How To Raise Cash at a Car Boot Sale

We show you how you can raise some extra money by selling off your unwanted things at a car boot sale.

Updated on 23 April 2012.

Car Boot Sale

Car boot sales have become extremely popular in recent years, largely due to people looking to make a little extra money on the side by selling off things they no longer want.

Also, in these credit-crunched times, more people than ever are looking to bag a bargain - and car boot sales can be a great place to find some hidden treasure.

So, now could be the perfect time for you to clear out all your old clutter and make money doing it. We give you some ideas to get you started on setting up your own car boot stall.

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Blitz your clutter

First things first - you'll need to have a good sort through all your cupboards, drawers, and storage boxes. Chances are you'll find things that you've hoarded for a while and no longer want or need. The best things to look for will be items you won't miss when you part with them, which are in fair condition and could well be used by someone else.

Your items don't need to be in perfect condition; someone else may be quite willing to repair what you might otherwise throw away. Also, don't underestimate an item's selling potential. What you see as junk could be just what someone else has been looking for.

What will sell?

Popular items at car boot sales include:

  • Clothes
  • Computers and electronics
  • Antiques and crafts
  • Jewellery
  • Furniture
  • Books, CDs, DVDs, games
  • Toys

Find a local car boot sale

Car boot sales will generally be advertised in local newspapers, shop windows and supermarkets. Alternatively, you can look up local sales online with sites such as, Car Boot Junction and Your Booty. Just type in your postcode or county and you'll be able to locate car boot sales happening near you.

Before you head to the fields with your car boot of jumble, make sure you are prepared. It might be worth doing a little research on Ebay or at other car boot sales to see how much items that are similar to yours go for. This will give you a guide when it comes to pricing your goods. If you suspect that you might have a collectable item, look it up online to find out how much people are paying for it or items like it - then price it accordingly.

At the car boot sale

Sometimes you may have to pay a fee to set up your car boot, but many car boot sales allow you to pitch your stall for free. It may be worth phoning ahead to check if you will be required to pay any pitching fee. Make sure you arrive as early as possible if you want to get a good spot.

Things to bring with you

  • All the items you wish to sell.
  • A table or other display platform for presenting your items to the public.
  • A pot of loose change to ensure transactions run smoothly.
  • Snacks and drinks to get you through the day.
  • Carrier bags or boxes for the buyers to take home their purchased items.
  • A plastic sheet to cover your table if it rains.

When it comes to deciding on prices for your goods, keep them simple and clear. You might like to try pricing things in tiers: for example, all small things could be 50p, bigger items 1, and large items 1.50. This keeps prices easy for the buyer to understand and easy for you to remember.

If you think you have something that might be worth a little more than this, leave the price label off and see how much you are offered for it. Expect to enter into a mild amount of haggling at any rate, as buyers will see this as the perfect opportunity to test their haggling skills to try and get a bargain price.

Setting up your wares

Put some thought into how you present your goods on your display table. Place the more eye-catching items towards the front, and arrange things by group - keep all the DVDs together, all the jewellery together, and so on.  Consider using a bright, colourful cloth on the table to attract attention, rather than a grubby tablecloth.

Beware of other car boot sellers who may come to your stall early, to try and pick up a bargain which they can sell on for more at their own pitch. Unless they offer you a good price and you are happy to get rid of things early on in the day, make sure to drive a hard bargain so that you don't end up being swindled.

If you are selling a lot of clothes, especially coats and hats, consider bringing a mirror with you, as people are more likely to buy if they can see what the item looks like on them. This also applies to jewellery; people will love trying on necklaces and earrings if they can judge their reflection while doing so.

It's also a good idea to have a bargain box where everything is priced at 50p or 1, as people will enjoy rummaging through and seeing what they can find. Finally, a note of caution - car boot sales can be particularly susceptible to thieves, so keep your most expensive items near to you, and be vigilant at all times.

Vigilance can of course be much easier when you have a helper - so consider enlisting the assistance of a friend. As well as giving you the chance to have a break, sharing the responsibility of the stall will make the day a lot more enjoyable.

At the end of the sale

As the car boot sale draws to a close you might want to consider drastically dropping the price of your goods if you want to shift things quickly. Reducing everything on your stall to 50p, for example, could help you clear some of the things that haven't sold. If you are still left with things unsold at the end of the sale, don't despair - there's a good chance you'll be able to sell them next time around if you decide to repeat the experiment.

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Compare the best savings accounts around to find a home for your extra cash. We can help you find the best account so that your money will work as hard as possible for you.
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