Reseller guide: Top 10 tips for buying at a car boot sale

Reseller guide: Top 10 tips for buying at a car boot sale

A useful reseller's guide to buying items at car boot sales

If you’re a reseller and are constantly on the look out for products to buy cheap and sell on for a profit, then a car boot sale is a prime place to source stock. Here are our top 10 tips for making the most out of buying at a car boot sale.

1. Check the boot sale is on!

It sounds obvious, but before you leave the house and set off early to a car boot sale, it’s best to double check that it’s actually on. As you know all too well, the UK weather is unpredictable, and if it’s rained all night and the field is super soggy, the chances are the boot sale may be cancelled.

There’s no point in turning up to a waterlogged field and only then discovering that nothing is happening. You could have used your time more wisely by checking first and, if necessary, changing your plans and finding an alternative sale to go to.

2. Get there early

When car boot sale season is in full swing, people flock to them. To give you the best chance of picking up some great buys for reselling, aim to get there early. This may mean a very early start, as many car boots kick off at the crack of dawn, but to get the best buys, it’s worth it.

Do be aware that some events charge you to go in as a buyer and the price can depend on the time of day you arrive. For example, at the beginning the entry fee may be £3 each, going down to £1 or 50p as the hours tick by.

3. Take plenty of change

Don’t forget to take plenty of change with you when you go to a car boot. This isn’t a market where you can rely on your credit card, so it’s back to basics with plenty of cash in your wallet.

Aim to stock up on coins too, as some sellers aren’t too thrilled to be presented with a £20 note when paying for a 50p item. The hardcore traders might be all equipped and ready with their floats of change, but the first time or newbie sellers might not have tons of change with them.

4. Have a plan of action

It’s useful to arrive at a car boot with a plan in mind – of what you’re looking for and what budget you’ve got. As a reseller, you’re likely to be looking for particular items to sell, so your plan might be to hone in on the types of items you’re particularly interested in first, before looking more generally at what’s on offer.

5. Start at the back

Most people arriving to buy at a car boot sale invariably swarm to the front, where the first cars to arrive have set up and are ready. Although it’s fine to start at the front, that’s typically where it’s going to be busiest, with more people trying to get to the front of stalls and the best items potentially getting snapped up sooner.

Instead, start your search towards the back, where cars have more recently arrived. Don’t descend on the cars that haven’t yet unpacked everything, but look for the ones that are just finishing up getting items out. You’re more likely to be able to pick up some good buys and get to stalls more easily.

6. Have a good rummage!

Don’t be afraid to have a good rummage through the stalls. Sometimes some of the best gems can be found underneath everything else, or in boxes or bags on the floor.

Although it’s fine to spend time looking through items and inspecting things, sellers won’t appreciate you leaving items in an untidy mess.

7. Be friendly to sellers

It always pays to be friendly to sellers, so chat to them as you browse their stall. They may have been standing there for ages in the sun (or rain) and appreciate a friendly chat. But it also gives you the opportunity to ask if they have any more of the items you’re interested in. If you attend boot sales regularly, then it can also be helpful to be on friendly terms with any regular sellers.

8. Be prepared to bargain and haggle

It’s normal to bargain and haggle at boot sales, so don’t be shy and give it a go. Some car boot sellers price all their items individually, or in bundles, so that you can instantly see how much they’d ideally like for items. Even when there’s a price ticket visible, it’s still worth asking if they’d take an offer.

If you’ve already built up a bit of rapport with a seller through chatting to them, then they may be more willing to take on offer on items or knock some money off.

9. Where you can, buy multiple items

If you’re going to purchase multiple items from one stall, aim to try and buy them as a bundle rather than on an individual item basis. As you’re looking at what’s available, but together a pile of items you’re interested in. When it comes to paying for them, you can then ask the seller if they’ll give you a price for everything.

This can work out far better for you as a buyer to pay for a bundle of items, rather than lots of items separately. It’s also good for the seller, as they get to clear multiple items in one go and get a tidy sum in the process.

10. Go equipped with bags

If you’re hoping to buy items, go prepared with plenty of big bags or a trolley so that you can easily carry things back to your car. Some car boot sites are huge, so you may well have to park your car a long way from where the main selling zone is. There’s nothing worse than having to keep trekking back and forth to your car with items you’ve purchased, as they’re too heavy or bulky to lug around.

Stock up on big strong plastic resusable bags (blue Ikea bags, for example), a sturdy rucksack or canvas resuable bags. Alternatively, invest in a shopping trolley – not a supermarket one, but a trolley on wheels that you can pull around. It might not be that glam, but it can save on aching arms and you and fill it up with all your goodies. Just be aware that you’ll need a sturdy trolley design if you’re going to be using it regularly on fields, as cheap models might not stand up to lots of ground use.

Image credit: Shutterstock


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