Make money at car boot sales
Bargain hunters will be out in force across the country this weekend amid reports that car boot sales in the UK are at an all-time high.
Higher cost of living is causing Brits to clear out their homes to make some extra cash, while savvy shoppers hope to pick up goods at a knockdown price.
The number of car boot sales advertised on classifieds website VivaStreet.co.uk has leapt by 78% since 2008, while online car boot sales directory yourbooty.co.uk has seen a 40% increase in listings this year.
"Brits have always loved car boot sales, whether that’s rummaging around in the hope of unearthing a hidden treasure or the fun of making a profit out of a pile of unwanted possessions," says Yannick Pons, chief executive officer at VivaStreet.co.uk.
"However, with many households suffering in the recession, car boot sales have become more than just a fun day out. They have become a way of making some much-needed cash or finding essential items at bargain prices," he adds.
Essex is home to the most enthusiastic car booting community according to yourbooty.co.uk, accounting for 8% of all UK events; followed by Kent, Yorkshire, Surrey and the West Midlands.
So, if you’re heading out to a car boot sale this weekend, what do you need to know?
If you’re a seller…
* Give yourself plenty of time to get organised before the day of the sale so you can arrive early to attract eager bargain hunters when the site opens. Check yourbooty.co.uk for locations, dates, opening times and entrance cost - which tends to vary from £5 to £10 depending on the size of your vehicle.
* Turn up with plenty of small change and carrier bags, as well as pens and paper for marking prices. Also bring a chair with you so you’re not on your feet all day, and plenty of water and snacks so you don’t spend all your profits on food and drink.
* Take anything that you no longer use or like, particularly items that tend to sell well such as DVDs, CDs and vinyl. Electrical goods (such as cameras and mobile phones), perfumes, DIY and garden tools are also good sellers.
* Make your site stands out, for example with a bright tablecloth, music or a bowl of sweets. Display your most saleable items where people can see and touch them, with less saleable things such as bric-a-brac and general household junk spread out on the ground or in boxes. Use coat hangers for clothes and try to get your hands on a dress rail to show them off.
* Avoid pricing items with labels as this can put buyers off. Consider using supermarket tricks by offering buy-one-get one free if it suits what you are selling, and slashing prices towards the end of the day.
* Sellers are likely to haggle and while you should try to get the best price for your things, consider whether you really want to take them home again at the end of the day.
* Keep your takings safe and beware over-eager buyers that often try to dive into your boot before you’ve even parked.
If you’re a buyer...
* Car boots are fantastic to find bargains, but if you’re selling too, be careful not to get carried away and take home more junk than you came with.
* Arrive early with plenty of bags, a budget in mind and an idea of what you are looking for.
* Avoid impulse purchases; look over items carefully and ask questions because the luxury of a refund if it's faulty or you change your mind is not afforded at car boot sales. Be particularly cautious of electrical items that you cannot test; if it seems to good too be true, it probably is.
* Be friendly with sellers and don’t be afraid to haggle or ask for a discount for multiple items. Prices may be reduced later in the day, so come back to renegotiate if something you want is more than you’re prepared to pay.
* Avoid leaving bulky or heavy purchases with the seller to pick up later. It may be hard to find them or they could go home early, leaving you out of pocket.
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