1. First things first: your goodies
I'll start with the most thing obvious here. With your items, try to organise your stall in an orderly fashion. Customers want to be able to glance over your stall and get an idea of whether there is anything of interest. They will struggle with this however, if it is a mismatched mess of stuff. It's also important to bear in mind that although you may be occasionally shocked at the things people will be willing to buy, they generally will only make a purchace when your items are in a reasonable condition. Trying to sell anything which is broken, soiled or badly stained, will not go down well with your customers.
2. Don't forget your float
Throughout the day you are likely to acumulate an abundance of small change, and are likely to get rather heavy pockets. At the start of the day however, many of your customers will be laden with notes, and will expect you to have change for them. You don't want to be missing out on a sale because you cannot provide any change.
3. Recycle your carrier bags
What better way can there be to recycle your old plastic bags, than to offer them to your customers with their purchase?! Not only will you be doing your bit for the environment, but they also will come in handy throughout the day; I assure you. They can be used for rubbish; covering valuable items, or your hair (for us girls) in case of bad weather; be used for stuffing bags you may be selling; and much much more. I often underestimate how many of these I will use in a day, so take them along by the bucket load.
4. LOCK your car
I cannot stress this enough. Boot sales are an excellent way of making money, but they can also make you a target for unscrupulous individuals who are waiting to take advantage during busy periods. They will be well aware of the cash and goodies lying around, so beware. In some boot sales I've visited, thieves have even been known to steal tax discs from the passenger door of cars, along with anything else they can get your hands on. If you need to have your door open, or to use your car seat, make sure you lock the doors on the other side of the car to keep your valuables safe and sound.
5. Take a friend
Try to do your boot sale with a friend of family member. Not only does this make unpacking and setting up your stall a lot faster and easier, it also means that there is somebody to watch your stall when the inevitable coffee or toilet trips are needed throughout the day. Sharing a stall with a friend is also another way to increase those profit margins, by splitting the entry fee between you.
6. Toilet roll, wipes and hand gel
After the mention of toilets, I cannot forget this one. If you're a man, perhaps you may ignore this, but ladies bear in mind...boot sales are not known for their luxury lavatories, or washing facilities, to to avoid getting into a sticky situation, I'd certainly advise taking toilet roll, baby wipes and some antibacterial hand gel.
7. Keep your costs down with a packed lunch
It's very easy to get suckered in by the wafting smells of hot dogs and burgers as your tummy rumbles from your morning of hard work. Remember though, your average bootie burger and drink are likely to set you back around £5, and it's probable, given the early start and long day, that you'll be paying more than one visit to the burget bar. Taking sandwiches and snacks will make you less likely to wander amongst the food stalls and waste those all important pounds you'll be making.
Yes, I know it sounds obvious, but you'll be amazed the number of stalls I avoid at the boot sales because the sellers just look plain miserable. Although getting up at 5 am in the dark and cold is likely to put you in a rather grumpy mood, try to remember that YOU are your stalls number one sales person. If you want to be going home without your stock, you need to keep on a friendly face and welcome your customers.
9. Do your research
Depending on what your selling, you may sometimes find that you can get a better price on online auction sites such as amazon.com, or ebay.com. Although, this is not always the case. Im my experience, it seems that popular designer brands, and specialist items will often fetch a higher price online, while non-branded, visually appealing and cheaper items will sell very well at a boot sale. There is no hard and fast rule with this so if in doubt, do a quick ebay or amazon search to see what your items are selling for.
10. Don't forget why you're there
Some of us will simply want to get rid of everything, while others prefer to hold out for a good price for their items. Whatever your aims are, try to keep them in the back of your mind. If your trying to de-clutter, you might find that its better to be more flexible on prices, so that you don't have to take as much home with you. On the other hand, if you are there purely for the money, are happy to take your items home unsold, or are interested in investigating other selling options, then you can perhaps afford, to be a little more aggressive with your pricing.
Note from the author.
I've put these tips together from my years of bootsale experience. I hope they are useful, and welcome any other ideas and experiences you may have. I'm sure there are more that can be added.