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8 Ways to make a profit at car boot sales

8 Ways to make a profit at car boot sales
Car boot sales are a great way to both make a profit and make savings. Bilal Muhammad shares eight top tips for making a profit
The cost-of-living crisis is encouraging more and more people to use car boot sales, both to turn a profit and to make savings through more sustainable shopping habits. This mass movement means that it is becoming more accessible to attend or take part in car boot sales, as well as more socially acceptable to do so. 

What is a car boot sale? 

A car boot sale is a generally relaxed event where people gather to sell their unwanted household products. This could be anything from kitchenware to things for your garden, and everything is heavily discounted.  
Couple looking through a flea market
You can find just about anything in a car boot sale
Car boot sales take place in open fields or car parks, and there can be anything from a dozen cars to a few hundred, all lined up ready to sell their products. Essentially, you sell out of your car and at discounted rates.  
However, the thought of having your own stall may be a little bit scary, so we've put together our tried and tested checklist to help you hold a successful car boot sale.

1. Do your research 

Keep an eye out for flyers that might be lurking around your neighbourhood advertising upcoming car boot sales near you, or use Google to find an already established one.
"Look on the internet and eBay to find out how much your products are being sold for"
One thing we recommend doing is looking on the internet/eBay the night before to find out how much your products are being sold for. Armed with those prices, don't forget to decide what the lowest price for each product will be as you don't want to be pressured to sell your stuff too low.  
Don’t forget to check the weather as well, as car boot sales are more likely to be cancelled if it’s raining

2. Pack the night before 

Place all your items in boxes or bags, so you can quickly load your car the next morning.
Jewellery at car boot sale
Prepare the night before so there's no last minute panic in the morning
Here’s a handy checklist of what else you should take with you: 
  • A large table to display the products 
  • A large waterproof sheet to lay on the floor for bigger items 
  • Make sure you have a fanny back/box with plenty of loose change 
  • Take lots of plastic bags for people to put their products in 
  • How about a thermos of tea and a sandwich? You’ll get hungry and need the tea to warm you up if it’s a cold morning. 

3. Arrive early 

A successful boot fair involves a very early start, sometimes around 5am or even earlier. 
"Serious buyers arrive early because that’s where all the best products are"
Allow yourself plenty of time to ensure you get a good space and can lay all your products out for people to see. Don’t forget, serious buyers arrive early because that’s where all the best products are.  

4. Bring another pair of hands 

Woman looking through clothes at car boot sale
An extra pair of hands—and eyes!—is always helpful
An extra pair of hands will always be helpful at a car boot sale. If you suddenly experience a sudden rush of visitors, you’ll need someone to help you as well as someone to cover you when you need a break (and also keep an eye on everything to make sure nothing goes missing).  
Having someone with you will also pass the time and stop you looking bored and unapproachable—buyers read body language and are more likely to come up to your stall if you look happy.  

5. Preempt questions and prepare answers 

People at car boot sale
Be prepared for a lot of questioning from potential customers!
Be prepared for the kind of questions that commonly crop up:
  • “Can you show me that this product works?” Make sure you have some batteries with you to prove it does. 
  • “This product is too expensive.” Knowing the retail price and responding with it can often tempt people to purchase the product, especially if it is a much lower price.
  • “How does this product work?” Give the customer a thorough break down of how it works and include the instruction manual with the product (or direct them where to find it)

6. Prepare to haggle 

Be prepared for people to haggle with you—car boot visitors are there to bag a bargain from your stall.  
"If you're keen to sell almost everything, expect to haggle"
Ensure you know your price points and how low you want to go on particular products. But if you're keen to sell almost everything, you should be as flexible as possible on your prices and expect to haggle. 

7. Have an attractive stall 

During spring/summertime, you can organise garden products like plants, ornaments and seating in a prominent position and show customers what they can look like together.  
woman at a market stall
A well organised stall will attract more customers
If you're selling clothes, use a clothes rail, and consider organising them by size, age and gender. Why not pretend you’re a potential customer: walk past and see if your stall looks attractive—reorder accordingly if you need to rejig anything. 

8. Final sale 

If you want to go home with an empty boot, put your voice to good use and let customers know you’ve reduced the price of your products heavily. Why not introduce offers like buy-one-get-one-free to attract more people to your stall? 
Now you’re armed with the ultimate checklist to hold a great car boot sale. You officially have everything you need to hold a great car boot sale, so get selling (and potentially buying).
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