Buyer / Seller Learning Center
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How to Have a Successful Garage Sale
One can’t help but think of America when one thinks of a garage sale. Somehow the American love affair with cars and suburbs and its love affair with buying junk it doesn’t need combined to form a unique type of outdoor bazaar. But not every garage sale need be equal. With a little bit of time and organization, you can make your next garage sale more profitable and low stress than you might imagine.
Advertising is the key to any good garage sale. Something strangely close to professional garage sale shoppers scour newspapers looking for these events and flock to them. Signs posted on busy streets near your house on the day before and the day of the sale are also effective. But the most effective way to draw people to your garage sale is to convince neighbors to have garage sales on the same day as you. By creating a veritable shopping mall of garage sales, and advertising the event well in advance, you can assure a plethora of garage sale shoppers will stroll by your driveway in search of deals.
Which brings us to the garage sale itself.
The first key to the actual sale is to clearly delineate what is on sale and what just happens to be in your garage. Make sure you separate the on-sale items and mark them clearly with price tags. More on price tags later. Also be sure to remove any valuable items that are not for sale, and store them inside your home for the duration of the sale.
Set up a table and chair at your sale. From your table and chair, you should have a clear view of all of the merchandise, so that no one will walk off without paying for something. At the table, have a cash box or large change pouch, and be sure to have plenty of change before the sale starts, especially small bills. Deal only in cash. Never take a personal check unless it is from someone you know and trust.
In plain view at the sale, you should have a large sign with the price scale for all items. Price items in easy round numbers. I suggest having prices of 25 cents, 50 cents, 1 dollar, 5 dollars, 10 dollars, and 20 dollars. Write each of these prices on your sign, and have each correspond to a different color sticker. Then, simply mark all of your items with colored stickers. Have a smaller version of the price key at the cashier’s table.
You should always have at least one person helping you to run the garage sale. This person should make sure customers don’t steal anything. They should also periodically take your earnings from the cash box and store it in safety in the house. Between these trips, the front door to the house should remain closed and locked. Never allow anyone to use your bathroom or go in your house alone for any reason.
Remember to store your best items in plain view of the street. Often people looking for big items like couches, TV’s, or other furniture simply drive by on the street and do not stop unless they see something that interests them. Try to find and display items that will draw these people in.
Remember that people at garage sales are looking for good deals. Whatever you do don’t overprice your items. And know that people will haggle over price. Don’t be afraid to haggle back. A good technique is to tell someone you will sell them something at the end of the day for a lower price if no one else buys the item for more. As it gets later in the day, you should be more and more willing to lower your price.
Finally, a great way to make extra money is to sell bottled water and/or baked goods at the cashier’s table. This is especially successful if you have your sale on a hot day.