Car Boot Sale Tips – How to Make Your Next One a Success

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car boot sale tips
The car boot sales are out in force at this time of year, and if you’ve never considering doing one before, why not? There’s money to be made and clutter to be cleared!

A few years ago, Luke and I were planning our first holiday together – a week all-inclusive to Turkey for £900 – we almost entirely funded it by doing boot sales!

And we’ve done a fair few car boots over the years – we’ve tried different locations, all weathers and with different levels of success, but as a result we’ve picked up a fair few tricks to ensure that the day runs smoothly. Here are my best car boot sale tips.

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Do Your Research

Most car boot sales are now on Facebook so make sure you check the night before/early morning to ensure the boot sale is actually on and the time you need to turn up.

It could also be worthwhile visiting the boot sale the week before you turn up to sell so that you can get a feel for how it is run and how busy it seems to be.

There’s no point going to the effort of turning up if you’re one of half a dozen cars and there aren’t any buyers! Just don’t spend any money!

Take a Float

Make sure you take an adequate amount of change with you. There will always be someone who wants to break a note for a £1 purchase!

Have a mixture of £1 coins, 50ps and 20ps – you probably won’t need anything smaller than that. Don’t forget to take extra money to pay your pitch fee too! (Most around our area cost £5)

Take Carrier Bags

If like most households you have an accumulation of plastic bags, now’s your chance to put them to use.

Quite often buyers will ask for bags – and if they have a bag to fill, the more likely they are to fill it!

You don’t want a buyer turning away or saying they’ll ‘come back later’ because they have nothing to put their buys in.

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Take Refreshments

Quite often at car boots there will be a burger van tempting you with the waft of greasy goodness into spending your hard earned cash – you’re there to make money, not spend it!

Pack some sandwiches and a bottle of water – or maybe a flask depending on the weather.


Think about what you are selling and how you’re going to display it.

We take a folding table, a clothes rail and a sheet for the ground. Lots of sellers use a pasting table or something similar, and clothes rails can be picked up fairly cheaply, though if you’re only intending on doing one sale don’t waste your money – people don’t mind rummaging through a box.

You can also hang a few car pieces on coat hangers from your actual car boot and on the side of your car.

Be Realistic

You’re selling at a car boot sale so you’re not going to achieve decent prices on anything.

If you have something valuable or worth a few quid – whack it on eBay instead or be prepared to sell it for peanuts. You can almost guarantee whatever price you quote a buyer will haggle you down, so start a little higher than you’re hoping for but don’t be silly about.

Think about if you were the buyer how much you’d be happy to pay and go with that.

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Stand Your Ground

But on the same vein, don’t give it away! If your price is fair and you know it, stand firm – some people are just beyond cheeky.

At our last boot sale we were selling a pair of shoes new in the box for £3. Someone tried to offer £2 and we said no. Yes – it’s only a pound – but the buyer new they were pushing their lucky and eventually agreed to £3.

Sometimes it’s just the principle!

Get There Early

You want to be one of the first pitches buyers see when they arrive.

If it’s a large boot sale and you’re right at the end you’ll see much less traffic than the cars at the front because buyers get bored.

Depending on how your sale is run, getting there early also allows you more time to set up in peace.

Our local boot sales allow sellers to set up an hour before they let buyers in which is great because it means you don’t have people rummaging through your car as you’re trying to get things out!

Pack Smartly

Don’t put the table in first and bury it under your stuff! Make sure it’s the last thing in so it’s the first thing out.

And use common sense with the order you pack your actual things to sell – don’t put a crate of books on top of delicate crockery for example!

Consider the Weather

You’re going to be outside for a few hours during which time the sun could come out or go in, it could get colder or it could rain (it’s the British summer after all!).

Make sure you take layers to keep warm that you can remove if it gets hot.

And don’t forget a hat, sun-cream and sunglasses for a nice day. Nothing quite makes a boot sale like heatstroke.


You never really know how it’s going to go until you get there so it’s worth a go.

Think of the space you’ll reclaim in your home as well as the extra money in your pocket!

What are your best car boot sale tips?

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Hi! I'm Katie

I started Katie Saves while on Maternity Leave to document our adjustment to living on less. Now back in work - I blog about all things money with a little life organisation thrown in for good measure. Join me!