It’s car boot season – hurrah! It’s my favourite time of the year as both a buyer and a seller too.
If you’re looking to declutter and make some quick cash, a car boot is definitely worth doing.
Every time we’ve done one we’ve made at least £100 *touch wood* – not too bad for a few hours work on a Sunday!
Here are a few of my top tips to help you get prepared for your next car boot.
1. Check it’s on & book in advance if you can
There is nothing more disappointing than being rained off a car boot or getting there with all your stuff and realising it’s been cancelled!
Most car boots have their own sites or Facebook groups so just google your local one.
Our local car boot lets us call up and book a spot in advance.
It’s in a multi-story car park so it’s good to get a place on the ground floor.
People might leave before they get to your floor if you’re any higher.
Unfortunately, car boots aren’t what they used to be.
You get a lot of market-style traders hogging the top spaces so make sure you swipe a good pitch too as a genuine car booter!
2. Get there early
Regardless of whether you can book in advance or not, you should always turn up early to get the best place and be prepared.
I know it’s painful getting up at 5/6am on a Sunday morning but think of the money!
3. Clean & organise your items
If you want to get the most for your items, you can’t just plonk them on the table looking all tatty and expect someone to pay top price.
Dust off and wipe down your ornaments and nick nacks before you get there and take the time to find any original boxes, instructions, and packaging for your items.
I also like to box up items together so books, DVDs, etc. and hang up clothes on hangers in advance to make it easier to unpack the car.
Which brings me to my next point…
4. Pack your car wisely
No matter how early you get there, buyers will have beaten you there and you’ll have them crowding around your car like vultures shouting and asking what you’ve got.
It can be really daunting with them pulling items out of your car and asking you a million questions!
So it really helps to be organised here.
Pack up your car so it’s nice and easy for you to take everything out in order and unpack.
We always make sure we have easy access to our table and any rails to take out first.
Then we unpack in sections so George will take out any bigger and heavy items to display and attract buyers, while I’ll focus on hanging up the clothes and other bits and bobs.
If it gets too much, you can always stagger your ‘stock’ so unpack more at certain times, but people do tend to look in your boot and you might miss out on potential buyers, but it all depends what you’re comfortable with.
5. Remember your essentials
It’s good to have your items all ready to go, but it’s good to get your essentials.
Imagine how annoying it is to go to all that effort and get to the car boot and realise you’ve forgotten something?
I once showed up without a clothes rail.
It was so painful!
This meant I had to leave my clothes folded in a box.
While some people like to rummage, I didn’t sell a fraction of what I would have if they were hung up nicely on a clothes rail.
I also felt like I couldn’t charge as much because they were just sat there in a box.
Here are some of the things we always make sure we have ready for a car boot:
- A clothes rail (if you’re selling clothes)
- A pasting board
- Change and pitch fee money
- A picnic blanket (to lay stuff out on the floor)
- Somewhere to keep your cash
- Plastic bags – try to bring a range of sizes depending on what you’re selling
- A flask of tea – because the van is SO expensive and they never make it as nice!
- Paper and pens – to make any reduction signs later in the morning or if we’ve forgotten to label anything
- Baby wipes – just in case I’ve missed a spot of dust or dirt on an item
And anything else you feel necessary.
6. Bring some change to the car boot sale
I know this is classed as an essential but I wanted to make an extra point of it.
No matter how prepared you think you are, you’ll always get some annoying person who haggles an item down to 50p then pulls out a £20 note.
You can always refuse them or ask them to come back later, but it helps to have a bit of change.
We try and make sure we’ve got at least £20 in change on top of any pitch fees.
7. Group similar items together
As I said before, people love a good rummage through your items.
With anything like books or toys, etc. I always pop them in a box and label them everything £1 or 50p and people are drawn to it like moths to a flame!
It’s good to separate your stall into sections based on products too, as I find it encourages people to buy more.
This works really well with DVDs and games.
People tend to pick up more than one if they’re all displayed together.
8. Keep an eye on your car boot stall
You will get chancers that hang around with the intent of pinching stuff some stalls.
Just make sure you’ve always got an eye on what everyone is picking up and putting down.
It can be a bit stressful when the main flock of people come in at official opening times, which is why I find it helps to have more than one person.
Also, check your change. The amount of people that try and flog foreign coins or pass off old pound coins is ridiculous!
If you are leaving valuables in your car, make sure you lock it up before you start selling so you don’t forget.
9. Label more expensive items
Labelling your more valuable items is a good thing to do because although you’ll have people haggling, it kind of sends a message that these are non-negotiable or that they won’t get much of a discount.
It’s worked very well for us in the past but just make sure you’re realistic with your pricing.
After all, you want it to sell to declutter!
10. Showcase your best items at your car boot
If you’ve got stuff in their original boxes, it’s good to take them out at the start and rest them on top or in front of the box to attract more people.
We learned this very quickly when we had a coffee machine for sale that people kept asking to see, so we just left it out in the end and we got a really good price for it.
Nearly everyone who came over to look at that item then went on to buy something else from our stall so it’s a great tactic.
It’s also good to have these items higher up if possible, so on top of a box or in the centre of your table on a little stand.
11. Have your absolute best price in mind
You will get people haggling with you, so it’s good to set your absolute lowest price for each item.
Especially towards the end, you will get chancers!
There was once a woman who was haggling with me over a scarf. I offered it for 50p and she was trying to hand me 5p!
On principle, I said no and threw it in the back of the boot and later donated it to a charity shop, which sounds petty but I’d rather do that and you’ll know your own limits too.
12. Have fun!
Get chatting to people and turn on the charm to make the most sales and have fun!
It’s good to take someone with you who you can have a laugh with, especially when it gets quiet.
You are doing it on the weekend in your own time so if you’re not having fun, what’s the point??
Final thoughts on selling at a car boot
It sounds like a big task decluttering and heading out early on a Sunday with all your stuff packed in the car, but it’s so worth it.
Especially during the Summer months when you get loads of people at car boots!
Don’t forget to donate or tip anything on your way home so the clutter doesn’t make its way back into your home…
I hope you have a great car boot!
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