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How to have a successful car boot sale

Updated on February 12, 2013

Be Friendly

The first thing and obviously the most important thing to having a successful car boot sale is to be friendly and polite. No one is going to buy anything from someone who is grumpy and non communative.

When you go into a shop to buy something for yourself and the sales person is rude, are you going to be happy about forking out your well earned money to them, of course not. This mantra applies in reverse when you are selling your goods. With this in mind always be polite, even go as far as to building up a rapore with the person in front of you, if they don't buy the item they were looking at then there is a very high chance they will come back for it later.

Get up early to get a good spot.

For this part and speaking from my own previous experience you will have to be up good and early. A lot of car boot sales would start early in the morning and depending on the distance you need to travel, you could be getting up as early as 6am.

The best locations tend to be close to the entrance gate. If you have a good location then the more people will be passing by, as those people pass by they will look at your lot, ergo the more people that look the more sales you will get.

The worst thing you could do is come in late, end up about 40th in line to get a spot and have to park up beside the toilet block. I can almost guarantee your sales will be woeful for the day. Next to being friendly this is very important, if you are very late arriving you might as well right off the day.

Be prepared

Always be prepared.

  • Take plenty of plastic bags or recycled bags so you can put anything sold in them. You would be surprised by the amount of unhappy people are out there just because they didn't get a bag to put their goods in. Always remember a happy customer can lead to more sales, if they are happy with the sale chances are they will come back to you again.
  • Always make sure you have enough change, start the day with plenty of pound coins, fifty pence pieces and other smaller change, maybe even a five or ten pound note.
  • Have prices for everything you are selling, I would recommend having a small book and take a few minutes the day before going on your car boot sale to write down everything you have and what you hope to get for it. Be prepared to lower you price if you think it isn't going to sell but start with higher expectations, the customer will surely haggle so at least you will have a bit of lee way.
  • Don't take junk, this will put people off looking at your stall. Try and make sure all the items you are selling are in good condition and look the part.
  • Try and organise your stall so that it looks quite pleasant, don't bundle them all on top of each other. Try to organise it that similar items are together and never have stuff sitting on top of other items. If it can't be seen how do you expect to sell it?
  • Have some clinkers "as I would call them". Take something that you know is a good item but don't sell it for less than what you are prepared to take. A few clinkers on your stall can get more than one customer at your stall and if people see a crowd gathering around your stall they will be wondering why and come over themselves. If you are lucky it could lead to a bit of bidding against one another.

Be cautious

Be very cautious. Car boots sales are naturally a very friendly place to be, but there are people out there who will try to take advantage of that.

  • If someone comes over to you looking to get change of a twenty pound note, then that note is more than likely to be fake. Don't change it, just make up an excuse like " sorry I haven't enough".
  • keep an eye on your stall, pick pockets don't just put their hands in your pockets but they are also not afraid to open a car door and steal your takings. Always keep your money on you.
  • Fake charity collectors is another thing I have come across. Most charity collectors don't go to car boots sales but if you do come across one make sure they are the real thing before handing over any of your hard earned money.

Enjoy yourself

One of the things I find most enjoyable about doing a car boot sale is the general banter and friendliness of the people passing or stopping. Although your are primarily there to make a bit of money, you can also have a nice time.

Have a wee bit of craic with other car booters and the people passing by, it will make the day pass by very quick and you will find yourself wanting to come back again the next week.


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    • Anthony Binks profile image

      Anthony Binks 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Sort of.

      A car boot sale is were a group of people would take things they have for sale to a big car park or similar and sell them.

      Same as a grage sale only with more people selling than just the person who owns the house. (I think)

      Thanks for your comment.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      Forgive my ignorance, but I've never heard of a car boot sale. Is that the same thing as a garage sale (as we call them where I live)?

      I think I have the answer: I now see you have this Hub in the category of "garage sales".