5 ways to maximise your earnings at a car boot sale

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Car boot sales are a great way to flog all manner of goods, all at one time and in one place. Here are some tips on how you can shift your items and go home with more money in your pocket

Are you looking to make some extra cash this summer? Your local car boot sale could provide the payday you’re looking for, with plenty of punters looking for something to wheel and deal. And with the cost of living crisis continuing to bite, people are keener than ever to buy second-hand. Here’s what to know before setting up your stall.

Do your research beforehand

Car boot sales differ in terms of pitch price, start time and frequency, so check and compare options to find the most suitable for you, particularly if you have a disability or require additional assistance. Many operators have a website with comprehensive information and a contact number for additional questions. Check the following: do you need to register online in advance or just turn up? Do they take cash and/or cards? Are dogs allowed? Many boot sales are held at schools and typically, only assistance dogs are allowed.

Start your preparation early

Car boot sales can be busy and fast-moving, so preparation and planning are a game changer. The night before, pack your car efficiently, so similar items can be unpacked and displayed together at speed. Mike Traylen, a sales manager who attends car boot sales regularly, says getting there early is crucial to ensure the best possible spot.

“Position is important as the first stalls get the initial, enthusiastic punters and more traffic in general,” he says. “You may find that the first buyers are slightly more professional and will rummage through your stuff for items of worth. Don’t feel you need to sell cheaply to them, you have all morning so take your time. However, as the day goes on, consider reducing your prices or selling items in bulk.”

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Make it easy for punters

Bring pre-written price tags with you so people can clearly see how much your items are worth. “Know roughly what you want to charge, but be open to offers – that’s part of the fun and the draw for buyers,” says Victoria Robinson, who oversees the communication, social media and marketing at west London’s Chiswick Car Boot Sale. “Bring a cash float with the right amounts you need. If many items are 50p, make sure you have lots of 50ps for change, alongside other small denominations. Bring a lockable cash box and keep it with you.”

Don’t overcrowd your table

Displays at eye level attract buyers and make different height levels for the optimum arrangement. If you are selling clothes, bring a hanging rail and a large mirror for people to try things on. For jewellery, consider a small display tree with branches. Victoria adds that wicker baskets, large bowls or even flower pots can be great for loose, smaller items, while larger things can be placed on the ground (bring a mat or rug if you don’t want things lying directly on grass).

Have the right attitude

Car boots are vibrant community spaces and can be a lot of fun – even if everyone has been up since 2am and has travelled miles to get there. It’s a chance to meet new people as well as make money, so bring or buy a coffee, don’t shout at other sellers or buyers and come armed with a smile, as well as lots of small change.

Words by Kim Benjamin

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