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Car Boot Sales

(27 Posts)
Kia Tue 26-Mar-02 21:53:46

Anyone got any tips? Whats the best selling thing on your stall/markets? Just did my first one last weekend and just about broke even. Didn't exactly do the 'life laundry' clear out, but it has encouraged me to do better next time! My friend and I have decided perhaps a table each was a little ambitious,and will do one between two next time. Anyway, what's your experience and don't forget things to avoid!!

smokey Tue 26-Mar-02 21:57:36

I have done 3 boot fairs and my tip would be to find one where the tables are a distance away from each other. If they are too close or there are too many of them, people just stroll past and don't linger.

Rhiannon Wed 27-Mar-02 08:21:15

Go to an organised sale that's on every week so people know you'll be there. Get there early for a good pitch, share if you can then obviously it halves the cost. I did one last month with a friend, we both paid £3 and we both made about £45 each. Were really pleased. We sold kids clothes, toys, bric a brac all sorts really. Make sure things with batteries work, don't take anything thats dirty (take some baby wipes to wipe things over). Good Luck. R

tigermoth Wed 27-Mar-02 10:22:37

I used to buy lots of my stall stock from boot sales, so I was one of those pushy early bird dealers who clustered round sellers as soon as they opened the boot of the car. I have never sold at a boot sale, but are my tips:

As Rhiannon says, choose a well established boot sale. It doesn't have to be a weekly one (some of the best ones are only held a few times a year) but it should be big.

Obvious I know, but do not go if it is very cold or rainy. Customers will be thin on the ground and you will have a miserable time. Phone the met office weather call service the night before and just before you intend to leave in the morning. If a little rain only is forecast, be pessimistic and prepare for the worst, and bring waterproof sheeting, tarpaulin etc. There is no point in damaging your stock - it negates any profit you make.

Once you are there, it is likely regulars and dealers will pick you out at a newie. Lots of stalls are there week in week out. One-off stall-holders have the best bargains. Dealers will assume you just want to make a quick profit and sell everything in one go. Don't be surprised if they chat you up and ask if you're clearing your loft or emigrating etc etc. They are trying to find out how desperate you are to sell everything that day. So let it be known that you do boot sales elsewhere, and are in no hurry to sell.

If you see someone grab lots of items of the same sort - designer childrens clothes, old plates, second hand books etc - ask them if they collect this sort of stuff or if they sell it on. If they say 'yes' it's worth taking their phone number and contacting them the next time you have similar items to sell.

It's a good idea to limit haggling. It is very time consuming and if your attention is focussed for too long on one customer,you may miss making a better sale to another customer. On the other hand, people like to feel you are flexible, especially if they buy more than one item.
When I ran my stall, I used to have a notice that said, 'discount if you buy two or more items'. The discount was decided by me, and depended on the value of the items and how much I wanted to get rid of them. This really did encourage people to linger and buy more than one thing. What's more, I could stop hard haggling over a single item by saying they got a discount only if they bought two things. Lastly it's good to create a crowd at your stall. It attracts others.

For position, try and get a corner pitch. You get double the frontage. Don't be directed to a pitch that's too off the beaten track, though.

To make sure your pricing is right, one of you should take a wander round the boot fair and ask the price of similar items.

If a customer offers you a low-ish price for an item, you can always tell them to come back at the end of the morning, and talk to you then.

If someone asks you to reserve something, only do it for a fixed time.

If you are selling clothes, try and borrow a rail and hangers to display them. You get higher prices for them than if they are in a heap on the ground. Also, avoid cheap metal hangers otherwise you will be picking clothes off the ground all day.

Remember to take lots of change with you, because you can bet your bottom dollor that your first customers will hand you £20.00 notes.

Some of this may be a bit obvious, Kia, but I hope it helps!

Kia Wed 27-Mar-02 21:07:59

Blimey! I'm glad I looked at old posts because I thought this message had sunk like a stone! Thank you very very much everyone, I shall print this off now and give it to my lovely neighbour and say 'here is our charter'!!! Tigermoth, you sound like you don't do your stall anymore? Have you gone minimalist?!

I'm sorry I didn't see this, I've been doing my studying and must remember to take time out to gossip, it clears the brain. I've just been looking for a fax directory on the net and somehow come accross a site ( for people who are searching for parents/siblings etc who were adoptees and one message has just given me a huge lump in my throat, it began 'I was left in a box on the steps of a church..' I have resolved never to be upset with my lot in life ever again. Must go and hug the kids.

Tinker Tue 20-Aug-02 19:31:15

Oh, I did my first one on Sunday. After being promised temperatures on 90 degrees for Sunday, it promptly p***** down as soon as I'd got all me stuff out! After taking out cost of pitch, I made just about enough for a couple of botyles of local vin rouge for my holidays next week! Oh well, will know better next time.

tigermoth Wed 21-Aug-02 10:30:54

Ahh tinker, it will be wine hard earned so it will taste that little bit special as you sit back and remember the rain of last weekend.

Frieda Fri 09-May-03 10:22:34

Thinking of doing my first boot sale on Sunday – lots of ds's old toys to get rid of – and would appreciate any advice.

1. How much should I ask for puzzles (all complete and mostly in vg condition)?

2. Ditto kids books – paperback, board and hardback (mostly for under 3s)?

Entrance fee is £10 – have quite a lot of stuff, but do you think it's going to be worth my while getting up at 6? Have to do it on my own, btw, as I dont want to bring ds along as he won't want to see any of his old stuff being sold off, even though he hasn't played with it for ages.

GillW Fri 09-May-03 10:43:14

Puzzles probably 50p. Books I don't usually pay more than about 30p for - you might get a bit more for popular subjects like Thomas the Tank Engine, etc.

If you're going early beware of people mobbing you before you have a chance to set up - unfortunately it's not unknown if you're on your own and trying to unload for people to help themselves to stuff and not pay when you're overwhelmed. Is there any chance you could get someone to come along with you just for long enough to watch over things while you set up?

It will probably be a little easier if you're taking a table if you could put that on a roof rack so you can set it up and keep your car locked while you're doing it. And put all the things you're selling into cardboard boxes to take them - then you can get the boxes out and unpack them facing the front of the stall without having to turn your back - that's when you lose things in the first rush.

Other things - gather all your loose change until the day you do it - you'll still run out, but probably not as soon. And take any spare carriers with you - a lot of people won't come equiped with bags for their purchases.

Oh and don't be surprised if people try to haggle - it doesn't mean that you have to accept their first offer, especially early in the day.

SamboM Fri 09-May-03 10:48:00

What really amazed me when we did one was that people were queueing up to buy half empty 10 year old bottles of perfume and aftershave! Sold a piccy to Blossom from Eastenders (who I have to say was rather miserable)

It was rather alarming when we pulled up and opened the boot a load of people came running over and started rummaging before we had a chance to even get anything out.

willow2 Fri 09-May-03 19:32:41

SamboM (not that I'm stalking you) that was probably other greedy stall holders working out what they could buy from you and sell on at a profit. Happened to me a couple of times!

bayleaf Fri 09-May-03 20:31:16

Yes all good advice here - also make sure you keep your change on you - don't have it in a tub - far too stealable.
If there are unlimited pitches I'd defintely get there a bit later - the one I go to opens to the public at 7.30 but there are often cars arriving ( to sell) at 9.30 ish when I'm leaving.
Good luck!

XAusted Sat 10-May-03 13:39:02

10 quid sounds a lot for a pitch. You'll have to make a lot of dosh to break even. A bumbag is handy to keep your cash in. Would not recommend doing one on your own difficult to set up and keep an eye on things. Also, people will be trying to buy stuff while you're trying to set up. Having two people on a stall makes it more manageable. Also allows you to go off to the loo, etc!

rainbow Sat 10-May-03 13:50:03

Me 2 Willow2. One 'person' bought an ornament of me for £5 and sold it on his stall for £85!

GillW Sun 11-May-03 12:43:32

So how did it go Frieda?

Frieda Mon 12-May-03 10:35:51

GillW – thanks for asking. I'm ashamed to say I didn't make it. By the time I'd scrubbed ds's old plastic kitchen and a pile of giant plastic bricks I've been longing to get rid of for ages, he was back from nursery and started playing with them before I'd had chance to get them into a box. I made a mental calculation of how much I'd make on the puzzles, books and a few clothes (which I know don't always sell very well) I worked out I'd only make about £25 out of it – even in the unlikely event that everything sold – which suddenly didn't look all that attractive at 6.30 on a Sunday morning. Sorry to be such a flake!
I did notice, however, when we went past the school where the boot sale was on, quite a few people had little trestle tables out in front of their houses, cashing in on the passing trade on the way to the sale. Now THAT sounds like a good idea!
Thanks, anyway, for all your tips – I'll definitely think about doing one in the future (thought perhaps £10 was a bit steep for a pitch, given the amount of stuff I had to sell – I'm sure there are cheaper ones around)

bettys Mon 12-May-03 10:55:42

Just did my first ever boot sale on Sunday - the advice on this thread was great! Found the things that sold best were records, books and jewellery (not the real stuff, just Accessorise cheapies - a scary dealer-type woman rummaging before the gates opened made me very glad I'd left that at home). Also sold old perfume which I only took along after reading this thread, and kitchen stuff. Even a broken cafetiere sold. Only made enough money for a nice lunch somewhere but that's not bad when you consider I was only selling things destined for the tip or the charity shop!

cocococo Sat 24-May-03 14:16:37

Am having a massive 'clearing of the clutter' at long last and I was wondering if anyone could help me out on pricing things?
I have lots of new & packaged perfume and aftershave, good quality baby & womens clothes all GAP, Next, M&S, Tommy, Levis etc and toys from ELC, M&S etc. I don't have a clue how much to charge, any ideas anyone?

Also do I keep a price in my head or is it better to label things up with a price? Thanks very much!

mckenzie Sat 24-May-03 17:11:52

hi cocococo

I did my first car boot sale last bank holiday monday so I'm still a real rookie and not qualified to give advice but in my experience...

good quality doesn't really seem to matter at car boot sales. I had some top quality childrens clothes and some very well worn hand me downs and they sold for the same price (personally I did short sleeved and long sleeved t shirts at 50p each and sold the lot, trousers at £1.

I sold an opened (and actually a little bit used) bottle of Chanel Allure for £5 but the M&S overnight bag, still in it's wrapping, full of the toilettries still in their tissue paper sold for only £2 and that was a struggle.

Friends advised me to to label things as you need to get a feel for your buying audience, especially if your main aim is just to go home with an empty car and a bit of cash.

Probably already mentioned on here but do take your own food and drink otherwise you'll spend all your profit and then some if you get peckish or thirsty.
I had a great day out, it was a cracking hot day and I got a suntan as well and made £101 profit. I'm doing another one next sunday, I think I might be hooked!

Good luck cocococo

RockingRosebud Sat 24-May-03 17:18:28

coco, you'll not get much at the bootsale unfortunately. Why don't you try UKP? It's a parenting site with a very busy for sale board?
Click on Our Forums (bottom left)
Click on Noticeboards
To place a free ad. click on clothes and type away. You'll need to become a member of the site before you can post.

You'll get more than the bootsale but you will have to post everything out. So don't forget to take into account how much things cost to post.

Lindy Sat 24-May-03 21:14:09

cococco - I'm afraid I haven't got much good advice, I did a car boot a few weeks ago, loads of lovely stuff but only cleared about £35 after five hours - is it worth it? Try selling through other means (what about the mumsnet boards?) - people just won't pay what things are worth, I know becuase today I bought at a jumble sale three really nice ites - a next swimsuit, George from Asda jeans and an M & S top - all for 10p each!!!

Try your local free ad newspaper - we bought two lovely ski-suits for our son through them, paid about £4 each (plus postage) we were thrilled & hopefully seller was too.

helenmc Sun 25-May-03 21:58:22

Lindy - at least you made more than me...a massive £4.60 (after paying £5 for the table!!) ...we've a NCT sale soon - might try that. I know its on one of the other threads ... but does any-one know if they will accept buggys?

cocococo Mon 26-May-03 21:02:47

thanks so much for the advice everyone. I use the local nearly new noticeboards to sell too but have so much stuff to get rid of now that I can't face posting stuff out or people coming round to decide! I'd rather get rid of it all in one go and then what doesn't sell goes straight to the charity shop. helenmc - my local NCT sale accepts pushchairs, buggies, cots, breastpumps, even car seats surprisingly!) but the one in the next borough bans all the above. It's best to check with your local one. You can find contact details here:

SueW Mon 26-May-03 21:16:27

our local NCT should not be accepting those things - certainly not breastpumps and car seats but the others are fine if they are to a certain EC standard - to a Nearly New Sale.

However, if they have a Table Top Sale or Indoor Car Boot where each seller has their own table then the rules are different since the deal is done between the buyer and seller direct.

This is the *only* way that you should be able to buy those things at an NCT Sale.

SueW Mon 26-May-03 21:16:48

Sorry - 'Your' not 'our'

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