Tips for running a car boot sale

Posted bySophie Knight | Category Blog | Date 28 September 2017

A car boot sale is celebrated by so many people as a brilliant way to get rid of clutter and unwanted items from your cupboards and the like for a cash reward in return. There is always something for everyone, and things you do not even believe will sell – most probably will. Well, as the saying goes, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure!


In addition, a car boot sale is actually a great place to socialise with the local community and provides you with some fresh air for a few hours on a Sunday morning!

However, running a successful car boot sale requires time and effort, so you may need to put in a lot of work to make sure it works out in your favour and you see those sweet cash returns.

This guide aims to educate you on how to run the best car boot sale possible.

Be prepared to get out of bed early in the morning

Be warned, car boot sales are not for those who rely on their weekend lie in. The queues to get in to set up usually start around 6am, so be prepared to get up in the early hours of the morning to travel to the sale and que. They usually kick off so early because people wanting to sell know the value of getting the best pitching spot. This way you will get more people as potential customers of your unwanted items, and not so much if you were pitched far, far way in the back somewhere.

Be prepared to travel

Unfortunately, sometimes the best car boot sales are not in your local area and you may find that you have to travel to get there. Do your research and make sure to always factor in the costs of petrol to get to and from the destination. If there are multiple ones you may want to go to, compare the prices of petrol in distance and seller fees (sometimes these can be as steep as £10 per car) to work out which one is best for you, money wise. We recommend the site as they really are life savers for this sort of thing.

Take some help with you

An extra pair of hands or two will really make a difference to your car boot selling experience. Taking a helper or two with you has its obvious advantages. You can maximise the products you are selling by combining them, spilt the seller fees, nip to the loo without leaving your car and items unattended, and you can take turns having a quick nosey around the other stall, try not to be tempted to spend the money you have made however!

Be prepared with change for larger note payments

 Not having the correct change when making a sale is an absolute disaster and can be a deal breaker for the buyer or you may even have to take less for an item. Come prepared with some bags of 5ps, 10ps, 20ps, 50ps and pound coins. In addition, bring plenty of notes for people who are (annoyingly) trying to pay for a £1.50 item with a £20 note.

Bring bags and bubble wrap

It is often the case that car boot buyers are not prepared for what they are potentially going to end up buying. So, bring some old plastic bags for your buyers and some tissue and bubble wrap for more delicate and breakable items.

Haggle (yes, even as the seller)

Haggling is often associated with a buyer, but it is not always the case that the buyer is the only one who needs to partake in haggling. If you are selling an item you believe to be worth more than what a buyer is wanting to purchase it for, do not budge. Stand your ground and tell them the price you believe it to be worth.

This is not by any means an excuse to sell something to someone at an unfair price, but at a fair one. If they want the item enough, and you aren’t actually just overpricing it for the sake of it, they will cough up the full amount. Even if someone walks away, do not budge on your price – the may come back after having a think or someone else may come along and pay the price you believe the item is worth.

Be prepared for rain


This is the UK and it goes without saying (as we all unfortunately know), it is quite likely to rain because well, it always does. Bring umbrellas with you, and even plastic sheets to cover the items on your stall.

Be prepared for swarms of people


 If you are a regular at the car boot sale, you will know what this is talking about. If you are not a regular, lucky you (for now).

People tend to swarm around your stall and this can be very overwhelming! This is another reason to bring a helper, two eyes are better than one when it comes to dealing with crowds of people surrounding what is yours.

For security reasons, keep your boot locked while unpacking each box and always keep an eye out for thieves sneaking about in your area. In some cases the thieves may come in the form of children.

Be prepared to not sell anything

You win some and you lose some, do not be disheartened if you do not sell anything on your first time around – the customers will come. Please do not be put off by this and swear never to do another one. When you do end up selling, it will be worth it – it might just take some time.

Alternately, be prepared to sell anything. You would be suspired what might go in a car boot sale, so take things that you were considering throwing out. You may be massively surprised.

Whatever you don’t sell this time, you can save until the next car boot sale where it may fly off of your stall!