Car Boot sales are a great way to generate some quick and easy cash from your unwanted belongings.
Held across the UK often on a weekend and in the summer (both of which can vary depending on the terms of your local car boot sale we have some that run year-round and one that's held on a Wednesday – weird…)
I've designed this mammoth guide to selling at a car boot so you can be sure to feel prepared and confident when selling your unwanted belongings whether it's your first car boot sale or twentieth car boot sale this year…
- What Shouldn't You Sell At The Car Boot
- What Should You Sell At The Car Boot
- Car Boot Sale Price Guide
- Where To Find A Local Car Boot Sale
- Car Boot Essentials
- Preparing For The Car Boot Sale
- The Day Of The Car Boot Sale
What Shouldn't You Sell At The Car Boot
Gone are the days where ‘anything goes' at car boot sales. UK law enforcement browses car boot sales regularly.
So the most important thing that you need to make sure is that what you're selling is a legal product (i.e. no copied DVD's) and that it's yours to sell.
Depending on the car boot sale you choose to attend they may have their own rules about particular types of items.
Some examples of these include; food (cakes, buns etc.) and plants. In fact, one car boot we visit doesn't allow the sale of new products (to prevent the ‘market traders').
Once you've found the car boot sale you'd like to attend be sure to check the terms and conditions (they'll be featured in the listing) as to what is and is not permitted.
What Should You Sell At The Car Boot
So, we've covered what you can't sell at the car boot. How about what you can sell… Well, I guess the easy answer is anything else.
Toys, clothes, household goods… In this case, anything really does go.
When we were in the process of selling our house we never imagined that someone would be interested in buying our old kettle, toaster and microwave (all were red and wasn't going to suit our new home) but guess what – they were the first thing to go!
Just be sure that if you are selling second-hand goods at the car boot they are clean and are working (unless you declare otherwise)
Car Boot Sale Price Guide
I'm often asked “what should I sell this item for at the car boot sale” and honestly, there's no right or wrong answer.
For example; the coat you're planning on selling could be from Primark or it could be from Hugo Boss. The value of that item is going to vary significantly based on this.
However, with the aim of answering the question I've put together some form of a guide. This is based on people who actually want to sell their stuff at the car boot sale and have pretty ‘average' stuff.
I'm a firm believer that you'll get more for pretty much anything if you can muster up the energy to sell it on eBay instead.
- Clothes – £1.00 an item
- Kids Clothes – £0.50 each (3 for £1.00)
- Books – £0.50 each (3 for £1.00)
- DVDs – £0.50 each (3 for £1.00)
- Board Games – £1.00
- Blu-Rays – £1.00
- CD's – £0.50 each (3 for £1.00)
- Old Vinyl Records – £1.00 each
- DVD players – £5.00
- Kids Toys – £1.00 each
- Teddies – £1.00 each
- Shoes – £3.00 a pair
Of course, this is just a guide. Please, price everything at the price you'd be happy with receiving in return for the item.
Where To Find A Local Car Boot Sale
The power of the internet makes it very easy to find a local car boot sale in your area. More often than not you should find one within 10-miles regardless of the time of year.
However, if you are looking to do a clear out in the summer then you're likely to find even more choice!
You can search for local car boot sales on Facebook, simply typing in car boot sale will bring up pages for car boots and groups for areas.
This will enable you to find the car boots in your local area, as well as groups that will post about the car boots, start times and locations.
Friends And Family
This may sound simple but don't put it past your friends and family to know.
Some car boot sales have been running since my parents were my age and are more than often in the same place and run by the same family or organisation, so this is always useful to know.
The local paper will have a section in which you can find car boot sales, table tots sales and smaller one-off events that are similar to car boots. Look in the advertisements section for information on location, times and entry fees.
This is also great if the local rugby, cricket or football team have a small stadium or ground that won't be used all year round, they sometimes lend out space for one-off car boots, this is the kind of information you could find.
Car Boot Junction
Car Boot Junction is a website in which you can find both indoor and outdoor car boots within your area using two unique ways to search. One in which you choose indoor or outdoor or both, then you choose your county and then the last choose your area.
The second way to search is using google maps, select from the drop down indoor, outdoor or both, then type in your area or postcode.
Click on the cluster to get a closer look and start searching for the car boot for you.
Car Boot Essentials
Okay, so you've found the things you want to sell at the car boot and you've found the car boot in which you're going to sell your stuff.
Now, let's talk about the essential items you need/are going to want when heading out to sell at the car boot. These items will help you;
- Get more money for your items
- Sell more stuff
- Just make the process a whole lot more enjoyable
If you're selling clothes at the car boot. Then try bring a clothes rail along to hang them on – if you have one.
If you don't have one yourself then ask about within your network of family and friends (someone is sure to have one).
They will help people browse your clothing easily, and make the clothes look more presentable. Both of which is going to help you sell more and get more cash for the stuff you do sell.
If you don't have a table available to place your stuff on once you make it to the car boot sale then you're likely to sell 70% less stuff.
People who browse car boots tend to browse quickly, especially when there's a lot to get through.
People want to see your products at eye-level for when they are skimming the row as they walk along.
Fewer people are going to make the effort to kneel down to pick your item up from the floor when compared to pick it up from the table.
Also, selling your stuff from the floor makes it look as though you don't value it. Which means that they are going to expect you to be selling it for less.
The table itself doesn't have to be anything fancy. An old wallpaper table, anything… Again, if you don't have one.
Ask around between your family and friends, its one of those things that someone always has in the back of the garage or the shed.
If you really can't find a table suitable then look for a car boot sale or market that provides tables for the sellers. There are some available at least in our area.
A lot of what's sold at the car boot is loose change stuff, yet so many people don't bring change. Be sure you can maximise a sale by being able to break larger banknotes.
Just be sure when you do carry your change you store it in a safe place. Unfortunately, the car boot sales are subject to thieves so a bumbag is ideal.
It's not essential, but it can make the process easier for your buyer which is going to encourage them to buy more.
Flask & Snacks
The food at the car boot is expensive and tasteless (I speak from 15 years of experience on this topic) so save yourself some cash (and misery) and bring along some snacks.
If you or your network of family and friends doesn't have a flask it's probably going to be cheaper to buy one than it would be buying two hot drinks from within the car boot sale.
Blankets, Hats, Gloves, Chairs
It may be the middle of summer, but at 4am, 5am, 6am and 7am it can be very, very cold.
In fact, we live in the UK… Let me retract that, regardless of the time of the year or the time of day it can be cold.
Preparing For The Car Boot Sale
In the run-up to the car boot sale, there's a number of things you can do to prepare that is going to maximise your time at the sale.
Research The Items You're Selling
Firstly, research the items you are selling. eBay is the best resource for doing so, however, please don't think that you're going to get eBay prices at a car boot sale.
It doesn't work like that. People expect to pay less for the convenience you're having from selling your items at the car boot.
Unfortunately, I'm unable to provide a percentage of which you should ask for your items based on eBay prices as it can vary dramatically.
Just use your best judgement and adjust accordingly throughout the day should you feel the need to do so.
Label Your Items
This can be a rather controversial thing to do. However, if it's your first car boot sale then I recommend doing so as it's going to ease the pressure.
Label your items with the price you'd like to get for them (plus 10% rounded up to the nearest pound, leaving room for negotiation)
While you are likely to find that you get less negotiation from items with prices on.
You will also be less likely to forget the price you'd like for an item – or worse a miss communication between you and your car booting partner.
They thought you only wanted £5 for it when you actually wanted £25… It's been known to cause chaos between couples, again… I speak from experience.
Pack Your Car The Night Before
You're likely to be set off to the car boot sale early in the morning. So save yourself the hassle and pack the car you are going to be attending the car boot sale within advance.
Packing your car in advance is also going to help prevent you from forgetting essential items whether it be things such as change, snacks or items to sell… all of which is going to affect your profits.
The Day Of The Car Boot Sale
When Should You Arrive?
Again, this is something that can really vary from car boot to car boot. Car boot sales will provide start times for their sellers.
However, this is something that can often be ignored by many. If a car boot sale is open to sellers from 7 am then I'd recommend getting there between the hours of 6 am and 7 am.
The more often you visit the car boot either as a seller or a buyer the more likely you are to learn the right time to visit.
What Should You Do When You Arrive?
Again, this varies from car boot sale to car boot sale. However, you'll often find someone in a high-viz vest or a sign directing the traffic of sellers.
You may be asked to pay for the cost of your table on entry, alternatively, someone may come around to your table during the day to take payment. The cost of a table will be in the advertisement for the car boot sale.
Be sure to bring the correct amount, it makes things so much easier for the staff and means you're not eating into your change pot.
Once you've been directed to your spot or pitch feel free to begin unloading your car.
I recommend putting the table and/or clothes rail at the back of your car so it's the first thing you unload. That way you can unload everything onto it easily.
You'll probably find that people approach you looking to buy from you as you unload. Having your things labelled up in advance makes the pressure of multi-tasking in this situation easier.
Be sure to put boxes of items on the floor to avoid taking up table space, and order your table in height order – largest items at the back.
Feel free to shuffle things around and rearrange your table as you begin selling items.
Sales & Negotiation
We've discussed pricing your items around 10% more than you'd like for the item, rounded up to the nearest pound to allow for negotiation.
However, be sure to negotiate well. There's a serious art to this and it can be hard, especially for a first-timer.
If you are in doubt, then please don't be afraid to say no and stick with your gut price. Especially early in the morning when you'll find many traders looking to get the ‘cream of the crop'.
Please don't be offended by an offer that someone might make for your item. Again, it's all part of the ‘game' of car booting.
Many people ‘banter' a lot at car boots so you have to be prepared to roll with the punches and be a little cheeky to get that sale at the price you'd like. Again, if that sounds a little daunting a simple “No, sorry” with a smile should suffice.
So, it's come to the end of your time and others around you are beginning to pack up their belongings and head home. Some may do this as early as two or three hours before the end-time of the car boot so don't be too alarmed.
Just have a look around you and see what others are doing…
Once it comes to packing up, pack up all your belongings into your car. Please don't leave any rubbish behind, there should be bins available.
Sometimes similar bins are available for larger items such as old storage boxes etc if not then dispose of them properly at the tip or at home.
Of course, if you've any items left over, consider dropping them off at a charity shop or saving them for a car boot again in the future.