Planning your car boot
Thinking about doing a car boot this weekend? If you haven’t done one for a while or it is your first one, there are some ways you can make things a lot easier and make sure you are making the most of your trip by planning your car boot.
- Pick a Date
Pick a date and go for it. This may sound simple enough but, without a fixed date in mind, you’ll find that your “stuff gathering” phase will just get longer and longer…(and you’ll end up with more stuff in the house rather than less!)
- Gather your stuff together
This is where it pays to be ruthless. The old expression “neither use nor ornament” should apply. A general rule of thumb is that, if it hasn’t been used or admired for the last 12 months, the poor thing should probably go to someone else!
At this point it pays to have a little bit of organisation. Try to have separate bags and boxes for different categories of stuff e.g. books/clothes/toys/electrics. As you find things just pop them in and this will save you having to re-sort or, worse still, start organising when you get there (impossible, see point 10). For clothes and bags, make sure you have checked the pockets – there’s sometimes forgotten money in there!
- Make things presentable
Yes it is a second-hand sale, but that doesn’t mean last year’s dinner stains should still be on what you’re selling. Take some time to make sure things are clean and usable. There’s no point taking up valuable table space with stuff that people will just not want.
- Set up your shop
Take a look at the items you have for sale when planning your car boot. What will you need to display them on? Pointless taking a table if all you have is dresses – a rail would make far more sense. Boxes are good for books (make sure the spines are visible), rails are great for clothes and a table is good for ornaments and electrics. You’ll need a chair or two, depending on who is helping, and check on the weather to see if you need to take a big coat or blanket!
- Remember your change
You will need around £20.00 in change, made up of about fifteen pound coins and five pounds’ worth of change. You can guarantee you will get a twenty pound note from someone!
- Recruit your team
Who will be doing the car boot? Having a friend makes it a great social day out – but also splits your profit in two. Children often love the buzzy atmosphere of a car boot and it can be a really useful lesson in the world of money and turning a profit. Perhaps they have something that they would like to save for and can sell some of their old stuff.
- Price your items
Don’t price all of your individual items….honestly, this isn’t the best way to go about planning your car boot. People at car boots will have a good idea of what they want to pay, and won’t be budged quite often! It does help to have a couple of “Everything £1” or “This rail 50p” type set-ups though, as this gives people a good idea of where your table is priced and may encourage sales from those too scared to ask.
- Check the weather
Before your sale, check the weather and make sure it is not going to be blowing a gale or chucking it down…both of these things will most likely mean a quiet boot sale or even not on at all if the weather is bad enough. Cold is different, even on a fresh day people still come out when the sun is shining and, during summer, as long as it’s dry people will tend to come out.
- Pack the car the night before
If you think it is safe to do so, then do your packing the night before, or as much as you can. Try and make things easy for yourself at the other end by packing in the order you will unpack – and don’t forget to put your rails and tables easily accessible!
- Hold your horses!
Planning your car boot has taken some time. When you arrive at the car boot, you will no doubt have some interest in your wares before you have even unpacked your boot. These guys will be the more seasoned booters, looking for items on which to put an upsell. Depending on your aims for the day, decide whether you want to sell or not. You don’t have to, and you may want to hang on to get a greater price but…then you take the risk of the people passing by on the day, your item may not sell. If you’re prepared to take a bit less maybe, then this is a great way of getting rid of a big chunk early on in the day.
- Make your stall fun
It is quite intimidating for a lot of people walking up to a stall. Position yourself so that you can see people coming and give them a smile and a hello, reassuring them that they can come and look as long as they want without having to buy. Yes haggling is part of the fun, but remember that the aim is to get rid of as much stuff as possible and come back with money in your pocket. No point saying no to every offer and then coming back home with everything. Yes, stand your ground if you really think it’s worth more, but be prepared to take a bit less than you’d maybe envisioned. Have a look on FB marketplace and/or ebay to get an idea of prices. It helps to take a few plastic bags too – people often don’t bring them with them – you can even charge the 5p if you want!
- What do you do with the leftovers?
You have a choice here…..do you want to take it back home? Or, do you want to go back with a clean sweep and an empty house? At every boot sale you will find more seasoned sellers, who frequently visit sales. They may well be open to taking your stuff off your hands for a very cheap price or maybe even for free. Don’t be scared of this – chances are you’d be giving it to charity anyway. Just think how free you’ll feel afterwards!
- Have fun!
Most importantly, have a blast! Car boots are great fun and filled with great characters and personalities. Try not to take it too seriously and use it as a fun day out with friends or family or to chat to other people.