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Boost your takings at a car boot sale

Amanda C Haury

During the warm summer months, you can get rid of some of the clutter in your home while making some cash by loading up and heading to a car boot sale.

Although there are many ways to get the most out of car boot sale, takings can be easily increased by using basic marketing principles such as presentation and customer service. The success of your sale is often heavily dependent on the effort you put into it. Here is a look at how you can increase car boot sale takings with basic marketing principles.

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Supermarkets know that where you put things in a shop is key to how well they sell, while the best locations on the high street command the highest rents thanks to the increased sales that come with the premium locations. The same is true of where you pitch at a car boot sale. So get there early (car boot sales can open up to two hours before the advertised time) to stake your pitch.

Look for areas likely to have the most people pass by, and try visiting a similar sale first to see where people head to. It doesn’t have to be near the entrance or exit; pitching near someone selling food means you can capitalise on people drawn by the smell of the cooking. It’s also worth making your area stand out with a colourful tablecloth, some signs or something else that catches the eye.

Sometimes making a sale is all in the presentation. No one wants to rummage through items to see if there is anything worth buying. A highly effective method of increasing takings at a car boot sale is to "stage" your items. Similar to a shop's window display, staging allows you to show off certain items.

If you are selling a lot of furniture and home items, you could "stage" an area to look like a room in a house. Estate agents frequently stage houses that they are having difficulty selling to make the house seem more welcoming, while allowing people to easily imagine themselves living there. This works exceptionally well with boosting takings as well. By putting your items on display in a clean and attractive manner, you will be more likely to make a sale.

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Customer service
Step up your car boot sale game and help increase sales by bringing a positive "I can help" attitude. Customers are more likely to stick around and peruse your items when you are friendly and helpful. However, be careful not to cross the line between being helpful and being overbearing. The key is to remain casual, welcome visitors to your stall and answer any questions they may have.

Some consumers treat haggling at car boot sales as a sport. Be flexible with your customers and you will be more likely to make a sale. If you price your items reasonably, you will be able to move more than if you list your items with a higher price tag without any room for negotiation.

Although you want to make some money, high price tags at a car boot sale are a sure fire way to decrease takings, rather than increase them. This is because people go to car boot sales for a bargain. High prices could scare potential customers away. As the end of the sale nears, slash prices in an attempt to clear away as much merchandise as possible.

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The majority of items that you would sell at a car boot sale should be priced at around 12-15% of what you paid for them originally. To make a decent amount of cash from a car boot sale, you will need to have a large number of things for sale and you will need to price the products reasonably.

By labelling your products with a reasonable price tag, you will be more likely to raise profits than you would by trying to play hard ball with your customers. Alternatively, some people see price tags as the sign of an inexperienced visitor – you might be better off keeping an idea of what you want to sell each item for in mind, rather than committing it to paper. That way you’re not putting people off and you don’t look desperate if you cut prices later.

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The bottom line
Although there are certain things you shouldn't sell at a car boot sale – such as heirlooms, stamps, comics, coins and memorabilia – by presenting your items in a clean and attractive manner, pricing them well, positioning and promoting your area and offering a helping hand to customers with questions, you are increasing your odds of car boot sale success.

If you treat your sale like a business, you can watch as your takings increase and your unwanted items are more likely to find new owners. These principals can help you achieve that.

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