Car boot sale advice - updated 2013

For what it's worth, here is my advice for the car boot sales, based on my years of experience.

My advice to sellers.

I have been going to car boot sales since they started and I think the best ones are on from April to September. I have done quite a few car boots myself and from experience I would like to offer the following general advice to sellers.

Find out the weather forecast beforehand. The BBC website can give the local forecast a few days ahead.

Try and previously visit a car boot sale as a browser, this will give you ideas about prices etc and what the atmosphere is like.

Take a packed meal, as you will probably get hungry later and there the food vans are quite expensive.

It is a good idea to have everything priced previously, forget about what the experts say on the TV programmes. If the stuff is not priced some people assume that it is quite expensive and pass on.

Be aware that when you first pull in and start to unpack the car, buyers will rush you , they will try rummaging in your boxes and some will try to get in the back of the car, looking for bargains. This is usually referred to as getting mugged . This can be quite intimidating and you can get items damaged or stolen in the process, so try not to do the boot sale alone.

Do take reasonable offers on items, but don't be bullied into give things away for a song.

If you have any small items such as jewellery, display them where they can easily be watched. I have seen very respectable looking people steal off a stall, while the seller was serving another buyer.

If you are selling items that come in pairs such as shoes, display only one and keep the other in the car, otherwise you might find these getting stolen while your attention is elsewhere.

Let the buyers browse in peace, while keeping a discreet eye on them. Do not pounce on people and try the hard sell as soon as they pick up an item, it will only put them off. If they are interested they will approach you with any offers, queries etc.

Take plenty of change in a bum bag, I used to take around £30 including 2x£5 notes. If someone gives a large note for a low priced item usually £1 or under, do not give them all your change, instead offer to put the item aside for a short while, till they obtain change, if they do not return by the allotted time, redisplay the item.

Take plenty of carrier bags and newspapers to wrap-up fragile items.

Do bear in mind, that you may have to queue for the toilets (and some of these can be really gross), so ease up on the liquids.

Wear comfortable shoes, I wear a pair of trainers, Hush Puppies or Skips.

Have a smile, be polite and thank the buyers, no matter how little they spend.

Finally, it is a good idea to have had your dinner pre-cooked as you will probably be so shattered when you arrive home, that you just want the sofa or an armchair and not move for the next few hours.

Above all, happy selling !!!

My advice to buyers.

Try to get to the car boot sale as early as you can, because that is when the best bargains are available. Take a leaf from the dealers books, they get there when the car boot opens. Some boot sales charge extra (usually about £1 per person) for early buyers, but I think it is worth paying this to get the best bargains.

Wear a comfortable pair of shoes, I wear a pair of trainers, Hush Puppies or Skips.

Try not to have too much liquids beforehand, or you might be find yourself queuing for the toilets and these are generally gross.

Take plenty of small change with you, otherwise you might miss out on a bargain because of this. At a boot sale, I was able to get a really nice Royal Doulton china tea set for £3, because the potential buyer who picked it first, only had a £20 note and the stall holder was not willing to put the item aside.

Take a large holdall or shopping bag or even a shopping trolley for your bargains, otherwise you end up with lots of carrier bags and you can easily forget to pick them up at the stalls you visit.

Do not carry large handbags or purses with you. Leave all the credit cards, bank cards etc at home. Thieves and pickpockets target car boot sales. When I go to buy at the boot sales, I carry a small long-handled bag with my AA card, car keys etc, which I sling across my body. I then put my bum-bag with the change around my waist.

If you buy a bulky or heavy item take it to the car right away. If this is not possible, ask the stall holder to keep it for collection later, but do remember to collect it. Make a note of the car, the aisle position and align this to an object a tree or the burger van, otherwise at a large boot sale, you might not easily find the stall again. Do not rely on remembering what the seller looks like as he or she may have temporary left the stall and someone else is in charge.

If you buy any videos, cds or DVD, do check that the original disc is in the case. A couple of times I have got home only to discover that discs were missing or wrong.

If you plan to spend a long time at the boot sale, eat something before arriving or bring sandwiches with you as you are probably going to get hungry later and the food there can be quite expensive and unhealthy.

When you eventually arrive home, just make yourself a tea, coffee or whatever else you fancy (better still if someone else does so), sit in a nice comfortable armchair and relax and recover for the next few hours, while sorting out your bargains.

Happy bargain hunting!!!

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Comments

  • soolin
    soolin Posts: 71,829
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    I'll use this post as the basis for a sticky thread on car booting. Please feel free to add further posts offering advice and tips.
    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the eBay, Auctions, Car Boot & Jumble Sales, Boost Your Income, Praise, Vents & Warnings, Overseas Holidays & Travel Planning , UK Holidays, Days Out & Entertainments boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know.. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected] views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.
  • mazz1953
    mazz1953 Posts: 190
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    Thanks Soolin, I am sure this sticky will be much appreciated.
  • Wesker
    Wesker Posts: 1,383
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    mazz1953 wrote: »
    Be aware that when you first pull in and start to unpack the car, buyers will rush you , they will try rummaging in your boxes and some will try to get in the back of the car, looking for bargains. This is usually referred to as getting mugged . This can be quite intimidating and you can get items damaged or stolen in the process, so try not to do the boot sale alone.

    I agree with this, i usually call them vultures lol. When i park up at a boot fair, if there are a lot of people hanging around i usually stay in the car for 10 minutes or so until they have passed on to the next few stalls before i start unloading my stuff because i have had items go missing in the past :(
    It is a good idea to have someone with you if possible so they can keep an eye on the stall while you are unloading stuff.
    Also if you price stuff up before hand, always price it at a bit more than you are willing to accept as people always try to knock you down, so if you want to get say £5 for something price it up at £6 or £7 but be realistic. At the end of the day you dont want to be going home with as much stuff as you bought with you so you have to compromise ;)
    Errrr...come back later ;)
  • durham_girl
    durham_girl Posts: 2,715 Forumite
    As the day goes on, I tend to knock the prices down aswell, I'd far rather have rid of it for cheap, than take it home again!
    :j30/7/10:j

    :j24/1/14 :j
  • Would anyone be kind enough to add some advice re: pricing for car boot items? It would be very much appreciated thank you :A
  • MoaningMyrtle
    MoaningMyrtle Posts: 1,968
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    edited 1 September 2012 at 8:15AM
    Great sticky, a piece if advice for seller is if you have any valuable/ collectable items, keep them in the front on the floor, until you are ready to get them out. This is what I do to deter the initial flurry of what can be quite intimidating buyers - I park up, get out, open the boot and then lock th car so they can't get in, I've had the vultures/muggers/traders open the car doors to see what I had whilst I was in the boot. Also, load the car with your table/clothes rail on top so it is first out of the car.

    Prices here for items are:

    Paperbacks 20p
    Hardbacks 50p - £1
    Clothes 50p - £1.00 (Coats £2.00-£3.00)
    Shoes £1.00 - £2.00
    Boots £3.00
    Small kitchen electricals £2.00 - £3.00
    DVDs £1.00
    CDs 50p
    Baby equipment variable on age and brand
    Furniture up to £10.00
    Costume Jewellery - up to £1.00
    Bags £1.00 - £2.00
    Watches £1.00 - £2.00
    Childrens clothes 50p - £1.00
    Toiletries - 50p
    Perfume - £2.00
    Bric a Brac 20p-50p-£1.00
    A minute at the till, a lifetime on the bill.

    Nothing tastes as good as being slim feels.

    one life, live it!
  • Most of those prices are about right in my area too, but I think costume jewellery prices depend a lot on quality: though most are 50p-£1, some particularly nice pieces can be worth far more.
    Mazz, I agree with most of your advice, but I would add the following: take your own toilet roll or tissues in case you need to use the loo there, because they often run out, especially at busy sales.
    Whether buying or selling, take plenty to drink as well as food. This is especially important in warm weather and especially for pedestrian buyers: dehydration can make carrying shopping home exhausting.
    Take plenty of change in a bum bag, I used to take around £30 including 2x£5 notes. If someone gives a large note for a low priced item usually £1 or under, do not give them all your change, instead offer to put the item aside for a short while, till they obtain change, if they do not return by the allotted time, redisplay the item.
    I've lost sales this way, and wouldn't recommend it. Instead, make sure you have plenty of change. If you're selling a lot of cheapish items you will soon accumulate lots of £1 coins anyway, so your float should suffice in the meantime.
    Take a large holdall or shopping bag or even a shopping trolley for your bargains, otherwise you end up with lots of carrier bags and you can easily forget to pick them up at the stalls you visit.
    Definitely go with a trolley if you have one: it's much easier than trying to humph a big holdall around with you. Do keep an eye on it though, since customers might think it belongs to the stall you're browsing and try to buy it!
    I wouldn't necessarily put price labels on every item, but this does have the advantage that you can leave a companion in charge of the stall while you shop or use the toilets.
    It's also a good idea to take a transparent plastic sheet (e.g. a dust sheet from a £1 or DIY shop) to protect your stock without concealing it from view in the event of rainshowers.
    When buying, always pick an item up (or put your hand on it if it's a bulky item) and don't let go until you've concluded the deal (or decided against it). Never just point to an item and ask the price: there are buyers who will watch you do this then snatch it from under your nose and buy it. I know from bitter experience how frustrating it is to lose a bargain like that.
    The best bargains are usually to be had at the beginning and end of the sale: the best stuff at the start and the best prices at the end.
  • keelykat
    keelykat Posts: 3,341 Forumite
    Hi, I wouldn't bother pricing things up. We never do, and i don't see many others doing it either apart from boxes of odd ends for 50p for example. Nobody seems put off by this, it gets people asking how much something is and then haggling.

    Maybe this is just the area we carboot in, i don't know.

    We take a small bottle of the gel hand wash (that doesnt need water) to clean hands and a loo roll, for the porta loo's!

    We take a flask of tea, for when it's nippy first thing, and then a packed lunch to nibble on through out the day/morning.

    Because we are a couple, it's easy for one to nip to the loo/have a wonder around/keep an eye out when it gets busy etc. (my dad is usually next to us selling from his car too lol).

    Don't under sell youself, but don't put a silly high price on things either.

    Most of all-be friendly, don't jump in and scare people off and enjoy the day!

    keely.
    Mommy to Elliot (5) and Lewis (born xmas eve 11!)
  • I've had a sort out and want to do my first car boot. Have seen the guide prices earlier in this thread and they were about what I thought. However any ideas what I should ask for the following - all excellent condition:

    Philips 14" portable TV with remote
    Working laptop running Windows XP
    Quiksilver shopper bag
    Half a dozen Jaqueline Wilson books immaculate as only read once
    Almost new girls Adidas trainers
    Hoodies/jumpers all Gap, Adidas, Reebok
    Dolls pram Mamas and Papas brand
    dolls jet plane for Barbie and the like

    Also, with books and clothes am I best to chuck them in boxes and put a note on with the price so people rummage hrough?
  • alex£
    alex£ Posts: 40 Forumite
    Be aware that when you first pull in and start to unpack the car, buyers will rush you , they will try rummaging in your boxes and some will try to get in the back of the car, looking for bargains. This is usually referred to as getting mugged .


    I have taken to covering my stock up with a blanket and not opening up and displaying my stock until the public are let in. Personally, I can't stand overly aggressive dealers- manners cost nothing, but rudeness can result in a sore nose!
    Love like you've not been hurt, dance like no one is looking, look at money saving expert every day!:j
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