Cash In Your Clutter: How To Make Money From Car Boot Sales

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Anyone can make money at a car boot sale! They’re a fun way of making some quick cash on the side – plus you get to clear out all your old clutter. Here are our expert tips on how to get the most you can for your old stuff.

Research from Gumtree.com has found that nine out of 10 people have more than £1,000 worth of unused items in their homes.

Around 1 million shoppers visit car boot sales every weekend across Britain

So why not use a car boot sale to turn your trash into cash?

  • Around 1 million shoppers visit car boot sales every weekend across Britain
  • It’s estimated that over £1.5 billion a year is spent at car boot sales
  • The average stall holder takes home around £80 from each car boot sale

Want to maximise your takings? Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make the most money from a car boot sale:

1. Check you wouldn’t be better off selling your stuff online

The internet has revolutionised the way we buy and sell things – for example, you can now make money selling second-hand clothes online, as well as selling things like books, CDs, and jewellery.

Selling your things online tends to be quicker, easier and less hassle than going to a car boot sale – but you might not get as good a price for your things.

Plus, if you’re having a general clear out (getting rid of all manner of trinkets, toys and knick-knacks as well as clothes and CDs) then a car boot sale is usually a far better bet and you can clear out all your stuff in one go.

2. Find a car boot sale near you

car boot sale tipsHave a look at the sites Car Boot Junction and Your Booty to find all the car boot sales nearest to you. It’s worth keeping an eye on the listings in your local paper, too.

It’s also worth visiting a regular car boot sale before you set up a stall there, so you can see what type of stalls and buyers it attracts – and where the prime stall pitches are located.

If it’s a regular car boot sale, you can always phone the organiser to get some advice on the best place to set up shop before you go.

3. Pack the night before

Make it easier by packing your stuff up the night before in boxes. (Don’t put your table or stall at the bottom of your boot, as you’ll need to get that out first).

Don’t forget to check the weather before you go (so you know whether to bring suncream and shades or jumper and umbrella).

It’s also a good idea to pack a chair so you’re not on your feet all day, and bring your own food and drink if you don’t want to spend any of your takings at the food stalls.

4. Bring a buddy

If you can, take a friend along with you. Not only will it make the car boot sale more fun, but they can help you keep an eye on your things, lend a hand when things get busy. They can also mind the stall so you can have a wander round yourself and see what bargains other people have to offer.

5. Get there early, but beware ‘professional buyers’

car boot sale tacticsGet there early and you can get one of the best pitches for your stall. However, beware the ‘professional buyers’ – these are people who tend to skulk round car boot sales before most people arrive, and will try to haggle down the price of your goods while you set up your stall. You then often see them selling the goods they bought off you for a much higher price later!

It’s usually best to bide your time a bit and wait for the main crowds to arrive.

6. Don’t bother pricing everything up

It normally makes sense not to price up all your items – not only will it save you time, but sometimes people will pay a lot more for something than you’d think!

However, one good tip to attract people to your stall is to have a ‘goodie box’ in which everything inside costs just 20p/50p/£1/whatever.

People who come to car boot sales love a bargain – so things like BOGOF boxes (buy one, get on free) also tend to work well and draw people in.

7. Be prepared to haggle

car boot sale cashAs mentioned, people at car boots are after a bargain – and many will try and haggle you down.

Don’t be offended if they offer you a price much lower than you were expecting – it’s all part of the game, and you’re under no obligation to accept their offer.

It’s sometimes worth setting your price a little higher to begin with to give you room for manoeuvre. For example, if you wanted £1 for a toy car a buyer was looking at, you could say “You can have that for a couple of quid.” They’ll either accept that (hurrah!) or say: “£1?” (Still good).

See our guide on how to haggle yourself a bargain for more tips.

8. Not sure what something is worth? Get a second opinion

If you’ve got a few valuable/semi-valuable items but aren’t sure of their precise worth, have a look on eBay and Amazon before you head off to the car boot sale, so you know their true worth and don’t get fleeced.

If you’ve got things like antiques, stamps, and old coins that you’re not sure of, it’s worth getting a second opinion from an antiques dealer or expert. There are frequent stories of people picking up antiques worth thousands of pounds for just a few quid at car boot sales – make sure it isn’t you who sells a priceless antique for a fiver!

9. Make the most of your wares

make cash car boot salesIt pays to make your stall look pretty, exciting or eye-catching.

Group similar items together. While bargain boxes (e.g ‘Everything inside £1!’) work well, it’s also worth spreading out some of your best goods so they catch people’s eyes as they walk past.

If you’re selling clothes, it helps if you can display them on a rail so people can easily browse through them.

If you’re selling things like CDs or battery powered toys, it can make a difference if you have some batteries or a CD player to hand – so you can demonstrate to punters that the goods work and are in decent nick.

10. Stand out

Even a little thing can attract people’s attention – especially kids! – as they walk by. A little bit of bunting, some LED lights, a flag, an unusual gadget or bit of furniture.

11. Have a decent float

Make sure you take plenty of spare change with you. Around £40 (in change and notes) is a good sum to have with you. You’d be surprised by how many people come to car boot sales only having £10 or £20 notes – and if you can’t offer them change, you’re going to lose the sale.

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12. Take plenty of plastic bags with you

It’s also a good idea to take lots of plastic bags with you. Again, you’d be surprised at how often people are interested in buying something – but then back out because they realise they’ve got their hands full and have no way of carrying it around!  Plastic bag = problem solved.

Finally… everything must go!

If you just want to de-clutter and get rid of most of your goods, then towards of the end of the car boot create an ‘Everything must go’ sign. Offer big reductions – 2 for 1s, half-price offers and the like – and don’t be shy in letting passers-by know about the bargains they’re missing! Chances are though, the vultures that circle the end of every car boot sale will soon take much of your junk off your hands the moment you hold a fire sale.

Have you got any good tips on making money from car boot sales? Let us know in the comments below!