Top tips for Carboot sales:

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Car Boot tips from a car boot organiser for buyers and sellers 
Arrive in plenty of time. Our car boot sales start quite a bit later than other boot fairs of similar size. We do our best to keep to the times published in the local papers but are quite happy for people to arrive early and wait. All we ask is that you keep the road clear and do not disturb our neighbours.

Tips for sellers.

  • Plan ahead. When packing your car consider the way you pack carefully so that when you unload, items come out in the correct order. There may be reasons why you may not be able to pack in this way but here are my top tips and the reasons why.
  • Always pack your table last or better still secure it to a properly fitted roof rack. This way when you arrive you can put your table up first. It is also a good idea to have a ground sheet to display items on like clothing and toys.
  • Anything of value pack first so it is the last thing to be unpacked from your car. This reduces the risk of it being taken when your back is turned unloading your less valuable items.
  • When you are directed into the sales area and parked up, lock your car go and get a cup of tea or something to eat, this could be the last chance you get for a while. Return to your pitch and set up, there is plenty of time as the sale goes on well in to the morning and you are far more likely to get more money when the cheeky bargain hunters have passed by to the later arrivals. If you are a late arrival this is still a good idea.
  • If possible bring a friend. This way you will have an extra pair of eyes when things are really busy and also have someone to watch things when you need to ‘pop off for a minute’.
  • Wear suitable clothing – a hat/sunglasses/bikini top & take suntan cream. take a folding chair to sit on if sales are slow or you need to enjoy your well-earned cuppa.
  • Rotate your goods – this will increase the buyer’s attention to goods on offer.  If you plan to do another car boot, at the end of your day, group items together that you think have the same value and create 50p etc. baskets ready for the next one.  The more valuable items can be displayed on the table.
  • The first wave of the day brings the hardened hagglers and dealers. Don’t accept low offers too early in the day. If you do, don’t be surprised to later find the item sitting on a dealer’s table being offered at a higher price.
  • Have a float of change. This will speed up your selling.
  • A money-belt to store your cash in is safer than a plastic tub/tin sitting on your table.
  • Provide carrier bags. This goodwill gesture will recycle the mountain of carrier bags blocking up the cupboard under the stairs at home.
  • Don’t knowingly sell dud items as working. If you regularly sell at boot sales in the local area you will be sure to lose repeat buyers with this sharp practice.
  • Having working batteries in an item is more convincing than offering an item without batteries and stating, “Yes, it was working perfectly last night when I tested it.”
  • It is easier to sell if you remember to take original packing, manuals and hard to find odd voltage adaptors and accessories for items to be sold.
  • Remember to smile. A miserable looking seller is likely to keep buyers away from a table of attractive items.
  • Have the patience of a saint. It is possible.

Tips for buyers

  • Check plugs and fuses and wiring on electrical items before using them at home. Otherwise you risk electrocution or your house burning down.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount especially if you’re buying a number of items.
  • Haggle by all means but if the seller is offering an item at an already rock-bottom bargain price try not to take advantage.
  • The one-off seller will generally accept low offers near the end of the boot sale to avoid taking items to bung up the garage/attic again.
  • Dealers are less keen to drop prices as they will simply take goods onto next sale. A dealer is more likely to drop prices if the turnout of buyers is low due to uncertain weather or bad weather forces the dealer to pack up early. The dealer will refer to this as, “Having a bad day”. Yet this could be a good day for a buyer to pick up a bargain and a good reason not to decide on staying in bed at the first sign of a grey sky.
  • Take some change with you.
  • Don’t keep all your money in the same pocket/purse or  flash huge sums of cash. Pickpockets unfortunately go to boot sales too.
  • Take batteries with you to test items actually work.
  • Take a tape to measure items.
  • Let the seller set up their table and wares when they arrive. Avoid the temptation of diving into the open boots and doors of sellers’ cars.
  • Be civil to sellers and other buyers alike, this way you will gain many new friends for free which is the true bargain at the boot sale.
  • Ask or take a friend to help you carry large items back to your car, a week off work with a slipped disc is not a bargain.
  • Write down the car model/colour/number plate and the row number if you pay for an item and intend to collect it later. It is very easy to forget the pesky car’s location at a busy boot sale.