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A car boot sale is a great way to get rid of some old junk, declutter your house, and hopefully make a bit of cash into the bargain. For car boot newbies though, it can seem a daunting prospect, particularly if your local sale is a large affair. If you're looking to have fun and make some extra money this way, here are a few tips to set you off on the right track.
Having grown in popularity hugely since they began, car boot sales are fairly frequent and take place in most towns and even villages. Both carbootjunction.com and yourbooty allow you to search for your nearest, and once you've got a sale in mind, it's an idea to visit a sale as a customer before you turn vendor, as it will give you a look at how big and how busy it is, and what sorts of clientele are turning up.
You'll also need to consider your pricing, and eBay can be a good place to start if you're unsure how much you should be charging. And if you think you might have something worth more than your average car boot fare, an online check is worth every minute. It's one thing to be the person who picks up a valuable antique for next to nothing, it's another to be the seller who's bargain item fetches a pretty penny at auction!
A lot of the serious car boot buyers turn up pretty early in the morning, and given that you'll need an early start, it's advisable to pack all your items into boxes and load them into the car the night before. Ensure you have ground sheets and tressel tables on top of everything else to make life easy when you arrive.
Ideally you'll want to get on site before the official opening time, as this will enable you to get the pick of the pitches. Those close to the entrance or near food stalls and vans are often the ones that catch the eye of the buyer, so opt for one of these to ensure you get the most traffic.
Given that you will have everything already boxed for unloading, you should be able to set up quickly, and the quicker you're up and running, the quicker you can start making money. Sadly, there are some with sticky fingers who consider boot fairs easy pickings, so it's wise to take a friend or family member along to help you out and keep their eyes peeled.
While you'll want to have preferred prices in mind for items, don't display them on every item. Often you'll find you get more for some things than you ever imagined you would.
Think carefully about how you group items, i.e. children's items together, vintage magazines or LPs boxed for easy customer browsing, and clothes on a rail. Once everything is laid out, stand back and look at it from the front as a customer would - this will enable you to perfect your pitch and maximise possible selling opportunities.
If you are planning on selling any electronic items, it's worth bringing along some batteries so that you can prove they're in working condition, and bags, a small float of change and a money belt are, of course, essentials.
Haggling if half the fun of a boot fair, for both buyer and seller, but remember it should be just that - fun. A smile and a little charm might just mean you sell an item for more than you originally had in mind.
Keep your eyes and mind open to selling opportunities as well. For example, someone picking up a CD player might well be interested in any CDs you have for sale, while a buyer who seems keen on a pushchair might also consider taking some toys or a bike for their little one.
But if someone is not offering enough for a particular item, especially if you have done your research beforehand, don't feel you have to sell. Politely decline, explaining that you believe it's worth the asking price - boot fair buyers are often well versed in haggling, and are likely to start low before upping their offer.
As the day goes on and customers come and go, take note of what is selling and what isn't. It could be a problem with the layout of your pitch (customers simply missing some items), or it could be that you're asking too much.
Take inspiration from expert market traders, and entice customers with buy one get one free offers, combine logical items for a better deal, or simply make buyers aware that 'everything must go'. They'll be much more likely to explore your stall if they think there's a real bargain to be had. And after all, if your aim was to declutter the house, you'll have achieved your goal. If not, then your unsold items can simply be added to the next sale.
Are you a boot fair regular? What are your top tips for newbies? Leave your comments below...