Khoollect tips: hosting a car-boot sale

Whether you’re hoping to conduct a spring clean and downsize your wardrobe, looking to adopt a minimalist lifestyle, or just want to make a little pocket money, a car-boot sale is just the ticket.

Here in London there are a large number of places you can sell your secondhand and vintage wares, and you don’t need a car to host a stall. Many marketplaces offer you a table-sized spot to set up and find your buyers. If you’re thinking about hosting a car-boot sale, read these tried and tested tips to make the most of it:

Rise with the sun
Londoners may be notoriously late risers on a Saturday morning, but when it comes to car-boot sales they’re up and at it! Make sure you find out what time doors open at your local car-boot marketplace to ensure you’re lining up early and can secure yourself that perfect site to set up camp. You’ll want to find a spot where foot-traffic tends to flow. Some serious buyers will start showing up before you’ve even opened your bags, so set up quickly and pack breakfast to go. Check the predicted weather before you plan your sale, as sunny days attract far more shoppers.

Consider the costs
When deciding whether to sell your wares at a car-boot sale, make sure you check the marketplace’s website to check the cost of holding a stall. This will need to be factored into your budget for the day. If you’re selling well-known brand names or luxury items, you might want to consider listing these pieces individually on eBay, where you’re more likely to find buyers willing to pay a little more. I held my recent car-boot sale at Dalston’s Princess May primary school, where walk-in stall holders pay £10 for entry, but you can find many other locations close to you online.

Embrace your inner visual merchandiser
If you’re selling clothing, it’s wise to have a clothes rack that people can sift through easily. Then, take a table or picnic mat to neatly spread your folded items, shoes and books on. Sure, people will mess things up, but that’s what you’re there for. A nicely set-up stall will attract more browsers and make it easier for people to spot gems among your stock.

Avoid using price tags
I began my day with pretty craft-paper price tags strung with twine to each of my items. I soon learnt, however, that this not only prevents a conversation or any haggling between you and the customer, but also puts people off if they aren’t willing to pay what you’re asking. Shoppers love to rummage for heavily discounted goods. Let them make an offer and go from there, rather than setting the price too high and missing a potential sale. People can be impatient, so don’t play too hard to get!

Expect customers to bargain
You may have paid a pretty penny for those Levi jeans, but secondhand buyers are there to seek out bargains. If you really want to go home with fewer items at the end of the day, expect to sell your items at very low prices. You might be surprised, however, at how easily the small prices add up to a decent end-of-day profit.

Pack wisely
Remember, you may end up in an un-sheltered spot with the sun beating down on you for hours at a time. Pack sun cream, snacks, water and, if you can, a fold-up chair to perch on for the day. You might like to bring some spare shopping bags too, if you have some lying around at home, in case shoppers don’t bring their own. Most importantly, make sure you have small notes and coins on you to use as change for your shop. Lastly: if you can take a friend or partner with you, this can come in handy for carrying bags, and for coffee and toilet breaks!

What are your tips for selling secondhand wares?

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Sonya Gellert

Sonya Gellert is a contributing writer and associate editor for Khoollect. She lives in Sydney....

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