Car boot sales UK: top tips to sell successfully

Car boot sales UK: 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.

lovemoney staff

Saving and Making Money

lovemoney staff
Updated on 11 January 2024

Car boot sales can be a great way to get rid of lots of your old stuff quickly, earn some extra money and even have a fun day out.

If you’re thinking about doing a car boot sale, here are a few tips that could help 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 with  site like carbootjunction - or  you can simply keep an eye out for signs in your local area.

If you are planning to organise it yourself, it's important you check with your local council as the planning rules may vary from one to the next.

Sort out the stock

Sort out what you would like to get rid of and identify 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 any items 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’s 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.

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 your stall.

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

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Prepare a float

Many people miss out on countless sales purely because they didn’t have enough change for a £10 or £20 note.

It’s a good idea to have around £25-worth of change – you can change your money at a bank.

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

Get equipped

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

A collapsible table and portable, sturdy rails are useful for displaying your wares. This may help drive sales when compared to dumping items 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 can sometimes 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 able to set up faster.

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

Plus, you can share the cost of the pitch, which is usually around £10.

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Take pride in layout and presentation

Making signs, arranging clothes by colour, and organising items into categories are some of the ways that can make it easier to attract buyers.

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

Be prepared for the weather

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

Don’t be put off by any wet weather as some customers at car boot sales are unlikely to let it stop them from 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 helpful and may produce a repeat customer.

Pull out the charm

People may be drawn to your pitch if you are smiling and welcoming. Show an interest in the customer as it could have an impact on sales.

But try not to be overbearing as that will just turn people off.

Price everything

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

It’s a good idea to price everything – not everyone passing through will want to haggle with you. Some people would like to know how much you want for something.

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

Price realistically...

Most people suggest a price of between 10%-15% of the original value is a good guideline when it comes to pricing an item.

But it might be easier to look at something and 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 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 relative. 

Enjoy counting up your takings and working out how much of a profit you made in just a couple of hours!

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