grounds for hagglers. Buyers are on the hunt for a great bargain. So try and be flexible with the price.

If a lot of buyers are put off by your price tags, rethink your pricing structure and put new prices on. But be firm and polite if you’re not willing to accept an offer.

Have fun

A car boot sale is much more fun than uploading items on eBay and waiting for them to sell, especially if you get the chance to do one with a friend or your family in the sunshine.

Enjoy counting up your takings and working out how much of a profit you made in just a couple of hours! I have managed to make £100 in a day with my sister.

Let us know how you do and any more tips in the comment boxes below.

This article has been updated

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