How to Get More Customers to Your Yard Sale
The Driveby Shopper
I think almost all bargain hunters have experienced looking at a sale from the street and deciding not to stop. It gets to be about 10 AM or so. Things are cooling down, you're not finding as much good stuff. You see a yard sale, and you think to yourself, is it worth it? Should I get out of the car at this one? I don't see anything I want from the road. I'm not stopping.
The person on the other side of that has to be thinking, why didn't they stop? They slowed down. They looked at my stuff. And then then kept going. Why is that? What did I do wrong?
Well, you didn't do anything wrong, but there are things you can do that will make people more likely to stop. Let me give you a run down of why people choose not to stop at certain sales, and what you can do to make them want to come on over.
Have a bigger sale
Sometimes as I'm out driving around, I'll see a sale that has a single card table out with a few nick knacks on it, a single piece of furniture, and a vacuum cleaner. That can't be worth that person's time, I think to myself, and I drive on.
If you don't have much stuff to sell, but you still want to sell it and get rid of a few things, here's a way to make that work: Invite other people you know to join in on your sale. Invite your friend, your sister, your coworker, your neighbor, someone you know and trust. When you set up together, you have more stuff. Then you can rest assured that people will see lots of things from the road and stop, and maybe pay more attention to your items.
Make sure people can tell what all you have from the road
People out looking for bargains are generally looking for something specific. The items you can see from the road are like advertisements for your sale. If people see lots of items that indicate, for example, that you are selling items your baby has outgrown, people who need baby items will be more likely to stop.
Similarly, items you own that are counter to the shopper's interests will encourage them to drive on. I know a man who does not stop if he sees a swing set in the yard, because he takes it as a sign the home owners are not old enough to have any antiques for sale. If you've got something big that breaks up the theme of your yard sale and proves him wrong, like for example a milk can, put it right at the front, so people like him will get out of their car and take a look.
How is your driveway?
People don't like to walk up and down steep inclines. If your house is on top of a steep hill, consider moving your sale out of the garage and into the grass closer to the road. Same goes for long driveways. People start getting tired from going to other sales, and they may get discouraged by a long driveway. Some people who go to yard sales are disabled, and it can be challenging for them to do much more than look from the road. I've seen a woman call out what she wanted from inside her car, because she knew she might have trouble walking from her car to the sale. If your yard and driveway are particularly difficult, consider moving your yard sale to another location, like a friend's house.
How is the street traffic?
If there are a lot of cars in the neighborhood due to a neighborhood sale, people may be getting frustrated with the traffic. At the height of the sale, it may get hard to do much more than try to safely exit the neighborhood.
Have fewer sales
If you have more than two sales a summer, most of the people who drive by and don't stop are people who remember your other two sales. If I notice the same house having lots of sales, I eventually learn not to stop there, because I assume the merchandise is picked over and I've seen it before. That may not be a problem if you get enough new customers, but it is a consideration. For best results, spread your yard sales out enough that people forget about the last one they went to at your house, and only have a sale when you have much more stuff picked out to replace what sold last time.