9 Car Boot Sale Tips

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9 Car Boot Sale Tips

Here are nine top tips to help you plan your first stall at a car boot sale. There are a few things to bear in mind:

Plan Ahead

You need to ascertain out where your nearest car boot is located and what day of the week it is on.. You can usually find this information in your local paper or on a car boot sale directory such as Your Booty.. Once you have found your nearest sale, make sure you phone the organisers to confirm it is on at the weekend, as many only run for so many weeks in the year..

I have lost count of the amount of times people have been left disappointed when they tell me they reached their local car boot sale only to find that it closed for the season 2 months previously.


Consider the following points before you set off for your first car boot sale;
  • Make sure you pack your pasting table last to make it as quick and easy as possible to get your stall set up when you unload your car.
  • I have yet to experience good quality, value for money food at a car boot sale. A family could easily burn through £10-15 buying food so save yourself a few £'s by taking your breakfast with you.
  • Wear warm clothes. Even in the peak of summer, it can be pretty cold when you're setting up at 6am. Standing still also makes you feel the cold considerably more so several layers are advisable, though you'll soon warm up.
  • Take lots of carrier bags, in multiple sizes if possible. Buyers will really appreciate this.

Get up Early!

It is a good idea to get to your chosen car boot early, especially if it's a particularly large sale. You'll get a better pitch nearer the entrance of the sale, where customer footfall is at its highest.

I recommend that you phone the organisers to confirm when sellers start arriving as advertised items are usually inaccurate I have no idea why!

To price or not to price?

It can be difficult deciding whether or not to price your goods. On the one hand, pricing goods can help to get sales from casual buyers who do not like to ask you for a price. On the other hand, if you want to reduce your prices later in the today as you become more desperate (!), then you will need to reprice your items or remove any price labels.

Consider Supply and Demand

It is a great idea to do a little bit of research about what you intend to sell before you load up your car. Some items sell considerably better than others, and you don't want to clutter up your stall with items which have little chance of selling. For example, if you intend to take a large number of books or old video tapes, then you might struggle to make much more than the pitch will cost you!

Haggling - A necessary evil?

Haggling at car boot sales is a British tradition, and it is something alot of us are very good at! In your defence you might want to inflate your prices slightly so that when you drop your prices you are still near the original price you had in mind.

Research before hand If you want to get fair prices for your items, then it is essential that you have a basic idea of how much that actual item is worth. In this respect, eBay is a great reference as you can view both active and completed listings to see how much similar items are selling for.

One word of warning though you won't get anything like an items true value at a car boot! If, for example, you had a mobile phone that would sell for £50 on eBay then you are going to struggle to get anything more than £20 for it at a car boot sale.

You should also make sure you don't say anything like 'It sells for £50 on eBay so I want £45 for it' as this infuriates buyers. They don't get up early to be told about eBay and they will usually tell you to go and list it on eBay instead!

Dealing with the Dealers

Also referred to as 'boot divers' and 'vultures' dealers go to car boot sales to buy stock for their own stall, shop, or for their online business. They want to resell your items for a profit which means they want to pay as little as possible for them, as any sensible business person would try and do.

Dealers are renowned for crowding round new sellers stalls, asking them if they have any 'Jewellery love' or 'Mobile Phones'. If you want to avoid these people, then simply lock your car and go and have a look around the other stalls for 10-15 minutes. When you return, the crowd will have passed and you will be able to setup in relative peace.

One note on traders though. They are a ready source of funds and are often prepared to buy a large number of items from you.. Without traders, there would certainly be less stress, but you would probably make considerably less from your pitch..

Take a float

Ensure that you find the time to go the bank to get some coins and bank notes before you sell at the weekend. Whilst it is a little irritating for a buyer to pay for a £1 item with a £20 note, you want to make selling your items as easy as possible.

Be Approachable

Make sure that you are warm and friendly with browsers, without making them feel uncomfortable. And whilst the enthusiastic salesman should be commended for his efforts, trying to sell people items that they don't want doesn't do much good and tends to make people rush away from your stall!!


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