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Boost Your Green Credentials: Buying and Selling at Car Boot Sales

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 25 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Car Boot Sales Trading Standards

Selling at car boot sales can be a great way to throw less away, and also make a bit of extra money at the same time. As a buyer at a car boot sale you could grab a bargain, and buy something second-hand instead of brand new, thus cutting down on waste and using resources unnecessarily.

What Can You Buy and Sell at Car Boot Sales?

There are all sorts of goods available at car boot sales. Popular items include:
  • Books
  • CDs
  • Household goods
  • Clothes
  • Toys

Finding Out About Car Boot Sales

There may well be a regular car boot sale in your area - they’re often held on a Saturday or Sunday morning. If you’re not aware of one grab your local paper as they’ll usually be listed in there. You’ll also find opening times and the details of who to contact if you’d like a pitch. Ask around as well and check online for car boot sales listings.

If You’re a Car Boot Sale Seller…

Research your prices: Look around other car boot sales to see what the prices for similar items to those that you’re selling are. Another good place to look to get an idea of prices is eBay. Look in the completed listings for prices as the starting or mid-bidding prices won’t give you and accurate idea of what to charge. As a guide you can probably expect to get about 10% of what you originally paid for the item.

Arrive early: Give yourself plenty of chance to set up before the hordes arrive.

Be prepared: Dress warmly and use layers. You’ll be standing still for a long time and it can be colder than you might envisage when you arrive early in the morning. Take waterproofs and a waterproof cover for your stall, so that you can cover your goods if the heavens open.

Know your legal status: If you’re classed as a trader, there are tax and legal implications. If you’re buying goods in especially to sell at car boot sales, or you sell at car boot sales regularly, you’re probably classed as a trader. Trading Standards can provide more information on being a trader.

If You’re a Buyer at a Car Boot Sale…

Set your alarm clock: If you want to bag a bargain you’re going to have to get up very early. Some car boot sales open as early as 6am and determined shoppers and professional traders will be there at the ready to snap up the best items.

Plan ahead: Try to have some idea of the things you are looking to buy before you set off. You might well see other things, but having some idea of what you’re after will help you focus your eye rather than just seeing piles of bric-a-brac everywhere you look.

Haggle: Sellers will be expecting a bit of haggling, but be fair. Don’t try to rip a seller off with a rock bottom price. They may well be running a business, and even if they’re not car boot sale pitches can be expensive and they’ll need to cover that cost.

Be careful: If you find a fantastic gem of a bargain, great! However, be careful not to get too carried away and buy loads of junk. You could set yourself a budget or maximum amount of items that you’re allowed to come away with.

Making the Most of Car Boot Sales

Car boot sales can be a great way to reuse goods and get extra wear out of them, instead of throwing them out. They can also be a fun day out as both a buyer and a seller. Just make sure that you research the legalities and health and safety implications in advance.

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