Tips on Selling at Car Boot Sales

Updated February 21, 2017

The car boot sale is Britain's version of the yard sale. Rather than having sales in yards all over town that customers travel to, the Brits pack their items to sell into their car boots ("trunks" to North Americans) and drive to the sale location, be it a field or a car park. Anywhere from a few dozen to several hundred sellers may be present at a sale. Car boot sales happen all over the United Kingdom, attracting many thousands of buyers and sellers.

Arrive Early

Car boot sale enthusiasts are early risers. Most sales are up and running by 7 a.m. on a Saturday, and many of the more serious buyers are there and gone before 8 a.m. If you are serious about moving some of your kids' clothes, '80s CDs, paperbacks and fondue sets, get there by 6 a.m. and be set up and ready to go by 7. Have everything out of the car and set up by the time people start arriving in droves, so you can concentrate on selling rather than unloading.

Clean Up Your Gear

Your used items will sell better if they are clean and well organised. An old sleeping bag may be exactly the same whether it's neatly rolled up with a price on it or tossed on the ground in a heap, but it's much more likely to sell if it looks tidy. Clean used clothes before trying to sell them, and keep them neatly on hangers on a rack. Have a tarp on hand to keep your merchandise, particularly any books, dry in the event of rain.


Be prepared to haggle. Don't make the mistake of thinking you're in a boutique. It's a boot sale, and people come to boot sales expecting boot sale prices. If you have stuff you're just trying to get rid of, take what you can get and let it go. If you have stuff that actually has some value to it, don't give it away but be prepared to be quite flexible in your pricing. If you start at 36.3 Kilogram and go down to 50, you're more likely to sell something than if you start at 50 and refuse to budge. It's the same money, but the buyer likes to feel like he won.

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About the Author

Jagg Xaxx has been writing since 1983. His primary areas of writing include surrealism, Buddhist iconography and environmental issues. Xaxx worked as a cabinetmaker for 12 years, as well as building and renovating several houses. Xaxx holds a Doctor of Philosophy in art history from the University of Manchester in the U.K.