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Car Boot Sales Advice For Newbies

Updated on January 31, 2012
With thanks to Vintage Vixen
With thanks to Vintage Vixen

Car boot sales are a weekly ritual for many. It takes a certain type of person to get up early on a Saturday or Sunday morning to head down to the local car boot, whether they're buying or selling.

  • So who goes to car boot sales?
  • Why are they so popular?
  • Where are the best car boot sales?
  • What tips and advice is out there for newbies?

So who goes to car boot sales?

Car boot sales have risen in popularity since the 1970s. They are traditionally held on weekend mornings during the warmer summer months, but some are held all year round. They are usually held in car parks, on community or recreation grounds, on agricultural land or at schools.

Pretty much anything can be sold at car boot sales including household goods, clothes, bric-a-brac, DVDs, games, toys and furniture. A charge for sellers is made per car or van starting at around £3.50 per car and going up to £35 per van. Some sites charge an entry fee for buyers as well.

Many different types of people go to car boot sales to buy goods. You have the regular bargain hunters who go for the joy of finding a good deal and view it as a bit of a hobby. Then you have the savvy professionals who can spot a good deal a mile off and know how to turn someone else's junk into a lot of cash.

Sellers vary from people who've had a clear-out of their house and loft and want to make some money from their old stuff, house clearances after probate, and students selling anything they can get their hands on!

So if you're planning to sell your hoard of collectibles you've found in the garage, what can you expect from your first car boot sale?

With thanks to
With thanks to

Do Your Research

Choose the right location. There are many car boot sale websites such as and which show you the car boot sales happening near you. They will usually provide you with details such as the entry fee, start time and whether there are refreshments and portable toilets on site. Find out what the site is like - is it fairly level? How muddy will it be if the weather has been bad? The sites will also give you the organiser's name and contact details and any additional information such as whether your own tables will be required.


As we all know, the great British weather can be very changeable, and sometimes car boot sales have to be cancelled due to bad weather. Check with the organiser the day before if the weather forecast is bad to see if it's still planned. Prepare for showers by taking big umbrellas, and make sure you take some suncream if it is a nice day. Take refreshments with you to keep you going.

Think about how you're going to display your goods:

  • Will you use a table/s to make it easier for people to see all your stuff laid out?
  • Will you need some tarpaulin so you can put bigger things on the floor?
  • Will you need rails for clothes?
  • How will you organise your items?

Take some carrier bags with you so that you can put the things people buy into them. Make sure you have lots of change to be able to give to people who pay with notes.

Pack your car the night before and arrive early.

With thanks to the Guardian
With thanks to the Guardian

Be Aware

It's not generally worth labelling all your items with prices as haggling is common and encouraged. Be aware of the value of your goods by doing a bit of research online before and don't take less than your valuable items are worth. On the other hand, don't price things too high so that you end up taking all your stuff home with you again at the end of the morning! It's worth starting with a slightly higher price and letting people haggle you down slightly. Above all, don't let yourself be intimated, even though it can all be a bit overwhelming. Remember that you're in control and you set the prices.


Smile, be friendly, be prepared to negotiate and throw things in for free, and above all, enjoy yourself!

Have You Ever Been to a Car Boot Sale?

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