Car boot sales are great fun; they can be large or small events such as home garage sales, church rummage sale or local fund raising events. Or it could be a regular carefully managed car boot event. At the large organised car boot sales you will typically find, in addition to local catering stalls three types of seller.
– Market traders selling mainly new items
– Boot Traders masquerading as Private sellers (The professional car boot seller)
– Private sellers. People selling their unwanted items.
Its the latter that car boot enthusiasts find most exciting and for whom the following observations are intended.
HINTS AND TIPS FOR THE BUYER
Firstly obtain a local paper to find out when and where you nearest car boot sales are and also check on the internet for local information or just ask at the local pub.
Make the effort to get to the sale VERY early if you want to find the best bargains
You will need a supply of small change and small notes, keep them readily accessible.
Keep your wits about you and keep your valuables out of reach and safe from any would be pick pockets.
Car boot sales can be very busy and it is easy to get distracted.
Depending on what you might be looking to buy take a good sized rucksack or other carry bag.
Dress for the occasion particularly in winter as you are exposed to the elements.
Put a flag or other on your car aerial to make it easy to find later.
Do not take your dog or small children unless you are going to the boot sale just for fun. You will need to move quickly and get around without lots of interruptions.
Do some forward planning and decide what you are looking for before you arrive. Try and focus on what you are looking for as it is very easy to get distracted by other items.
If you are buying with view to selling through other channels, make sure items you buy are not prohibited.
Only buy items at a price you can sell on to make a reasonable profit. You need to be objective about your buying otherwise you could be doing a lot of work for little or no return.
Your plan of attack. Its important to work out how you are going to cover all the stalls in a deliberate and methodical way.
Its always a good strategy to be polite with sellers and definitely let them unpack most of their items before trying to identify bargains!
Take a good look around as some of the more interesting or special items may be out of harms way.
Make sure when buying that items are in good order with no damage as there will be no going back. You typically buy as seen.
Its always a good idea to walk the car boot sale a second time as other sellers may arrived late or you may have missed something interesting on your first visit.
Be prepared to haggle but remember sellers deserve a decent price for good quality items.
Always be polite and smile when you ask the price – it might just get you a discount. Always request a discount if you are buying multiple items.
Do not get carried away in the excitement, consider carefully before parting with large amounts of money
If you are not sure, leave your telephone number with the seller and negotiate after the sale is over if the item is not sold. Sellers often reduce prices later in the day.
Always avoid impulse buys. Stay focused on your original plan.
Its a good idea not to take more money with you than you can afford to spend. Remember buying at car boot sales can become a little addictive!
Never leave expensive purchases with sellers for safe keeping – they may sell to someone else for a higher price.
HINTS AND TIPS FOR THE SELLER
Be sure to research and evaluate if you have any items to sell that may be of real value. You need to be confident of your pricing. Its always worth looking in your local papers or internet sales to get an indication of similar item prices.
You may need a folding table (pasting table) and be prepared for rain. Plastic sheets if required. Its great if someone else is with you as its much easier to serve and its more fun with two.
Be prepared, get everything ready the night before, check the weather forecast and pack the car. Arrive early.
Always check over your items for damage and clothing for money or other valuables.
You will need small change, small notes, pen and paper carrier bags, a chair and bin liners.
Unless you clear your items quickly you will need food and drink.
Selling at car boots is no place for children.
Consider carefully the location of your pitch and if possible choose a pitch away from any muddy areas or puddles.
Unfortunately items often go missing so be firm and vigilant.
Beware as a seller of people working together where one buyer will try to keep you busy and distract you while the partner in crime is unloading your stall.
Make sure you are not to close to your neighbouring pitch so as to allow people to move around easily. Always keep your car doors locked when you are serving, and your takings in a safe place.
Its a good idea to display your most salable items where they can be easily viewed and examined. Also arrange in themes if possible so there is logic to your stall.
Take a look at your stall from the buyers perspective. Is it in good shape and interesting to the buyer? Is there space to move around the pitch?
For a large pitch arrange a semi circle of stalls as its nice and inviting and gives buyers less chance for their attention to wander to the next stall! Spread your items out so people can see exactly what you are selling.
Be clear and precise on your asking price. Remember everyone wants to haggle.
Be polite and friendly with customers even if sometimes it is difficult.
Always remember your objective for being at the sale. To unload your unwanted items, at a reasonable price as quickly as possible. Charge accordingly!
Plan your selling tactics e.g. advertise ‘buy one get one free’ offers if it suits your purpose.
Stock a few sweets, cans of drinks, tissues and wet-wipes – they are great to offer at the front of the stall to attract mums with small children.
Be ready to offer to take care of heavy or bulky purchases while the buyer continues to walk around the sale. Be sure they make a note of what time you plan to leave.
Always take a reasonable deposit for any items you agree to deliver the buyers address. Take note of buyers telephone number.
Make time to have a walk around the boot sale yourself and grab any bargains you see to replace your stock and add to your profits.
Never knowingly sell or try to sell fake, dangerous or illegal goods.
Be sure to abide by the law regarding what you sell to kids. e.g. do not sell knives, lighter fuel etc to kids.
Always try to be impersonal about your favourite items.
When the sale has finished take all your unsold items home – charity shops are grateful for salable items but not rubbish! Recycle what is left.
Have fun and keep smiling.