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How To Get The Most Profit From A Car Boot Sale Or Swap Meet

Updated on September 27, 2015

How To Get The Most Money Possible

A lot of my friends know how I make an extra income. I get a lot asked “what is the best way to make as much money as possible?” The answer I give is always the same, "do a car boot sale." You can make a good amount of money in just a few short hours by just turning up on the day and throwing your stock onto a table. However if you take time to plan before you go you can make so much more I’ve written this guide to help you plan ahead and make sure you make the most money possible on the day.

Planning For Your Car Boot Sale.

There is a well-known saying, "if your failing to plan your planning to fail" and preparing for a car boot sale or swap meet is no exception. A bit of planning before hand will make all the difference. It will also give you the best possible chance to make sure your sale goes without a problem and you make as much money as possible.

Before you start to consider what you are going to sell you need a few things to make the boot sale day go really well.
Ideally two strong pasting tables, make sure they're in good order and won't collapse when you put stuff on them.
Table covers. A pair of curtains or blankets make perfect covers to spread on the bare tabletops. While these are not necessary, when you put your items on them it will make your display look a lot more appealing to the buyers
Waterproof covers big enough to cover the tables & stock and still have some over hang. This is just in case the weather turns against you, you want to sell your stock not get it ruined. The blue tarpaulins, which are very light are the best but you can also use a polythene decorator’s drop sheet or anything as long as its waterproof. I've even seen some people use bin bags by just splitting them open. It seemed to work but it’s not ideal.
Change to act as a float; £25-£35 in complete change from five-pound notes down over will be fine. Don’t bother with Five pence’s, two’s or one’s just round your prices up to the nearest 50p
Some food and drink. I personally don't buy the fast food at car boot sales, it’s usually over priced and doesn’t taste that good.
To make the boot sale more comfortable you can take a couple of folding chairs. I just sit in the passenger seat of the car, but if you have room, take them.
Some spare, warm, waterproof clothing, the weather can change really quickly and being cold for up to five hours isn't everyone's idea of a fun experience

Some Fantastic Tips On Setting Up A Car Boot Sale

Car Boot Sale Planning:- What To Sell

I use car boot sales to buy stock from to then resell on eBay or Amazon. Each week I see people who turn up at a boot sale, put up a pasting table, throw the stuff on it from the rear of the car and that's it. The great thing for people like me is we love sellers that haven't made any sort of plan. I can buy stock as low £2.00 and then sell at £20-£30 on eBay or Amazon.

Planning a car boot sale, swap meet or yard sale does take a little effort but its really simple and will be paid back many times over if you do it right.

The first to do. Go round every room in your home and out buildings and get everything together you don’t want or use any more. How ruthless you want to be is down to you. Personally, I don’t possess anything that I don’t use on a regular basis. If I don’t use something in say three calendar months; I can probably live without it.

Once you’ve got everything together you need to think about what everything is worth. Use eBay sold listing function and complete a search for each item to find its value. DO NOT USE the value of the current listings. All this tells you is what people are asking for the items not what they’ve managed to sell them for. The recently sold function will give you a run down of what each item has sold for. Just so your aware how much money you could be loosing if you miss this step. These are just a few of the items I’ve recently purchased from car boot sales and what I’ve managed to sell them for on eBay.

Formula one car racing board game from 1966: - 50p Sold £22.99
Harry Potter Cluedo: - £2.50 Sold 24.99
Simpson’s Monopoly: - £1.50 Sold £14.99
10 ELC Happyland figures: - £2.00 Sold £12.99
Large Print Scrabble: - £3.00 Sold Within 2 hours £24.99
1977 Invicta Deluxe Mastermind: - £1.00 Sold £12.49

Once you’ve done this step you have a couple of options. You can either sell the more worthwhile items on eBay or Amazon and take the rest to the boot sale or just take everything. However if you go for the second option be aware that you may need to take a bit less than the eBay prices. But at least you know what they’re worth and can decide what price you want to take. If they don’t make what you want put them on eBay or Amazon yourself.

The next step is to have a dry run in your back yard. Lay everything out as if your at the boot sale. This will tell you how to set the tables up, how to best display your stock but most importantly it will decide whether you need to do more than one boot sale or even if you have enough stock to do one. You need to be really honest with yourself here. Again I see a lot of people turn up with just a few items on a table without any way of even making back the pitch fee and petrol money let alone making a decent amount of money for what is quite hard work.

If you haven't got enough stock to sell go back through your home I guarantee you've missed some things that you won't or don't use. Ask your friends, neighbour's or relatives for stock to sell.They will usually jump at the chance to clear out some clutter and can end up giving you armfuls of high quality, very saleable stock.

What sells really well at boot sales? The list is endless children's clothes, toys, tools, shoes, old mobile phones, small electrical appliances, video games, DVD's, none fiction books cameras computer hardware, car parts. You can take anything you no longer use that's in a half decent salable condition. There is a few don't sell items but these are usually illegal stuff that you shouldn't be selling anyway, so a bit of common sense should steer clear of this stuff. However there are items that don't do too well. These are wine glasses unless complete sets, VHS videos unless collectible, small electrical appliances that look like you shouldn't turn on even if you were stood on a thick rubber mat, souvenirs from the 1991 holiday in Blackpool or any where else for that matter, cups and saucers, anything broken unless it can be easily repaired, board games or jigsaws with bits missing, fiction paperback books, fifty shades of grey springs to mind I've seen endless copies of this book & clothes that are well past their throw out date. Make sure everything you intend to sell is clean.

There are two schools of thought about pricing. Some people write the prices on the items with labels. Others decide not to and play it by ear. I generally don't write out prices but I do know the prices of all my items for sale that way as the boot sale starts to wind down I can lower them. As the boot Sale starts I cask for fairly high prices as it will be usually dealers that want to buy your stuff and sell it on eBay, amazon or their own stall so I generally make them, work for it. As a starting point you want to be charging three times what you want. So if you want a pound ask for three then drop the price as the boot sale progresses and its members general public that turn up to buy

Great Tips On How To Buy From Car Boots To Resell On Ebay & Amazon

Car Boot Sales The Boot Sale Day Arrives!

Once you’ve been through everything know what prices you want and had your dry run make sure everything is secure in strong cardboard boxes. You can also do a dry run of loading the car. Again this can be invaluable when it comes to the actual day especially if you find you can’t fit everything you want to take.

The evening before your car boot sale load everything into the car. Make sure the tables and the covers go in last as these are going to be first out. If you have children arrange for someone to have them. Boot sales are stressful enough without throwing kids into the mix.

On the morning of the car boot get up and get there nice and early. You will usually be placed by one of the stewards. Put out the tables and covers this will make sure the sellers left and right of you don’t encroach on your pitch. You will have a load of people around your car a trying to be the first to get to your stuff and they’ll all be asking you a hundred questions. This part is really important DON’T STRESS ABOUT IT. Stay calm and answer the questions one at a time.

You now have a couple of options. You can start unloading your car a box at a time. Do this very slowly and very deliberately one box at a time. One person unloads the car the other person does the selling and takes the money.

The vast majority of people around your car are traders and they will be trying to throw you so you make a mistake and sell your items too cheaply some may even try and go into the back of your car. Stand your ground tell them not do that. Call one of the stewards if it gets a bit much.

The other and the option I use is, take the tables and covers out to mark the pitch. Lock the boot, get back into the car and have 10 to 15mins while other sellers turn up and the crowd moves to them. I then go back to unloading and again if it all get a bit too much lock the car and stop unloading. Make sure you unload at your pace not theirs, its your stuff so you stay in control. Remember early on, good high prices you can haggle a little and you will need be prepared to move a bit on the price but stick to your guns and don’t accept stupid offers.

The general public will usually start to turn up from 08.30 on. About 09.30 start to think about your prices and how much to move down ward. But slowly, be prepared to move some more on what your willing to accept just continue moving the prices down right up to the end of the sale.

Stay right up to the very end. What you don't sell at the end of the car boot sale you have a few options. Give it to charity, take it home and add it to stock to do another boot sale you can try and sell it as a job lot to one of the dealers even if you get a couple of quid for it its better than nothing. Don't leave rubbish at the car boot take everything home with you.

Car boot sales, Swap Meets, Yard Sales what ever you call them are very hard work and I promise you'll be very tired when you've done a day of this. However you can earn some serious money in a very short space of time. At the end of the boot sale you should always have yourself a bit of a reward. On the way home my son and I always end up at Starbucks or a Costa and have a Latte each. It’s become a bit of a routine for us that we both really enjoy. Car boot sales give some really quality time together, he learns about hard work and he gets a few quid for helping me he sees it as win win. Happy Boot selling!


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