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This guide to selling at car boot sales should be valuable to anybody but of particular value to anyone doing a car boot sale for the first time.
Finding a car boot that suits you
Firstly, it's important to find a good car boot sale.
Your local newspapers along with internet searches should list most of your local car boot sales but better still are personal recommendations.
Most car boot sales offer a similar service, namely a pitch area where you can place your goods on offer to the public. In return for the pitch area you will usually pay a fee which can range from £5 - £50 and often depends on the event operators and the size of pitch required.
Sundays have long been established as the 'Car Boot Day' but Saturdays are also becoming popular and some car boot sales are even held in the middle of the week. The Rusper Car Boot is a Sunday afternoon event and goes down very well with folk that like a Sunday morning lay-in!
Almost all car boot sales have their own unique set of rules and times. Once you pick an event that suits you, make sure you are familiar with these. Organisers can be shirty if you break their rules and getting the times wrong can be disasterous.
Things can change and events can be cancelled so make sure you have the latest up to date information about the boot sale. A two year old advert on the internet might leave you parked up in an empty field with a car full of stuff to sell!
If you get the chance then visit your local car boot sales first as a buyer. Have a chat with the sellers there and get a feel for the place. This will help you decide if it's the right car boot sale for the type of stuff you will be selling.
O.k, now you've decided on which car boot sale to sell at, here's some great tips on making it an enjoyable and hopefully profitable day!
Bring a Friend along to the Car Boot Sale.
If possible arrange for a friend or family member to help you out at the car boot sale. It makes life so much easier when your stall is busy or you need to nip to the loo or get a cup of tea. You could both sell stuff and split the cost of the pitch!
Packing and Pricing Car Boot Sale Items.
When you pack your items for the car boot sale give each item a physical or mental price tag. Some people like to put price tags on their items other prefer not too. Both have their merits, personally I prefer not to use price tags as I find this provokes buyers to engage in conversation by asking the price.
If you think you have a valuable antique or item, get it evaluated by a professional, don't just guess at the price!
Click here to get advice on how to value your item.
Pack valuable items carefully and seperatley if possible.
Make sure they get to the car boot sale safely!
Be prepared for a rush.
Be prepared for a rush. If you appear to have interesting items both buyers and stall holders will flock to you the moment you park up. Whilst things are dignified at the Rusper Sussex Car Boot Sale (sellers are seperated from buyers until 11.30am) at other car boot sales I have witnessed sellers cars being mobbed while they are still driving to their pitch! And worse still, the very true account of a lady dealer who locked herself inside a sellers car so she could go through the boxes!
Our Advice : The very best thing to do if this happens is park up, lock up and go and get a cup of tea! The buyers will soon disperse or and you can return and set up your stall in relative peace.
Dealing with Dealers.
There are always dealers at car boot sales. They are generally looking for Jewellary, antiques, toys, electricals, etc. So when you start setting up your stall expect to be bombarded by these dealers asking if you have any of these items. Sadly some people take advantage when your stall is mobbed and in the confussion things can be stolen.
If you do have anything the dealers want thats good news but don't go out of your way to start digging them out, you can quickly loose track of what's going on and often undersell an item in the confussion.
Our Advice : Tell any dealers to come back later and deliberatley leave those or valuable items to be unpacked last. It's best to deal with dealers when you are comfortable and in control of your stall.
Haggling at a Car Boot Sale.
Be prepared for the hagglers. Haggling is common place all around the world and car boot sales are no exception. Haggling can range from sensible offers to insulting ones. Haggling can also be fun and allows banter between buyers and sellers. Over the years I have built up quite a repertoire of rebuffs to the hagglers. Though from the outset I always expect to be haggled.
Haggling is an art-form in many parts of the world and what we may condsider to be outright rude and unacceptable behaviour is just common place banter and a daily way of doing business in some cultures.
With the ever growing level of immigration into Britain we are seeing more and more people from cultures where hard haggling is a part of life.
This form of aggressive haggling can feel like bullying and it can make some people feel very uncomfortable or even threatened. In almost all cases this is just a clash of cultures and no real offence is intended.
Haggling or Harrassment?
Quite frankly, it's not straight-forward! Even hardened car boot sellers can get annoyed by over-enthusiastic hagglers. Afterall, most people just want to sell their items at a fair price without getting involved in long heated arguements.
In my experience their are two types of 'hard' hagglers.
Both types start with insulting low offers. The first group can be hard work but are generally just haggling, looking to push you into giving them a bargain. If you stick with it they will try to move towards a price they are actually willing to pay.
The second group are the worst. They'll offer the 50p and no matter what you do they'll keep badgering you with the same offer. They may return to your stall time and again repeating the offer. In my opinion this is not haggling, it's harrassment. This type of behaviour can really spoil a sellers day.
There is a fine but definate line between haggling and harrassment.
If you ever feel that that line has been crossed and are being made to feel uncomfortable or threatened then call a car boot marshal over.
What to Do: Don't get upset about hagglers just add about 25% to the price of what you expect for an item, that way a buyer will feel that they have got a bargain once they have haggled you down.
Create a Shop Window at the Car Boot
Treat your stall like a shop window! You should try to reposition your items several times during the course of the day. This will create a diferent looking selection and buyers may well notice items they did not see before as they walk around for a second or even third time!
If you have a mix of items, such as toys, books, bric-a-brac etc, then try to keep toys in one place, books in another and bric-a-brac together.
If you have boxes of inexpensive odds n' ends then place these on the floor at the edges of your stall. We have found that this is the best place for them as placing them directly under your stall can cause a problem by creating a barrier of bent-down buyers rumaging through them and blocking access to the goods on your stall.
If you have time walk around to the front of your stall and see if it looks appealing to you, if it doesn't then play around with how your items are displayed!
Things to remember:
A comfortble chair(s) for quiet moments
Carrier bags & wrapping material for your sold items.
A flask of tea and sandwiches or a snack
An umbrella is a must, they are great for protection from drizzle or even blazing sunshine.
A plastic sheet is useful for covering your items if it starts to rain.
A bum-bag for your takings. Try to bring along as much small change as possible, you'll be amazed how quickly you run out.
Your Pitch Fee (Many events ask that you pay your fee upon entering.)
A pen & paper if you need to give a receipt
It's true! A happy smiley face will attract buyers to your stall.
Give honest apprasials of the items you are selling. Buyers will be a lot more confident about handing you cash if you take a moment to chat to them about the goods.
BE A SMART SELLER
KEEPING VALUABLES SAFE
I would recommend using a snug fitting money belt for your takings.
If you use a cash tin then keep it in your vehicle and not on the stall! Keeping your takings in your pockets can become confusing and awkward when giving back change.
Always LOCK any vehicle doors that do dont need to be open. Check they are locked from time to time. It is not unknown for thiefs to snatch things from cars.
Keep handbags and other valuables inside your vehicle and well out of site.
Do not bring any unnecessary valuables to a car boot sale.
CAR BOOT SCAMS
Sadly there are scammers at car boot sales who prey on both Sellers and Buyers. We have created a guide to the most common scams at car boots sales and how to avoid being a victim of a scammer.
We advise everyone who's thinking of selling at a car boot sale to make themselves familiar with the legal and safety issues of selling goods at car boot sales.
Flat Battery -It happens!
A number of modern vehicles are kind enough to keep an interior light on if a door or the boot is open and this can often result in a flat battery. It is worth checking that all your lights, interior and exterior, are off while you are at a car boot sale.
Here's a great website with even more tips!