Who’s up for a car boot sale this half term?

Make extra money with help from Logbook Loans… 

Half term is fast approaching and parents all across the country will be busy arranging childcare as needed. But if you will be at home with the kids during half term there is then the issue of what do you actually do?

One great idea is to work together as a family and do a car boot sale. If you plan to do the sale at the end of half term week, this gives you all a focus during the week to get ready for the sale. 

Let’s take a look at three important things you need to do before, during and after a car boot sale. By being aware of these tips, you will be able to achieve the best possible success on the day.


Before the sale

1. Plan carefully

There are a lot of car boot sales around and some are much better than others. So do your research as to which sale is going to be the best one for you and your family. Check out websites such as Car Boot Junction and Car Boot Sales for lists of car boot sales in your area. But also ask around, particularly from people that have done car boot sales themselves, as word of mouth is always the best source of information. If you have time, try to visit a sale beforehand just to get an idea of the layout and general atmosphere.

2. Organise your stock

Encourage everyone to have a really good clear out so that you have plenty to sell. But do make sure that the goods you are trying to sell are of reasonable quality. People will buy all kinds of things at a car boot sale don’t waste their time with items that are damaged or incomplete or dirty. Also organise your stock into boxes or bags of similar items, so that you are not struggling to find things on the day.

3. Pack the car the day before

Do not be tempted to leave it till the morning of the sale! You will need to make a very early start anyway and you will not have time to waste in the morning. Take your time packing, bearing in mind that you will be unpacking the car in reverse at the sale. So make sure that anything you need straightaway is right at the top of the pile of stuff in your car. This includes tables and rugs to display your stock. 


At the sale

1. Get there early

Car boot opening times always seem to be a guideline rather than official. Keen buyers tend to come early. So you need to be there very early to get set up and organised in time to catch those keen buyers. Getting there early should also help you to get a really good position. 

But beware of trade buyers and other experienced car booters who may hang around as you are unpacking, looking for particular types of goods. Don’t feel hassled by anyone: you are entitled to ask them to come back later once your stall is set up. Take your time to set up, making sure that your stall looks attractive and that related items are grouped together. If you have set prices for items then these need to be clearly displayed as well.

2. Be prepared

Car boot sales can go on for a long time so it’s important that you are comfortable. It’s good to have something to sit on, and a variety of refreshments available. You can buy refreshments at car boot sales but it is difficult to leave your stall, particularly if you are busy. 

Also make sure you have plenty of cash. You will need this to pay your entrance fee and also to give people change. So take plenty of coins of all denominations with you, and make sure that you have a secure cash box or money belt to keep it in. It’s also good to have some carrier bags to offer people: this could make the difference between them buying and not buying from you.

3. Decide on your priorities

Yes, ideally you want to sell everything and make a small fortune. And here’s hoping that will happen! But you need to think through what is the most important priority. Do you want to get rid of as much stuff as possible so that you are not bringing it all back home again? Or do you want to hold out for the highest prices, even if it means selling less? 

One good strategy is to price items a little higher than you expect to get for them. Not too much, as that will put people off. But there is then room for a bit of gentle haggling with your buyer and you’ll both end up happy. If stuff is not shifting as quickly as you’d like, then you can drop prices part way through the sale and/or perhaps offer extra bargain items every time someone makes a purchase. Above all, keep smiling and be polite and friendly, so that people feel free to browse your stall without feeling pressured. 


After the Sale

1. Know when enough is enough

As we said earlier, car boot sales can go on for a long time, particularly if you have arrived very early. So don’t feel you have to stay till the bitter end. There will usually be a lull in proceedings at least an hour or so before the official closing time. Customers will start to dwindle and it all begins to feel rather flat. So don’t be afraid to start packing up when it feels like the right time: you can take your cue from experienced car booters around you. Yes you might miss a sale or two, but is it really worth another hour of your time – especially if the kids are getting tired and hungry?

2. Organise your departure

The other good reason to pack up early is that you can take your time rather than just throwing anything left into the car. It’s worth sorting through any remaining stuff into boxes; for example to keep for another car boot sale or to take to a charity shop.

If you have things to throw away then do this responsibly. Don’t just leave things behind as this causes problems for the car boot organisers. Take them with you and recycle wherever possible. 

3. And ….. breathe!!

That’s it! You’ve done your first car boot sale. Count up all the money to see how much you’ve made (remember to take into account your entrance fee and the change you brought with you). But hopefully you’ve achieved a lot for your efforts: a healthy profit and a lot of clutter gone from your home. All you need to do now is relax and enjoy your well-deserved earnings. 

Until the next time?!


Good luck with your car boot sale. Remember to check back here soon for more motoring and lifestyle tips from Logbook Loans.