I really enjoy selling at boot sales. Or rather, I enjoy the money I make from boot sales, but having to get up so early is a pain!
We recently got kittens and now is the time for their first visit to the V E T. Please don't tell them though, they don't know yet. Kittens are expensive, and the first v.e.t. visit for the two of them is going to come to £220. Ouch. I've been adamant that I don't want to spend my first new monthly salary on v.e.t. fees, so we decided that we would do a few car boot sales to raise the funds. Two car boot sales have netted up £170 (£50 for the first and £120 for the second).
Car booting is not new to me – in fact I even blogged about it two years ago, so I thought it was definitely time for an update. Here are my top car boot tips for selling:
- Take a lot of change. We constantly have a £50 float in a money box just for car boot sales, and there will be one note in there at most. You don't want to turn down a sale because you don't have enough change. And chances are that someone will pay with a £20 note for a 50p item.
- Get some good tables. I've actually invested in these wallpaper tables from Wilkinsons for £9.95 (and if you order for click+collect via Quidco you get 40p cashback). These are a firm favourite of mine as they're lightweight and fit behind my car seats perfectly. My car can easily take between 4-6 tables.
- Take lots of plastic carrier bags. A large number of people now either have their own canvas bags or the latest trend around here seems to be shopping trolleys – and not just with the older generation. That said, having lots of bags is just good customer service at the end of the day. If you don't have any then feel free to ask your local Co-op, Tesco, etc if you can have some from their recycling bins.
- Pack lunch! What's the point in waking up early, loading your car and dragging yourself to a boot sale if you're then going to spend £5 or so each on lunch there. You can also never take too many drinks.
- Wet wipes are your friend.
- The time that the car boot sale advertises? Don't trust it. A local car boot blast all over their Facebook page and their website that they only open for buyers at 10am, so we left the house at 8am one morning only to find that we were very late! Ask them on their Facebook page, send an email or if you check out a car boot sale as a buyer before selling then ask other stall holders what time they got there. I also like to ask them how much money they make so I can decide whether it is worth going to.
- If you're going for a few weeks in a row then try and switch things around – either go to different car boot sale locations, take different stuff or lay it out differently. People soon recognise the same stuff and will avoid your stall all together.
- Price things realistically – you're at a boot sale and people really don't want to pay what something is actually worth. Try selling on eBay first.
- Be friendly! Engage with your buyers, answer their questions and don't take it personally when they make a really small offer. Use your judgement with offers – if no one else has even touched that item all day would you prefer the money in your pocket or taking the item home?
To price your items or not to price them? I think this really depends. I like to price things I know are good offers or popular items – all clothes in a bundle on the floor are priced with a sign, jewellery making items are priced with an offer (50p each or 5 for £2). I also like to price things because I enjoy going on a wander and it means whoever I've left behind in charge knows what I want for items. That said, I don't price everything. I don't think there is a right or a wrong answer. I know that as a buyer I generally don't like to ask for prices of items I'm not totally convinced I'm interested in – seeing a price helps me to make a snap decision.
I'd love to give you a list of what sells well at car boot sales, but it changes week by week! We also find that different locations prefer different items. One local one is in an area with lots of factories and farms and this is where we will sell clothes (50p each), cosmetics (20p each) and a few odds and ends – the most we've made here was £50 last weekend. Whereas another one is a more affluent area and we can easily sell homewares, a £40 sewing machine and lots of books and today we brought home £120 (and 8p).
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