Last updated: October 24, 2023
A car boot sale is a fantastic way to make a bit of extra cash and declutter at the same time.
If you have an attic full of unused items, or some unsold stock from your reselling side hustle, a local car boot sale is a great place to sell it.
They are usually quite cheap to sell at, fairly lucrative if you get your prices right, and quite often a lot of fun too.
However, while it is only a car boot sale, a little preparation goes a long way if you want to make as much money as possible and not get stressed by the whole thing.
There are usually a lot of buyers at car boot sales and it can get a little manic at times, so it’s worthwhile to come prepared having read some car boot sale tips.
Additionally, people often walk around only once so you want to grab the attention of potential buyers straight away with an enticing pitch.
These car boot sale tips will help to make the process of selling at a car boot less time consuming, stress-free, and as financially rewarding as possible.
If you’re planning your own stall at a car boot sale, this is the best way to prepare for it and make some decent money while you’re there.
The best car boot sale tips
Scroll down to see the best car boot sale tips and get as much money for your unwanted items as possible.
Ensure you have the essentials with you
This is one of the top tips to make sure you have a successful car boot sale.
It’s annoying making the effort to load the car and turn up at a car boot to realise you’ve gone and forgotten something really important.
Here’s a list of things to have to hand that you can check off before you go:
- a table (at least one – wallpaper tables work really well and fold up into the back of the car)
- a clothes rail if you are selling clothes
- hangers to hang the clothes
- blankets to lay on the ground
- a big bag of plastic bags and carrier bags for customers to use
- a cash box, money belt or bumbag for your change
- a good supply of loose change so you can give change to people who only bring banknotes with them
- snacks (there are usually food stalls or at least one burger van at car boot sales if you prefer to buy something when you’re there)
- sun cream
- mosquito spray
- toilet roll (you can’t always trust the toilets at the sales!)
- pack of baby wipes
- lint roller
- price stickers or price labels
- ordinary pens
- marker pens
- plastic sheet
- your pitch fee (you can usually find out what the pitch fees are for your chosen carboot sale online)
Prepare Your Stock
A little preparation can go a long way and this is an important step when it comes to car boot sale tips.
Clean up any ornaments or boxed items where necessary.
If you’re selling clothes, check them over before packing them up to make sure they’re not too creased or dirty.
Kids toys should also be clean and not broken.
It’s also a good idea to take pre-written price labels and price signs with you.
It can be a nice way to entice people to your stall if they can clearly see the prices you’re asking.
Sometimes people can just be too shy to come and ask.
You could print out your ‘deals’ for people to read. For example, ‘books 20p each or 6 for £1’.
If you plan on having a box of clothing that won’t fit on the rail, or a box of similar items that will go for the same price, make a large label for the box with the price clearly shown.
Don’t forget to take the sellotape and marker pen in the car too so you can stick the price tags and signs on.
Pack The Car Wisely
Although you should make sure you turn up in plenty of time to unpack your car in the morning, there will usually be buyers there already anyway.
It can get quite overwhelming to have people swarming round the car when you’re trying to unpack.
Having things priced and labelled in advance will save time, as will labelling boxes that your things are in so you know where to unload them.
Put clothes on hangers already if possible so they can be hung up quickly.
Put things in the car in reverse order.
You’ll want the table, blankets and/or clothing rail to go in at the very end so they’re the first things you get out.
Check the weather forecast
Come prepared for your car boot sale no matter the weather.
Ensure you have appropriate clothing if it’s wet weather or hot weather.
This will make the day a lot more enjoyable for you.
Be Realistic About Your Prices
You will find it difficult to sell items at eBay prices when at a car boot.
People do not often turn up to a car boot sale with a huge amount of cash.
Buyers are also looking for extremely cheap bargains.
Since a car boot sale has nowhere near the same reach as eBay, for example, you’re limited to who you can sell to on the day.
For this reason, set your prices lower than you might initially think.
Your aim is to get rid of things and you don’t want to take these things home.
You will tend to make more money by having low prices. You can always tell who’s asking for too much as they go home with almost as much stuff as they arrived with.
Get there early to get the best spot
Each car boot sale has prime locations in it that see the majority of buyers wander past.
By getting there nice and early when it opens for sellers, you ensure that you get one of the best spots and won’t be squeezed in somewhere at the back.
Getting an early start is one of those car boot sale tips which is often overlooked but does have an impact on how much you sell.
Make sure you carefully check the opening time the day before you go, as you don’t want to be late by accident and miss out on a good spot.
While serious buyers will walk round the whole of a car boot sale, some might just come and scan the stalls quickly so you’ll want to be as close to the start of their route as possible.
Be Prepared To Be Haggled With
This is great if you like haggling but it’s not for everyone.
However it does happen at a car boot sale quite often as people really do want to get a bargain.
Having said that, it’s one thing to sell something at a low, reasonable price, and another thing to give it away for practically nothing.
You will inevitably get people trying to barter you down to almost nothing, so you have to be prepared to stand your ground.
You get used to things like that. If someone really is trying to beat you down to a price you’re not comfortable with, say no.
It’s your item and you don’t have to sell it if you don’t want to.
However one of the best car boot sale tips around is to keep an open mind about the lowest price you’ll accept for an item.
Unfortunately as with anywhere there may be a few shady individuals about.
Make sure to keep an eye on your table at all times, and this will help stop things going missing.
Keep the most valuable items on your stall close to you and within view.
Most importantly keep your car locked when you’re not in it and your cash out of view (and preferably on your person somewhere).
Take an extra pair of hands
A car boot sale can be hard work, particularly when you first arrive, so this is one of those tips for car boot sales that it is highly recommended you adhere to.
Often in the first hour of arriving there’s a big rush of people, and it can sometimes coincide with the point at which you’re trying to unload your car.
Having a family member or friend with you to help is a great car boot sale tip that will save you time, and ensure you both have a great time together too.
Not only do you get an extra pair of hands but an extra pair of eyes too to keep an eye on your stock with you, especially if you get a sudden rush of visitors.
It’s also much easier to take a toilet break if you have someone else there too, as they can keep a watch on your expensive items while you’re gone.
Be Prepared To Donate Unsold Items
After trying to sell something at two or three car boot sales at the most, if something hasn’t sold you might consider donating it to a charity.
Storing items to sell at car boot sales, and unpacking the car again at the end of the day, can be a bit of a pain.
If you decide to give your unsold items to a good cause, take a roll of plastic bin bags with you and fill them with things when the car boot is over.
You can drop these off at a charity shop on the way home (only good quality and unbroken items of course).
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as they say, and a car boot sale is a great way to get a little extra money at the weekend.
By utilising these car boot sale tips, you’ll make sure you get a good pitch, price things correctly and get the most money possible on the day.
If you’re looking at ways to make quick cash and preparing to sell at a car boot sale yourself, these car boot sale tips should be really helpful.