Top tips for selling at a car boot sale

We're almost at the end of our really tight month of cash and I'm hoping that next month will be a bit easier but before payday coming on Thursday we encountered the Easter weekend and it was really tough to not overspend.

Knowing we wanted to do some fun bits, but having little money to spend, we decided to do a car boot sale. At the beginning of the month I went to a baby and children's nearly new sale and I had everything packed nicely and good to go again already so it was very little effort to pack the car and get going.

I mainly sold some of the kids old bits, some toys, a baby bouncer chair and loads of books. The books sold much better than I expected when a lovely guy came and bought all my Terry Pratchett's in one go. I know he got a good deal from me, but I didn't mind. I like selling to people who share the same interests as me and we chatted for a bit which was nice.

It was by far the nicest day of the weekend and the location of Big Ben's Car Boot in West Wycombe was lovely. There seemed to be a good range of stalls and it was quite busy at points. It cost £10 for our pitch and we went home with £35 in our pockets after spending out a bit on ice creams, drinks and some plants for the garden.


So, if you're looking to get rid of some household clutter and hopefully make some cash, here are my top tips for successful selling at a car boot sale.

1. Find a good one!
There isn't much point going to all the effort of prepping for a sale if the organisers don't do their bit to get buyers through the door. Go by recommendations, check out options online and be prepared to travel a bit further if you need to. Check the weather forecast before you leave, there's no point going if the weather is awful.

2. Bring a friend
Unlike the Nearly New Sale I did the other week, you can't really do a boot sale on your own. It always helps to have an extra pair of eyes watching for unsavoury behaviour (let's not be naive, some people do steal things if you're not watchful). If nothing else, a friend can be someone to chat to when it gets quiet and cover you when you need the loo!

3. Don't be intimidated by dealers
There's always a couple of people hanging around as soon as you pull up. They swamp you asking if you're selling electronics/jewellery/toys/perfume... They can be a tad scary but don't let them intimidate you. The best advice I received was to just get out of the car, lock up and go grab a cup of tea. They'll move on and come back later.

4. Bring plenty of change (and carrier bags)
You will need loads of change and you don't want to be caught short when someone decides to pay for a 50p book with a £10 note... It's harder with plastic bags now that shops charge, but try and collect them for a couple of weeks ahead if you don't have enough stored under your sink already.

5. Be wary
Like I said before, don't be naive and assume that everyone there is a lovely potential customer. If you're watchful and careful when it comes to locking up your car and cash, then you should be fine.

6. Have fun haggling!
I love haggling but can be put off by some people if they're very aggressive. I usually price my items a tiny bit above what I'd like for them so I have room to negotiate. If you don't want to sell at the offered price then don't - but weigh up the money you want to make against packing it all up and taking it home again.

7. Grab a seat (and drinks)
You're likely to be there for a few hours and after the first rush you may not want to be on your feet the whole time so it's a good idea to take a folding chair. I didn't and wish I did! It's also a good idea to take drinks with you as it can be pricey to buy them there.


8. Be organised
After the last sale I already had everything packed and labelled by size. There is some debate as to whether you should price your items beforehand - I did, but only because most bits had already been priced for the last sale. Customers are more likely to haggle at boot sales than they are at nearly new sales and so as a rule, you don't need to label all your goods as long as you remember what you want for them. When you pack the car, make sure you pack the table last as it's the first thing you'll need at the other end!

9. Don't spend your profits
It's easily done. We made over £40 in profit but did end up spending out on ice creams and then some plants for the garden.

10. Don't be disheartened
After the first rush it can get really quiet and you may be tempted to start packing up early but don't - people will still trickle past and you can still make some good sales. Everything you sell is something you don't have to take home with you, and every penny profit is better than a kick in the teeth. At one bootsale, selling mostly junk Matt and I once made £70, I've heard some people that make tons more and at other times have sold less. It just depends on the day. Don't feel sad if you don't make a fortune, there's always more opportunities at another time.

Have you had fun selling at a bootsale before? Do you have any tips or advice? Share them with me in the comments.


A Cornish Mum   Monkey and Mouse

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