How to do a car boot sale

What can you sell at a car boot sale? Take a look at our guide for everything you need to know.

Updated

Image of a car boot sale: ideas and items

Key steps

  1. Research beforehand.
  2. Pack everything carefully and strategically.
  3. Display your goodies to their best advantage, with clear prices.
  4. Be friendly, and be prepared to haggle!

Doing a car boot sale has three major benefits: it’s a great way to declutter your home, make some cash, and have fun with the family. But what sells at car boot sales? And how do you go about doing it? We’ll show you how to organise a car boot sale successfully, from what sells best at car boot sales to the best ways to draw attention to your goodies.

The best way to learn what sells well at car boot sales is just to give it a go. You’ll discover so much from your first try, and then you can put your experience into practice next time!

How to do a car boot sale

Firstly, you’ll need to find a local car boot sale. There are websites that list lots of them across the country, or you can check out local social media pages for info about your area.

Contact the organiser to book your place and find out all the details: how much you have to pay and what time you need to arrive. Car boot sale pitches typically cost about £10, and sellers usually have to get there very early in the morning.

So, what can you sell at a car boot sale? Rules differ from site to site, so ask the person in charge if there are any restrictions. You might find that you can’t sell live animals, for example.

What sells well at car boot sales?

You’ll probably have certain things you’re keen to get rid of, so that will help you decide what to take. However, if you’re looking to make as much money as possible, rather than just keep your garage tidy by having a declutter, then you’ll want to know what sells best at car boot sales. Here’s a list of some of the most popular items:

  • Children’s toys. Big brands are particularly popular. If you have the box, even better.
  • Baby equipment. They need to be in good condition and at cheap prices to sell well.
  • Clothes. Kid’s, women’s, men’s – they’re all popular if you display well on rails.
  • Accessories. Gold jewellery and bags are usually a hit.
  • Books. Take unmarked books in good condition. Hardbacks often do best.
  • Ornaments. These can be popular – just make sure you pack them safely!
  • Furniture. Think side tables and small bookcases.
  • CDs and DVDs. Old VHS videos and cassettes don’t tend to sell.

Car boot sale ideas to help you sell

Take a look at these car boot sale ideas to make the most of your time there:

  • Visit beforehand. Scope out the sale a few weeks before to get an idea of what sells at car boot sales in your area, average prices, and which pitches have the most footfall – typically near the entrance, exit, and food.
  • Prepare your stock. Dust, clean and iron your goods so they look their best.
  • Take a float. You’ll need lots of coins and some small notes so that you can give out change, otherwise you might miss out on a sale. Keep it in a cross-body or bum bag.
  • Arrive early. Getting the best pitch can make all the difference.
  • Pack your car strategically. Chances are you’ll make most sales in the first hour, so have your tables/rails/tarpaulin easily accessible so you can set up straight away.
  • Display well. If you can borrow some collapsible tables, definitely take them. Portable hanging rails are really handy for clothes. Even a tarpaulin to lay out items on the ground is useful – and don’t forget some transparent, plastic sheets in case it rains!
  • Categorise. Group similar items together to make it easier for buyers to browse.
  • Set realistic prices. Most customers aren’t planning on spending a lot on one item at a car boot sale, so take things you’re happy to sell for 50p, £1 etc.
  • Use price labels. Some sellers don’t like to display prices, but you (and customers) might find it easier if you show the price. Group items by price with labels, e.g. ‘£1 for each item in this box’.
  • Be prepared to haggle! Car boot sale customers expect to get a discount, so set prices that you’re willing to knock a bit off of. Keep smiling and be friendly, but stay firm too!
  • Take bags and bubble wrap. Customers will appreciate having something to put their goodies in, and if you’re selling any breakables, take bubble wrap or newspaper to wrap them in.

By finding out how to organise a car boot sale in advance, you’ve got a much better chance at success on the day.

Originally published